International news publication, Cable News Network better known as CNN has released its findings from an independent investigation carried out on the shooting of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate in Lagos State on October 20, 2020.
It would be recalled that in the month of October, many Nigerians especially youths took to the streets in protest against police brutality, extra-judicial killings and high-handedness of now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit.
The protest which spanned for over 2 weeks saw youths coordinate sub-groups saddled with responsibility of providing medical aids to injured protesters – as security operatives were said to have at different times attacked protesters – legal aids for arrested ones, welfare (food and drinks) and other essentials service.
However, the protests which took place in different cities and states in the country abruptly ended when security operatives, who eyewitnesses say were soldiers, opened fire on unarmed protesters at Lekki tollgate in October 20.
Since the incident, there have conflicting reports from Lagos State government, eyewitnesses and Nigeria Army.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu initially denied being aware of the presence of Army at the protest ground or the death of anyone. Subsequently, he confirmed the death of only two persons.
The Army also at first denied being at Lekki tollgate but later announced that Governor Sanwo-Olu invited soldiers to enforce the 24-hour curfew imposed in the state.
Popular entertainer, DJ Switch who was at Lekki tollgate during the shooting live streamed the incident on Instagram, which several Nigerians and people around the world tuned in to watch.
After the incident, DJ Switch declared that at least 7 people were shot dead while several others were injured, adding that live bullets were used on the unarmed protesters. This is contrary to Nigerian Army’s statement that soldiers shot into the sky and the bullets were blank.
The conflicting information prompted CNN to carry out an independent investigation, which it shared its findings on Wednesday, November 17 after analysing various footages shared on social media about the shooting incident.
The publication during its investigation spoke with a man named Elisha Sunday Ibanga, whose brother, Victor, was killed during the October 20 shooting.
It obtained and geolocated a photograph of Victor‘s body lying in a pool of blood, wrapped in a Nigerian flag one of which had being waved during the evening protest while they sat on the floor singing the national anthem. Elisah confirmed the photograph is of his brother.
Elisha Sunday Ibanga said since he learned of his brother’s death, he has been visiting hospitals in a desperate search for his remains.
My mother, my sisters, all my family are in prayer, just to see if we can find out and know where my brother’s dead body is.
The bodies of other protesters like Elisha’s brother are allegedly still missing, further corroborating eyewitnesses’ accounts that soldiers took away dead protesters in their vans.
One Peace Okon, 24, hasn’t seen her younger brother Wisdom, 18, since he went to the protest the night of the fatal shooting.
He just came back from work on that Tuesday, ate his food and went there.
Peace expressed that she started worrying when he didn’t arrive home that night and by the next morning, she was out searching for him.
I’ve gone to hospitals, I’ve gone to police stations, I’ve gone to everywhere. I can’t find him.
Peace expressed that her brother had only moved to Lagos State few weeks ago before the protest broke out and she helped him find a job as a cleaner at a bank. She says he didn’t know anyone at the protest and had never been to one before.
The lady is demanding to know if her brother is alive and detained or dead.
The publication also spoke with some of the protesters who were at the scene when the shooting occurred, who confirmed that soldiers indeed fired shots at them.
It examined bullet casings found at the scene and confirmed with current and former Nigerian military sources that the shells match those used by the army.
Two ballistics experts found out that the shape of the bullet casings indicate they used live rounds, which contradicts the army’s claim they fired blanks.
The publication also established that several of the bullets found at the protest ground originated from Serbia and export documents show that Nigeria purchased weaponry from Serbia almost every year between 2005 and 2016.
Watch some videos of the incident verified and compiled by CNN below;
“@cnni: Evidence shows that live rounds were fired on peaceful protesters in Lagos, Nigeria – despite the army’s continued claims that they fired in the air and only used blanks. See the CNN investigation that refutes authorities’ shifting claims.#EndSARS #LekkitollgateMassacre pic.twitter.com/MPHMDdosc2
— GIDITRAFFIC (@Gidi_Traffic) November 18, 2020