2020 Lekki toll gate shooting: Nigerian judicial panel condemns shooting as ‘a massacre’

The Judicial Panel of Query and Restitution at the Lagos Court of Arbitration had actually been charged with examining in 2015’s infamous Lekki toll gate shooting in Lagos, when Nigerian security forces opened fire on youths opposing in harmony versus declared authorities cruelty.

Its bombshell report — which took more than a year to produce — implicates Nigerian Army officers of having “shot, injured and killed unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the national anthem and the manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre.”

The panel likewise discovered “the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances render medical assistance to victims who required such assistance. The Army was also found not to have adhered to its own Rules of Engagement.”

The panel’s report highlights and consistently recommendations previous reporting by CNN, which utilized time stamps, video information, and geolocation in 2015 to examine hours of video recorded by protesters.

'They pointed their guns at us and started shooting'

CNN’s examination discovered the Nigerian army fired live rounds into crowds at Lekki toll gate, eliminating and injuring a number of individuals. Numerous witnesses likewise informed CNN in 2015 that ambulances were avoided from going into the website to assist injured protesters.

Police officers arrive at the scene of protest commemorating the one-year anniversary of #EndSARS, a movement against police brutality, at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, on October 20, 2021.

In spite of an abundance of video proof, the Nigerian federal government has long rejected that protesters were shot. Last month, on the 1 year anniversary of the shooting, Nigeria’s Minister of Info Alhaji Lai Mohammed explained the event as a “phantom massacre” and continued to dismiss CNN’s examination as phony news.

The federal government and armed force did not react instantly to ask for discuss the judicial panel’s Monday report, which mentions CNN lots of times.

Nevertheless, Lagos Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has stated the Lagos state federal government would execute the panel’s suggestions, according to regional media.

“This will help in proper restitution and compensation for everyone who must have been wronged. I want to assure you, a white paper will be issued. I am going to constitute a committee to review the document between two weeks and bring out a white paper,” Sanwo-Olu stated, according to the International Centre for Investigative Reporting.
Around 70 victims of authorities cruelty have actually been granted an overall of 410 million naira (around $1 million) as payment, the chairperson of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, was priced estimate in a declaration launched by Lagos State federal government Monday.

What occurred

Ahead of the bloody occasions at Lekki toll gate in 2015, demonstrators had actually been participating in everyday demonstrations throughout Nigeria for almost 2 weeks over prevalent claims of kidnapping, harassment and extortion by an authorities system referred to as the Unique Anti-Robbery Team (SARS).
The shooting on October 20 would eventually quash Nigeria’s recently established youth demonstration motion, referred to as #EndSARS.

The examining panel was at first established in October 2020 by the Lagos state federal government to check out cases of supposed authorities cruelty — and the now-disbanded Unique Anti-Robbery Team — and later on entrusted with examining the toll gate event.

'He died in my arms.' Twelve months on, a mother's agonizing wait to find out why her son died at Lekki toll gate

The panel’s report additionally declares cover-up efforts by authorities, which it states tidied up the consequences of the shooting at Lekki toll gate and stopped working to protect the scene for detectives. “The police officers also tried to cover up their actions by picking up bullets,” the report states.

It likewise implicates Nigerian authorities of tampering with CCTV video and eliminating the bodies of the dead from the scene.

The report suggests that all members of the Nigerian Army other than for one significant basic that were released to the Lekki toll gate face “appropriate disciplinary action and be stripped of their status,” prior to being dismissed.

“They are not fit and proper to serve in any public or security service of the nation,” it states.

It likewise suggests that the Nigerian army ought to be “discouraged” from intervening in the nation’s internal security, including that “the dark days of military rule is over and more democratic principles and approaches are required to win both the peace and public trust.”

The federal government, it states, ought to do “all it can to bridge the gap of distrust with the youth,” and requires a monolith to be set up at the Lekki Toll Gate with the names of the victims engraved.

Response to the report resulted in a psychological profusion on social networks platform Twitter late on Monday night in Nigeria. Lots of youths have actually informed CNN they feel vindicated by the findings.

“Tears filled my eyes. The truth needs no defense,” stated DJ Change, who live-streamed a few of the occasions of that night and was later on required to leave the nation.

Akin Olaoye, who was at the frontline of the demonstration that night, informed CNN, “The findings of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in its report defining the atrocities at the toll gate as a massacre, is a big win and leads us on a pathway to obtaining justice for many of the innocent victims, survivors and lost souls still lying in unmarked graves.”

Serah Ibrahim, who participated in the #EndSARS demonstrations and likewise provided proof at the panel query, informed CNN justice and responsibility now require to follow. “I hope all the recommendations are carried out. On one part is admitting it happened, on another part is accountability,” she stated.

“Justice is totally incomplete without accountability,” Ibrahim included.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.