The United States government said Nigerian security forces fired in the air to disperse #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll plaza in Lagos on October 20, 2020.
This contradicts media claims that some eyewitnesses saw soldiers firing live ammunition at peaceful protesters.
This disclosure is contained in the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria published by the US Department of State on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.
The report pointed out that there was no precise information on the number of gunshot deaths, unlike Amnesty International’s report that 10 people died in the incident from gunshot wounds.
What the report says about human rights practices in Nigeria
The report says in part: “On October 20, members of the security forces imposed a curfew by shooting in the air to disperse the demonstrators, who had gathered at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos to protest against the abusive practices of the special anti- Nigerian Police theft (SARS).
Specific information on the deaths resulting from the shooting was not available at the end of the year.
Amnesty International reported that 10 people died during the event, but the government has disputed Amnesty’s report, and no other organization has been able to verify this claim.
The government has reported two deaths linked to the event. One body of the toll gate showed signs of blunt trauma.
A second body from another location in Lagos State was shot and wounded. The government admitted that soldiers armed with live ammunition were present at the Lekki toll booth.
What you should know
- Recall that the day after the alleged shot #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollbooth, a US-based media group, Cable News Network (CNN), in its investigative report, released a video showing Nigerian soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters at the tollbooth , based on video evidence from cell phones and witnesses.
- In its response, the federal government insisted that the military had not fired on #EndSARS protesters, describing the alleged mass killings as a massacre without a body.
- Furthermore, President Muhammadu Buhari, while expressing his disgust at the coverage of the incident by foreign media like CNN and BBC, said their reporting on the protests against EndSARS was not balanced.