Akinbode Oluwafemi (file photo)
By Valentine Amanze
The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has advised the Nigerian government to prosecute individuals, who massacred #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, Lagos on October 20, 2020.
CAPPA made the appeal following the findings of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution constituted by the Lagos State government, which indicted the Nigerian Army in the killings.
CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, in a statement, condemned the attitude of the army and the government on the massacre.
He stated: “It is a sad testament for our nation that harmless protesters were mowed down this way while peacefully waving the national flag the military was established to protect.
“The findings of the Judicial Panel that the Lagos State government received is what we confirmed long ago and documented in our report, ‘Lies and the Hail of Bullets.’”
Oluwafemi also said that in the face of undeniable atrocities perpetrated by Nigerian security forces, the Nigerian government and their image makers walked the lonely road of woeful denial, adding that “what we are now demanding is justice for the victims.”
On Thursday October 22, 2021, CAPPA launched ‘’Lies and the Hail of Bullets: #EndSARS – the story of Lekki shootings by survivors’’, an expository account of the events of October 20, 2021, at Lekki tollgate where survivors and victims’ families narrated their ordeals. Despite the unabashed denials of the Nigerian government, CAPPA invited victims of Lekki shooting and families of deceased protesters, who also gave vivid account of the atrocity, as captured in the report.
The report both in print and video documentary format was accompanied by a follow-up letter by CAPPA to the United Nations, office of the High Commissioner and the International Criminal Court, urging both bodies to act and investigate the incident.
The government had swung into its usual denial action afterwards. The report threw up many unanswered questions about the Lekki shootings. They include
- Who invited the army to the Lekki Tollgate?
- Who was the senior military man that asked the soldiers to stop shooting?
- Why won’t hospitals release extracted bullets from victims?
- Why the desperate orchestrated cover up from government, its paid agents, and proxies?
- Why is government so intolerant of even a memorial for the #EndSARS victims?
Recall that the panel, which sat for over a year, submitted its findings to the Lagos State government on Monday November 15, 2021.
The report established that Nigeria’s Army led by Lt. Col Bello was at Lekki Gate on October 20, 2020, and further described the event of that day as a ‘’massacre in a context’’.
In the 309-page report, the judicial panel confirmed the Lekki shooting and also published the list of victims and casualties of the Lekki shooting, while indicting the Nigerian Army and police of complicity in the death of protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.
Part of the recommendations of the panel included that all men of the Nigerian Army excluding Major General Omata that were deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action and, or stripped of their status and dismissed, while disciplinary actions be taken against Major General Godwin Umelo and Lt. Col S.O. Bello, who refused to honor the summons of the panel to frustrate the investigation.
The panel indicted Nigerian Army officers of having “shot, injured and killed unarmed helpless and defenceless 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.”
Despite an abundance of evidence which includes testimonials and visuals, the Nigerian government continued to deny that protesters were shot and killed. Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, even described the Lekki incident as a “phantom massacre”.