Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has denied claims that security cameras were removed from Lekki Toll Gate Plaza before soldiers moved in to open fire on peaceful protesters.
The governor said the cameras removed from the venue after a 24-hour curfew was declared on Tuesday were cameras used to verify car number plates and not security cameras which were still mounted overhead when the shooting occured.
Watch the two-minute video above to listen to Sanwo-Olu.
He said the toll gate managers removed the cameras, which they considered critical and expensive assets, following the declaration of the curfew. EndSARS protesters, who were calling for an end to police brutality and for comprehensive law enforcement reform, occupied the toll gate for days without the report of violence.
Sanwo-Olu said evidence from the security camera recordings will be used as part of a panel of inquiry’s investigation into the shooting that occured at Lekki toll gate. Youth representatives will be on the panel.
Sanwo-Olu gave the update during an appearance on Arise TV this morning. He said members of the public will be given access to examine the footage from the cameras.
The governor had earlier rubbished the military’s claims that no soldiers were at the scene.
A number of protesters were injured in the shooting. Sanwo-Olu visited some of them and posted the photos online. But questions and controvery remain about the death toll.
The governor initially claimed that no one died at the venue. He later said someone died in hospital adding that he was not sure if the person was a protester.
Sanwo-Olu’s claims contradict that of witnesses, one of whom told the BBC on Wednesday night that he saw at least 20 people killed and added that soldiers took their bodies away.
People Gazette reported that, hours after the shooting, the military contacted the police in Lagos to come claim and deposit nine bodies from the scene at a morgue. But the police reportedly refused.
Friends are currently morning Anthony Okechukwu on Facebook. They said he was killed by soldiers at the toll gate. The young man was a former marketer of the defunct Etisalat Telecommunications Company (now 9mobile) who lived at Sangotedo, a suburb along the Lekki-Epe expressway, Premium Times reported.
Amnesty Nigeria said at least 12 people were killed as soldiers moved in to evict protesters from Lekki and Alausa in Ikeja, the state capital. Reports also said there were casualties when the soldiers tried the same thing in Mushin.
But some observers point to a dearth of evidence to back the claims. They also point to growing false claims of killed protrsters. Nigerians would hope that things would become clearer in the coming days.
Lagos remains under a 24-hour curfew with reports of looting and arson. TVC News and the Nation Newspaper headquarters were torched in attacks apparently targeted at Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a politician some accused of sponsoring thugs to discredit Nigeria’s peaceful march against police brutality. Tinubu denied any connection to any attack, including the ones allegedly carried out by police officers and soldiers, on protesters.
Channels TV closed shop and sent its staff home for fears of being attacked by an angry mob which accused it of being anti-people in its reportage of the protests.
Several police stations have been burnt down. BRT buses, used by the members of the public, have been razed. Road safety offices and vehicles were also set on fire. Oriental Hotel had to issue a statement distancing itself from Tinubu after suspected thugs inflicted minor fire damage to its facilities. The palace of the Oba of Lagos was vandalised and looted, with the staff of office seized.
A crowd that looted a warehouse at Festac discovered loads of palliatives that government officials should have distributed to the most vulnerable while the state was still locked down. The revelation gave credence to multiple allegations of the corrupt handling of relief packages by local politicians.
There are also several videos of curfew-enforcing police officers shooting and killing people. In one video seen by The Realm News, police shot a man in the back, dragged him on the street and then fired another shot to finish him off. Multiple officers were at the scene. It reeked of the kind of extra-judicial killings that triggered EndSARS protests in Nigeria.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said the embargo on movement could be lifted in the next two days if normalcy returns.