Two witnesses have told a panel on police brutality in Lagos how soldiers shot at protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20 last year and “carried lifeless bodies” into their van.
The protesters were calling for an end to police brutality when they were attacked by soldiers at the toll gate.
Olamilekan Sanusi, who appeared before the panel, said he was part of those who volunteered to clean the protest ground, especially the stage area. He said he counted “at least 10 bodies after the gunshots”.
Mr Sanusi said that at about 6:30 p.m., he heard gunshots and saw people running towards Oriental Hotel.
“I saw men of the Nigerian army. Later when they said we should sit on the floor, I saw a military man and I saw protesters carrying lifeless bodies to the military men’s feet,” he told the panel on Saturday.
“Later on, I counted ten people at the feet of the military men, they were not moving, they were lifeless. Later on, I saw them carrying people close to Diamond Bank, they were packing bodies and putting them in the van,” he said.
Mr Sanusi said an officer, who said he was acting on a directive of “power beyond him,” came on the stage and pleaded with the protesters to go home.
He also said the officer requested that they nominate five representatives among themselves to discuss with him but they turned him down.
“After coming down from the stage, I think he left and the shootings began again,” he said.
“Then three military men came to the stage, destroying things, scattering mixers, poles and speakers, then they pushed some speakers on me. I fell, I could not move but I could hear what people were talking.
“I heard one woman crying, and saying, ‘you must not die,’ I could hear a car on motion and I was trying to open my eye, I saw the woman in blue, drenched in blood holding a man and saying ‘you must not die.’
“I woke up at a military hospital and was later referred to Marina General hospital. The person that brought me there told me that six protesters were in the hospital and I was in a coma for seven hours.”
Mr Sanusi said that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu visited them at the hospital and gave them N10,000 each, and he used his to get drugs and clothes.
“The doctor had to beg me to sit on the chair with my drip because many protesters were still coming. More than 11 people died in the hospital and some were laid on the floor. In the toilet there was blood everywhere,” he said.
Mr Sanusi said that one of the nurses advised him to leave because the soldiers were coming to “finish protesters in the hospital.”
“I sneaked out of the hospital using the small entrance door leading to the governor’s road.”
Mr Sanusi told the panel he wants the Lekki Tollgate to be dedicated to those who were allegedly killed by the Nigerian Army on October 20 2020.
“I want the panel to find those who ordered the shooting and I want the tollgate to be a memorial ground,” he said.
The chair of the panel, Doris Okuwobi, admitted the X-ray evidence of Mr Sanusi and marked it exhibit A.
Another witness, Ifeanyi Agbeeze, told the panel he had been living in pains after he was shot “in the chest” by a soldier during the October 20 shooting.
Mr Agbeeze, a comedian, said himself and his friend had earlier left the protest ground on October 20 but returned after they were unable to get a bus home.
“We got back to the tollgate around past 1 p.m. Around 2 p.m., we heard that the Lagos government have declared a curfew,” he said.
Around past 4 p.m., I saw two men removing the CCTV camera, I don’t know why. Later the billboard light went off, I felt something bad was going to happen but I couldn’t figure what exactly it was,” said Mr Agbeeze.
“Around 6:45 p.m., I heard siren along Sandfill, a van coming, I moved closer to the stage, I saw the military van, I thought they were coming to calm us.
“Somebody announced that everyone with cars should turn on their car headlights and face the stage because the light was already off. And we were instructed too not to insult anybody and not be violent.
“When we heard the siren, they said we should come to the stage and sit on the floor.”
Mr Agbeeze said when the shooting began, “someone beside him was shot and when he tried to help him a military man dressed in full military man shot me in my chest.”
“I immediately ran then I discovered that everywhere was dark and asked myself where am I running to?”
He said that one of the protesters took him to Marina General Hospital where he was later referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
“They did X-ray for me and their boss came gave the film to me. The doctors asked me if I had gotten through with my people.
“I was in LASUTH for six days and when I was discharged, I was still feeling much pain, I told the doctor that I don’t feel okay, so, I didn’t leave the hospital that very day.”
He said that he had to leave the hospital when he got information that some “soldiers were going around to finish off protesters in hospitals.”
Mr Agbeeze said after he left LASUTH, he went to a private hospital and on December 29, he did another x-ray which showed he had a fracture.
“Since then, till now, I still feel the pain I went for another x-ray on May 18, 2021,” he said.
“He (the doctor) also asked me to go and do a CT scan but it is expensive, I don’t have the money yet.
“I want justice, I want to know who ordered the shooting.”
The army had initially denied taking live bullets to the protest ground. But after changing its testimony several times, it eventually admitted it indeed took live bullets to the scene but only engaged armed miscreants.