Following apparently inaccurate claims that trailed the alleged shooting of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, the Lagos State Government has vowed to descend on the purveyors of fake news on social media.
DJ Switch, the Nigerian artiste who streamed live footage of the scene, had to urge those who opened parody accounts in her name to desist from using them to spread fake news.
“At least, copy and paste the truth,” she said on Friday. She also debunked claims that had circulated onlime about her cousin being killed. DJ Switch also denied claiming 78 people were killed.
But Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has now threatened to go hard on those he accused of using social media platforms to spread falsehood and incite violence.
“Moving forward from the destruction, we have to continue the process of healing ourselves,” the governor said after visiting various locations where suspected hoodlums set fire to buildings, buses and other public and private assets.
“We need to stop some of our citizens still using the social media to instigate or incite the people.
“It will not be under my watch that we will lose the city that has the largest economy in the entire black nation. Enough is enough.
“I have moved round and I saw that our people want peace.
“On this, we are committed to bringing lasting peace back to the state,” Sanwo-Olu said on Friday.
The governor also insisted that he was yet to see anyone who was killed by the soldiers who allegedly opened fire on protesters at the Lekki tollgate.
He confirmed two people killed but added that one died after suffering a head trauma and another was picked up dead in Victoria Island with bullet wounds. He said both were not from the Lekki protest.
Sanwo-Olu’s claims contradicts that of DJ Switch who said at least 15 people were killed in Lekki. She said the soldiers took their bodies away.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Peoples Gazette reported the military called the police to come claim seven corpses and deposit them at a morgue but the police told them to do it themselves.
Amnesty International said at least 12 people were killed.
The Nigerian Army, which initially said soldiers were never present at the scene, claimed that footage of dead and injured victims being shared online were doctored.
But Sanwo-Olu said soldiers were at the scene, thereby corroborating similar claims by multiple witnesses. He also said the security cameras at the tollgate must have recorded ample evidence which will be made public.
The controversy over any death toll lingers.
President Muhammadu Buhari, the only one currently constitutionally empowered to deploy troops across Nigeria, failed to acknowledge the reported shooting in a nationwide broadcast.