Thursday, July 7

Nigerian Army and Police Killed Unarmed Protesters, Leaked Report Says | Nigeria

A leaked court report found that the Nigerian army and police shot and killed unarmed protesters against police brutality in October last year, before cleaning up the scene to remove the evidence.

The report, presented to the Lagos state government on Monday, was based on a year-long investigation into abuses by police forces and killings at the Lekki tollbooth in Lagos. It found that 11 unarmed people had been killed and that another four were missing and are presumed to have died. The report identified 48 victims in total.

“At the Lekki tollbooth, Nigerian army officers shot, wounded and killed defenseless and defenseless unarmed protesters, without provocation or justification, while waving the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem. and the form of assault and murder could be described in context as a massacre, ”says the report.

The content of the report has not been confirmed by the state government, but a figure involved in the investigation confirmed to The Guardian that it was handed over to the Lagos government on Monday.

It is the clearest admission yet at the official level that the security forces killed unarmed protesters, after a year of denials and contradictory theories offered by the ministers of the Nigerian government, the army and the police.

Many thousands of Nigerians, mostly young people, took to the streets in “EndSars” protests in various cities last year, demonstrating against the infamous and brutal Special Anti-Theft Squad (Sars) unit, and then more broadly, against police brutality. and bad government.

Protests across the country were met with extreme force by security agencies, including at the Lekki toll gate, where protesters broadcast live images on Instagram showing live gunfire and protesters with gunshot wounds.

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Amnesty International said that at least 12 people were killed, including in another protest in Ikeja, Lagos.

In the wake of the killings, Nigerian Attorney General Abubakar Malami said the live broadcasts were likely tampered with and “thugs” in military uniform may have been at the scene. The country’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, described the incident as “a massacre without bodies.”

The 300-page report of the judicial investigation found that the army arrived at the scene at the request of the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also initiated the investigation.

The report said incomplete CCTV footage from that night, provided by the Lekki Concession Company, was tampered with before being featured in the investigation.

Agents involved in the atrocities must be prosecuted and state authorities must offer a public apology, according to the report.

As protests escalated last year, the government officially disbanded the Sars police unit and many states launched judicial investigations into police abuses. However, despite the reforms, Sars officers accused of violence have not been held accountable, but instead moved to other parts of the police infrastructure.

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