Implication of the CNN Lekki Toll Gate Massacre

Adding a new twist to the changed narrative given and spread by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Lagos State Government under the leadership of Babajide Sanwo Olu and also the Nigerian Army regarding the October 20th Lekki Massacre which has been reduced to shooting, the CNN had released  a detailed documentary which confirm the killing of innocent Nigerian youths during the course of the Peaceful Protest by men of the Nigerian Army.

It would be recalled that there was a nation-wide protest across major cities in the country against the brutality and high handedness of the men of the Nigerian Police Force and in particular the Special Security Agency, SARS. The protest which lasted 12 days was brought to an abrupt end on the 20th of October 2020 when men of the Nigerian Army had opened fire on the peaceful Protesters who had gathered at the Lekki Toll gate to peacefully push home their demands for a revamp of the Nigerian Police Force for effective and productive performance.

Nigerians were afforded to have a glimpse of what happened at the Lekki Toll gate thank to the activities of some people who were present at the scene who shared footage on the various pages of the social media. Prominent among them is DJSWITCH, who during a live video feed on Instagram showed to the rest of the world what really happened at the scene of the event.

It’s rather surprising and out rightly shocking for many Nigerians to see the Presidency, the Lagos State Government and also the men of the Nigerian Army later come out to deny the credibility of the incident, while they gave a new and different narrative as against what really happened.

First it begun with the speech of the president, one which came two days late after the incident. Nigerians had taken to the pages of the social media and other news agency and platform to demand that the president address the nation on the recent National malady. During the speech delivery, President had completely ignored the Lekki Massacre, choosing not to address the incident or acknowledge the fact that it happened.

Instead he discussed on other National issues much to the disappointment of many Nigerians. The speech of the president was followed with several other various attempt by the presidency to water down the significance of what really happened on the 20th of October 2020.

A clampdown on all those who participated in the protest began and the result of this move saw many taking to their heels as they went under the bunkers to hide themselves. This was followed by series of conflicting accounts of the incident on the path of the presidency, his spokesmen, the Lagos State Governor and the men of the Nigerian Army.

While the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo Olu had acknowledge the incident, he altered the narrative by saying that only two people died and few injured. While also stating that he had no idea of who gave the order to the men of the Nigerian Army to shoot at the protesters.

The men of the Nigerian Army had in response given a different account, as they expressed their disappointment at the Lagos State Government for denying their involvement in the incident.

We must not also forget the mild drama created by the minister of works, Babatunde Fashola who during an on-site inspection of the Lekki Toll gate found a camera which was said to have contained video recording of what happened during the ENDSARS Protest.

While the Federal Government of Nigeria had continued to maintain its denial over the gravity of the Lekki Toll gate incident, reducing its significance as it says that it’s a mere shooting which was only aggravated by Politicians who used the Social Media as a tool, and the men of the Nigerian Army stating that they had only fired blank shot at the protesters and no one was killed in the process, the recent revelation made by the CNN casts a whole new light to the true reality of the event.

While we cannot at the moment authoritatively say that the case is an open and close one with the recent revelation made by the CNN, nevertheless it is a pointer to the fact that there are plenty discrepancies and irregularities with the various accounts of the incident and that the irregularities with the account and details of event as reported by the federal government, the Lagos State Government and the men of the Nigerian Army shows that something is indeed missing.

Reacting to the uploaded video by the CNN, many Nigerians have taken to the various pages of the social media to state their disappointment at the Nigerian Government for their attempt to hide the truth by changing the narrative of the Lekki Toll gate Killings.

Others had argued that if the Federal Government had had the authority to regulate the social media space, then it would have done worse by making sure that it removes every evidence that could implicate it, adding that this is a pointer to lend much credence to the argument that the Federal Government must not have the right to regulate the use of the social media in Nigeria.

Also examining the implications of this recent development on the Nigerian government and the political class, their actions will only go a long way in discrediting them, many Nigerians will come to lose interest in ascribing credibility, legitimacy or Popularity to the Government nor its policies.

This realization will go a long way in painting the Federal Government as a dishonest Institution who are only focused on their personal Political gains and not the interest of the people. The people need a government that is sympathetic and responsive towards it course and not one that will make giants strides to suppress their demands, feelings or positions.

While investigation is still on-going, the Federal Government must begin to investigate ways through which it must regain the trust of the people and their confidence.

Marcus Amudipe

November 19, 2020

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