3rd November, 2020
Minister for Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has said that it is unclear who shot the #EndSARS protesters in Lagos.
Malami said there is a likelihood that hoodlums dressed as military men attacked and shot peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate in Lagos state on October 20, and not soldiers as widely reported.
The #EndSARS protest broke out in different parts of Nigeria early October while calling for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) over police brutality and high-handedness of their officials.
On October 11, 2020, the police unit was thereafter disbanded by the Inpector=General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, but the protests persisted as citizens demanded total reforms in the police force.
The protest which continued till the 20th of October, 2020, saw peaceful protesters who converged at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos State brutally shot at by armed soldiers.
According to eyewitnesses and human rights body, Amnesty International, at least 10 people were shot dead in the incident while several others were injured.
However, since the shooting occurred, there has since been disparities in the number of casualties and identity of persons who shot at the protesters.
Malami while speaking with journalists on Monday in Abuja, said the matter was being investigated and there was a need to establish whether the shooting took place, who was responsible, and whether the people who were shooting were part of the military.
He said it was “pre-emptive,” to conclude that there had even been shootings, adding that “hoodlums,” may have been hired to create a scene.
“You cannot rule out the possibility of perhaps hoodlums that set in to create a scene… could equally partake in the process.
“The Lekki tollgate incident had sparked off outrage across the country. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, blamed the incident on “forces beyond my direct control,” he said.
Meanwhile, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Osoba Olaniyi, had said the Lagos government invited the army to restore order while denying that soldiers shot protesters.
He described reports on the attack by the military as fake.
In a twist, the army also refused to disclose the identity of its men who were sent to Lekki tollgate on October 20.