Lekki shooting: Amnesty alleges cover-up, demands suspension of indicted officials

 


Amnesty International (AI) has demanded the suspension of officials indicted in the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki, Lagos state.

Osai Ojigho, AI country director in Nigeria, said the authorities in Nigeria have resorted to intimidating the supporters of the protest and covering up the incidents instead of ensuring justice for those killed.

Soldiers had opened fire at the Lekki tollgate where #EndSARS protesters converged to demand an end to police brutality and bad governance.

The Nigerian army later said it deployed soldiers to quell the peaceful protest following a request by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State.

Ahmed Taiwo, an army representative, also told a Lagos panel that soldiers sent to the protest venue were “armed (with) blank bullets in addition to the live (bullets) they were carrying” because hoodlums had “sought to take advantage” of the situation.

In a statement issued on Thursday, 100 days after the Lekki shooting, AI said there is no justice yet for the 12 persons it earlier said were killed in the incident and in a related one in Alausa, Lagos.

“Nigerian authorities have failed to bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the brutal crackdown by security forces on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate and Alausa in Lagos in October 2020 and have brazenly attempted to cover up the violence, said Amnesty International Nigeria today, 100 days on from the attacks,” Ojigho said.

“Since the assault by security forces, which killed at least 12 people, Nigerian authorities have targeted supporters of the protests against police brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Some of the movement’s supporters have had their bank accounts frozen.

“The bloody events of 20 October 2020, when Nigerian security forces killed at least 12 people during the violent dispersal of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki and Alausa, have cast a shadow over Nigerian society that lingers to this day,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“Instead of bringing suspected perpetrators to justice and prioritizing genuine police reforms, Nigerian authorities have been abusing their powers by subjecting those who supported the protests to intimidation, harassment and smear campaigns.”

The human rights watchdog asked the government to ensure “prompt, thorough, independent, impartial and effective investigations” into the incidents in Lagos and in other parts of the country “to identify and bring suspected perpetrators to justice in fair trials”.

“Those suspected to be responsible for the killings should be brought to justice in accordance with international fair trial standards,” Ojigho said.

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