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Presidency spokesman smugly rejects new Amnesty report on Lekki shootings

Amnesty International says 12 protesters were shot dead in the military crackdown on peaceful protesters in Lagos.

• October 29, 2020
snapshot from footage of soldiers shooting the Lekki protesters.
A snapshot from footage of soldiers shooting the Lekki protesters

This week Amnesty International published a timeline of the military crackdown on #EndSARS protesters that happened in Lagos on October 20. For evidence, the human rights organisation provides videos and photographs verified by its experts.

But a presidency spokesman has claimed that the Amnesty International report is not based on sufficient information, according to Punch.

The timeline indicates that Nigerian army vehicles left Bonny Camp, a military base approximately a seven-minute drive from the Lekki toll gate, at 6:29 p.m. shortly before the shootings began at the toll gate.

Punch reports that presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said on Channels TV that Amnesty International could not have more facts about the crackdown than the presidency.

He is quoted to have said to the TV presenters, “You are falling for the narrative of Amnesty International…Amnesty International does not have all the facts, they don’t run this country. They shouldn’t know beyond what they have been told.”

Amnesty International says 12 protesters were shot dead in Lagos that day even though the protests were peaceful. The presidency, including Mr. Adesina, has brought forward no evidence to disprove that credible account of the massacre.

In live social media footage, soldiers can be seen and heard shooting at protesters holding the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem, as protesters try to help their colleagues down with bullet wounds.

Lagos governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu initially said the shootings were due to forces beyond his direct control, while the army denied shooting at the demonstrators. 

There have since been counter-accusations between the army and the Lagos government about who authorised the crackdown.

The governor has admitted that the army indeed did the shooting, while a division of the army based in the state says the state government called in soldiers to enforce a curfew.

President Muhammadu Buhari has not taken responsibility for the operations as the military commander in chief, and he has held no one accountable for the deadly shootings. 

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