Global rights body Amnesty International has insisted that at least 10 protesters were killed by Nigerian soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.
The US Government in a report titled ‘2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria,’ released on Wednesday said there was no evidence to show that protesters were killed.
Reacting to the US report, Amnesty Nigeria Director, Osai Ojigho, told Peoples Gazette on Thursday that there were fatalities during the shootings.
Ojigho maintained that the testimonies of witnesses at the Lekki Toll Gate affirmed that soldiers fired live rounds at demonstrators as against claims of firing blank bullets in the air.
She said her organisation carried out its investigation after the incident while also considering other credible reports.
She said: “Amnesty International stands by its initial findings that in October, we released based on the information that we were able to independently verify as at that time and we have continued to encourage the state government and the Federal Government to do justice by the people.
“Amnesty International had asked for independent and transparent investigations into what really happened at the Lekki toll gate and we still haven’t seen that and that is what is really worrisome, especially because a lot of people will not be able to move on, until justice is served.
“There have been other reports by other organisations and also shared on social media attesting to the fact that different people who were located at the Lekki toll gate at the time of the incident were reportedly killed.
“CNN carried the report about a young man that died and when the younger brother called the phone number and people picked the call and they claimed that ‘this is not your brother, your brother is dead.’
“There are still a lot of unclaimed bodies in many of the Lagos State hospitals and it raised the question, ‘who are those people?’ ‘Would they be allowed to be investigated? Check whether these are people who suffered gunshots for example how long they have been there in order to rightly pinpoint the time they were in.
“If you look at the Amnesty report, we were able to use satellite imagery and information which were picked through verified accounts to show the movement of officers to the Lekki toll gate. The issue now really is not about government just giving a blatant denial but about how they need to carry out investigation without any fear.
“Right now, people are still careful to be publicly identified and this is what has been used by many that they haven’t seen anyone come forward on what really happened.”
“The United States could have taken more time before evaluating the situation,” while admitting that she had no control over the way American diplomats in Nigeria choose to do their jobs. Ms Ojigho said her group would exercise further patience for facts from the Lagos judicial panel and medical facilities where injured protesters were taken to make final conclusion.
“We’ll retain our call that everything must be open, transparent, and families have the right to know the truth. The system needs to work for the people and not only for the government of those who are in the office.”