EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate
#EndSARS protesters barricade Lekki Tollgate

A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has faulted the narrative on alleged Lekki killing of #ENDSARS protesters by the Nigerian Army.

Dr Nwambu Gabriel of the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, who spoke on behalf of the coalition, said this at a news conference tagged “EndSARS Protest; reading between the lines, truth, facts and fantasies’’, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Gabriel said that the group decided to conduct an inquest into the ENDSARS demonstration and the climax of the protest at Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday Oct.20.

“There has been a heated debate on the role of the Nigerian Army in the enforcement of the curfew as announced by  Gov.Babajide Sanwo-olu, the number of those injured and deaths.

“We would want to reemphasise that our coalition believes in the sanctity of the human life and the fact that every life is equal before our creator.

“However, for the purpose of this fact finding and reality, we have chosen to be as objective and practical as possible.

“The Lekki incident was termed as a massacre by local and international media whereas massacre in the dictionary is synonymous with a large-scale cold blooded murder of human beings,” he said.

Gabriel said that the protest was well organised as the governor addressed the protesters and allowed them to present their five point demand to President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said that even after SARS was disbanded as demanded, the protesters remained on the streets with new demands and extraneous forces came in as protesters and systematically hijacked the protest on alarming scale leading to a curfew.

Gabriel said that a national newspaper claimed that 49 persons were murdered, Amnesty International claimed that 12 persons died, while there were purported eyewitnesses who gave account of how soldiers shot directly at protesters.

He said that the videos that went viral showed men in military uniform corking AK47 rifles.

“In this social media age, we expected to see at least someone who captured the killings with dead bodies as evidence,” he said.

He said the coalition expected some families to come forward laying claims that their loved ones who participated in the protest were still missing.

He added that a female protester who gave narrative about the different types of bullets used by the police and the military also claimed that she helped carried at least 17 bodies into a military truck.

“We believe she must have been invisible to achieve that narrative since according to her it was a heavy and continues firing ,so how come the alleged soldiers spared her life?,” he said.

Gabriel said that there was also claims that the CCTV camera in the area was removed.

“Our quest is that the camera which captured the shooting should have also captured the evacuation of dead bodies, ‘’he said.

Gabriel said that the evidence from PRNigeria, a forensic expert company said that most of the videos displayed were not recent, while some were manipulated and had doctored image.

He said that the company also observed the circulation of old pictures of victims injured or killed during violent skirmishes unrelated to the ENDSARS protest.

Gabriel said also that four deaths were said to have occurred, but the acclaimed deceased persons refuted them or were discovered by several independent fact finders as false and unrealistic.

He said that the movie star, Mr Eniola Badmus who was allegedly shot at the Lekki Toll Gate denied the social media report.

Gbariel said also that Mr Iraoye Godwin,a native of Otu-Auchi in Edo who was said to have been killed by military denied it on twitter .

He said that the fictions and lies were unprecedented adding that from the overwhelming facts, it was evident that the ENDARS protest was politically motivated and funded both internationally and locally with the aim of presenting the military as murderous.

He added that the sole aim was to spur sentiments from Nigerian citizens and the international community against the military and the government with the ultimate goal of destabilising the country.

He appealed to youths to dissuade all attempts by some clandestine groups to make them return to the streets for the second time, while urging them to embrace dialogue with the government.