Sanwo-Olu blames forces beyond ‘direct control’ for Lekki killings
Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu Wednesday morning blamed “forces beyond our direct control” for the death of peaceful, unarmed protesters at Lekki toll plaza on Tuesday.
Eyewitnesses said Nigerian soldiers opened fire on the protesters who were sitting on the ground, waving the Nigerian flag and singing the country’s anthem.
The unprovoked attack on the protesters happened more than two hours before the 24-hour curfew declared by the state governor became effective.
“This is the toughest night of our lives as forces beyond our direct control have moved to make dark notes in our history, but we will face it and come out stronger,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor said 27 persons were still receiving at three hospitals. Two of them are currently receiving intensive medical care. Three other persons have been discharged.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers initially denied ambulances entry into the area to evacuate those who were shot.
Amnesty International Nigeria blamed the Nigerian authorities for the death of the protesters, noting that there was no justification for the killings.
“The Nigerian military has a poor human rights record in dealing with protesters,” Amnesty said a day before the Lekki attack.
Shortly after the attack on protesters began, the power supply at the toll plaza was cut off and the area thrown into darkness.
A Nigerian disc jockey DJ Switch broadcast chaotic scenes live on her Instagram account. At a point, some people were seen trying to remove a bullet from the leg of a protester referred to as Jide.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Nigerian police boss said he has ordered the deployment of anti-riot policemen all over the country.
“The force will henceforth exercise the full powers of the law to prevent any further attempt on lives and property of citizens,” a police statement said.
Despite his veiled reference to forces beyond his control – in Nigeria, a state governor does not have direct control even over the police – Sanwo-Olu said the state would work with the Nigerian Government to get to the root of the “unfortunate incident”.