The Revelations from Global rights group, Amnesty International on the shootings of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 is very mournful.
The timeline collates photographs and video footage to confirm that Nigerian Army vehicles left Bonny Camp, a military base approximately a seven-minute drive from the toll gate, at 6.29pm local time on October 20.
Amnesty International seems to be answering more question than the Nigerian Goverment and doing so far more intelligently. They used tangible evidences to plot what happened unlike those who asked the killer soldiers to narrate what happened to them.
Amnesty International informations has always proven to be more accurate than the goverment and partisan Army. Several Boko Haram attacks, Shiite massacre and the recent Lekki massacre corroborates it.
However, Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media & Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, statements on Channels TV, Thursday morning were different.
He said “Amnesty International is wrong. They don’t have all the facts; they don’t run this country, so they shouldn’t know beyond what they have been told.”
Also exonerating the military, Adesina said that the Lekki Tollgate incident didn’t precipitate the arson and looting spree that spread across the country.
Nigerians have been asking questions after the Lekki Massacre that the government hasn’t answered clearly. Why was camera removed and lights off? Why did the Nigerian Army shoot in the dark? Why can’t the Lagos State Goverment play CCTV of that night?
After series of denial and shadow boxing, the Nigerian Army finally admitted deployment of troops to the LekkiMassacre. They claimed they were simply ensuring compliance with the curfew put in place by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, earlier that day.
The truth shall always prevail no matter how long lies is used to camouflage the events leading to the killings. They have started singing like canaries after initially saying videos of the soldiers shooting at protesters were “photoshopped”, “doctored” and “dubbed”.
They know that no matter their cover up the international community will unearth the truth sooner or later. The idiocy of the government is on another level totally. Why would a government deploy the military to quell an uprising? Especially an angry youths in the name of a curfew to silence them.
Former Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman on Thursday 20, 2020 in an interview with Arise News claimed that Military personnel who shot protesters at Lekki toll gate used ‘blank ammunition which had little or no effect on its target.
Too many theories to cover up their crimes just the way they have been doing previously. It’s so saddening listening to military high command, military spokesman and presidential spokeman talking from every corner of their mouth.
Firstly, the armed forces were never at the Lekki Toll gate. Suddenly, the Army was there but dey didn’t open fire and when they fired, it was blanks they used. The LekkiMassacre is not an isolated case, there has been series of such brutality against citizens.
The Army has been shooting and killing unarmed IPOB protesters across the South East and South South. Now, they have taken the killings to the South West.
The Nigerian Army carried out the massacre in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, on 12 December 2015, against Shia muslims, mostly members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
At least 348 civilians were killed, with 347 bodies secretly buried by the army in a masse grave according to Amnesty International reports. Army claimed that it had responded to an attempt to assassinate Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
The Nigerian Army under the directives of Major General Muhammadu Buhari dictatorship was also responsible for the Killing of Biafran Protesters refers to the killing of demonstrators demanding the restoration of the sovereignty of the Republic of Biafra on August 30, 2015 in Onitsha and also that of May 30, 2016.
Injustice to one is injustice to all. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Over time the Nigerian Army seemingly endless unprecedented brutality and extrajudicial killings and conducts has shown that the military incursions into our governing system and political space is just another act
The irony of it is that the same Nigerian Military has been made refugees in their own country by a militia made up of illiterates. Sometimes, it’s confusing if the work of the Army is actually to preserve the territorial integrity of the country or to shoot at defenceless unarmed young men and women.
How can a leader unleash war on its own citizens with the military?
The same Nigerian Army that was detained by Cameroonian forces after Boko Haram chased them across the border.
The same Nigerian Army that claimed that they can’t operate at night but shot at unarmed protesters at Lekki Toll gate in the dark.
The same Nigerian Army that denied for months the death of over 100 soldiers after Boko Haram ambushed them.
The same Nigerian Army that wasn’t successful with operation crocodile smile against the Niger Delta Avengers.
The same Nigerian Army that ceded Bakassi Peninsula without firing a single shot (not even blanks).
This is not the first time that the same military under the command of Major General Muhammad Buhari and Tukur Buratai will criminally open fire on unarmed civilians killing so many
The hangover continued with the military in Agbada. Under a democratic setting, how do you explain the kind of statements and bragging from a Chief of Staff that “Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better.”
The totalitarianism and unprofessional conduct exhibited by the Nigerian Army is a confirmation of the thinking about the refusal to disengage the current military heads even when they have overstayed their statutory required and despite complete failure in the battle field and outcry from the parliament for a change of guard.
It’s evident that the military is no longer loyal to the Nigerian state but to individuals. Let it be clearly stated that the irreducible minimum expected from our Military personnel in the discharge of their duties as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the rules of engagement is total loyalty to the Nigerian state not individuals.
Similar occurrences also took place under the watch of Former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo repressive regime, the Odi massacre in Bayelsa was carried out on November 20, 1999 by the Nigerian military.
After a gang of militants had killed 12 Policemen near the town. General Olusegun Obasanjo deployed soldiers to apparently teach the militants a lesson.
Every building in the town, except a bank, an Anglican church and a health centre, was razed to the ground. The Nigerian Army claimed it was ambushed on its way to Odi.
A similar treatment was given to the people of Zaki Biam in Benue State by the same Federal Government under Obasanjo about two years later. During a protest over the siting of a local government headquarters.
Some criminals killed 19 soldiers who were deployed to keep the peace. From October 22 to 24, 2001, on the authority of Obasanjo, soldiers killed anything and everything in sight. About 100 residents and passersby were recorded dead.
Such misuse and abuse of our armed forces are not part of our democratic culture, particularly under a full fledged democratic dispensation example is during presidents Umar Musa Yar’adua of blessed memory and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan……
People easily forget the pains and anguish of yesterday when faced with new challenges today. That explains why the people of Israel, as recorded in the Bible, had no difficulty thoroughly abusing Moses and accusing him of a genocide plot against them.
People that can’t connect with the Present and set a course for prosperity, these are the people leading us to the future. The international community should not fold their hands and watch Major General Buhari massacring Nigerian youths that are protesting for their rights. Major General Muhammadu Buhari and Tukur Buratai should be prosecuted in ICC, because the National Assembly (NASS), ‘Parliament’ is clearly, nonexistent, they can’t oversight or check the overbearing tendencies of the executive branch of government given that the current NASS openly said they are happy to be a rubber stamp..
Odusanya is the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI