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Soldiers open fire at #EndSARS protesters in Lagos

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A number of #EndSARS protesters in Lekki, Lagos State have been reportedly shot dead by men of the Nigerian Army who  besieged the venue of the protest at Lekki Toll Gate, shooting live bullets directly at protesters.

Images and videos of the shooting by the soldiers are being shared online, with some clips showing soldiers moving towards the protesters and shooting directly at them.

Also, the shooting was streamedlive on Tuesday night on Instagram by DJ Switch, a Nigerian artiste, who was at the location.

Nigerians have for the past two weeks been protesting against Police brutality and demanding the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a notorious unit accused of perpetrating human rights abuses and also demanding for a total reform of the Nigerian Police Force.

Many protesters were reported dead, with some stating that more may have been killed by the trigger-happy soldiers.

Vanguard Newspaper reported that not fewer than 11 victims of gunshot were at Reddington Hospital, a private hospital in Lagos.

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Omoni Oboli, a Nigerian actress confirming the incident, said security agents attacked the unharmed demonstrators.

She said, “Jesus!!! Take the wheel! Unarmed protesters are getting shot at right now at Lekki toll gate #LekkiTollGateShooting #EndSARS I’m hearing no stop gunshots. Make it stop.”

“I’m on the phone with someone there! I hear gunshots. The military are there shooting at unarmed #EndSARS protesters at the toll gate. People’s kids. Pls help”

Several witnesses at the Lekki toll gate where the #EndSARS demonstrators have been protesting for nearly two weeks have shared videos and photos from the scene.

Feyikemi Abudu, an end sars protesters also confirmed the incident in a tweet.

She said, “They shot those people. They saw a group of unarmed people sitting on the ground and they opened fire. In the dark. They didn’t think to use any other way. They shot them and blood is on their hands. They shot them for asking for the right to not be killed.”

It was also reported that the soldiers turned back ambulances dispatched to treat those injured.

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A Twitter handle @amos_sylva in a tweet said ambulances were turned back.

The tweet read, “Ambulance just turn back they said the Nigeria ARMY didn’t allow them to pass for them to rescue the life of the Nigerian youths in lekki tollgate…..what a sad news.”

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State governor had declared a 24-hour curfew, citing the violence that greeted the #EndSARS protest in the state.

He had earlier said the curfew will kick-off at exactly 4:00pm, but the State government later at 7:08pm when the shooting was being reported tweeted through the State government official handle that the enforcement would now start at 9:00pm.

The tweet read, “Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has directed that enforcement of the 24hour curfew in the State should not start until 9pm to enable people stuck in traffic get to their destinations.”

The Lagos State government confirmed the shooting in a series of tweets by Gbenga Omotosho, Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, stating that the State Government had ordered an investigation into the incident.

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He said, “Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has advised the security agents not to arrest anyone on account of the curfew, which he urges residents to observe for the peaceful atmosphere we all cherish.”

Despite the curfew, some protesters refused to leave the toll gate which was originally set to commence at 4:00pm, but was later extended to 9:00pm, insisting the government carry out the reform.

Eyewitnesses at the toll gate who posted on social media about the incident reported that soldiers drafted to the scene shot live bullets at protesters who staged a peaceful sit-in demonstration.

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Olayinka works with The ICIR as the Social Media Manager, Reporter and Fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via oshehu@icirnigeria.org. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @ShehuOlayinka1

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