It’s been one week since the Lekki massacre and I don’t think anything has made me this sad in my life. The sadness is overwhelming.
On the 20th of October 2020, Babajide Sanwoolu announced around 1pm that a curfew would begin by 4pm in one of Africa’s busiest cities; Lagos- home to 20 million people.
Lagos is home to traffic jams like you will not find in any other parts of the country, so how exactly could people go home with the traffic jams with less than a 4 hours’ notice? Protests for #EndSARS were ongoing at the Lekki toll gate and with the roads blocked, innocent unarmed protesters sat down at the tollgate and waited and protested.
First, CCTV cameras were uninstalled and removed by workers who told protesters when asked that they were acting under instructions given to them by the Lagos government. Soon after, the overhead billboard at the toll gate which has never gone off since its installment was turned off so as the street lights at the toll gate.
At 6:45-6:50pm, soldiers of the Nigerian army arrived at the Lekki toll gate and opened fire on innocent unarmed protesters whose only crime was sit down and sing the national anthem while waving the national flag. The video of a man singing the national anthem while his voice shook with tears while the army shot at them is permanently lodged in my memory.
As at the 27th of October 2020, one week after the massacre, we still do not know exactly how many people died at the Lekki massacre. DJ Switch (one of the protesters and a witness) on her IG live was able to count at least 15 people who died. She also affirmed alongside other protesters who survived the shooting that the army took away some of the bodies in their trucks never to be seen again.
Lives wasted for doing nothing but demand that the government stop killing us. Families who will never have closure on what became of the ones they loved. All we wanted and asked was for the government to #EndSARS, but they killed us instead.
The military denied it’s presence at the massacre and Sanwoolu claimed that the killings happened by forces not within his direct control and stated that there were no fatalities even though there were.
Yesterday, in a live interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, the governor finally admitted that soldiers were at the scene of the massacre and that lives were indeed lost.
Our heroes, you will not be erased.
We saw it happen, and we will never forget.
We will fight for justice for you.
You live on in our hearts.
WE WILL NEVER FORGET.