Amnesty International said an on-the-ground investigation it conducted has confirmed that the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters on Tuesday at two locations in Lagos.
The killings took place in Lekki and Alausa, where thousands were protesting police brutality as part of the #EndSARS movement.
Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports confirmed that between 6:45pm and 9pm on Tuesday, the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality, AI said in a report on Wednesday.
Witnesses at the Lekki protest grounds told Amnesty international that solders arrived at about 6:45pm local time on Tuesday and opened fire without warning, adding: “Eyewitnesses at Alausa protest ground said they were attacked by a team of soldiers and policemen from the Rapid Response Squad Unit at about 8pm, leaving at least two people dead and one critically injured.”
“Opening fire on peaceful protesters is a blatant violation of people’s rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Soldiers clearly had one intention – to kill without consequences,” said Osai Ojigho, Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
Amnesty International received reports that shortly before the shootings, CCTV cameras at the Lekki toll gate, where #EndSARS protesters had been camped for two weeks, were removed by government officials and the electricity was cut, a clear attempt to hide evidence.
As in previous cases documented by Amnesty International, some of those killed and injured at both grounds were allegedly taken away by the military.
“These shootings clearly amount to extrajudicial executions. There must be an immediate investigation and suspected perpetrators must be held accountable through fair trials. Authorities must ensure access to justice and effective remedies for the victims and their families,” said Osai Ojigho.
Amnesty International said it has been monitoring developments across Nigeria since the #EndSARS protest began on October 8, 2020.
At least 56 people have died across the country since the protest began, with about 38 killed on Tuesday alone.
Victims include protesters and thugs who were allegedly hired by the authorities to confront the protesters.
In many cases, the security forces had used excessive force in an attempt to control or stop the protests.