Nigeria covering up army killing of protesters, Amnesty International says

William Clowes

Nigerian authorities must stop their attempts to cover up the army’s fatal shooting of unarmed protesters last week in the country’s commercial hub, Lagos, rights group Amnesty International said.

“The initial denials of the involvement of soldiers in the shooting was followed by the shameful denial of the loss of lives as a result of the military’s attack against the protests,” Amnesty’s Nigeria spokesman Isa Sanusi said Wednesday in an emailed statement. “Many people are still missing since the day of the incident, and credible evidence shows that the military prevented ambulances from reaching the severely injured in the aftermath.”

In this Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 file photo, people drive past burnt toll gates with anti police slogans sprayed across, in Lagos. Nigeria's army has on Tuesday, Oct. 27 admitted its soldiers were deployed at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos where live rounds were fired last week, killing several peaceful protesters prompting global outrage.
In this Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020 file photo, Alister, a protester who says his brother Emeka died from a stray bullet from the Army, reacts while speaking to Associated Press near Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria.

The army said though it was invited to help enforce a curfew, it had no involvement in the Oct. 20 shooting at one of the protest sites set up by young people during two weeks of demonstrations against police brutality, contradicting eye witness accounts.

Amnesty International said its investigations established that military vehicles left the Bonny Camp base in Lagos at 6:29 p.m. on the day in question and arrived at the protest site where troops opened fire at “approximately 6.45 p.m.”