Lekki shootings: Why families of victims are afraid to speak out —Falana

    Kayode Oyero 

    Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), says the families of #EndSARS protesters killed by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate are afraid to speak out because they “understand the environment under which we operate”.

    He spoke on Wednesday at an ‘#EndSARS Zoom Meeting Global’ hosted by Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore.

    At the virtual meeting monitored by The PUNCH, Falana urged Nigerians and the international community not to believe the explanations offered by the Nigerian Army on the Lekki shootings.

    The Nigerian Army, after an initial denial, yesterday, admitted that its operatives were at the Lekki toll gate on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

    The military authorities also claimed they were invited by the Lagos State Government, noting that they acted within the rules of engagement.

    The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, however, said the army has “a history of lies, fraud and deception” while making reference to the Shiites incident of December 2015.

    Falana said, “Nobody should believe the military because it has a history of lies, fraud and deception.

    “Just in December 2015, the same Chief of Army Staff, General (Tukur) Buratai claimed that there was a traffic jam in Zaria and the big man wanted to move and because of that traffic, he got soldiers from the first division in Kaduna to mow down Shiites.

    “And what was the explanation? That the Shiites wanted to assassinate the Chief of Army Staff…and about six or seven persons died.

    “But in the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government, we were told that indeed 347 Nigerians were killed by the military. No autopsy, no postmortem, nothing was done. Their bodies were taken away in the dead of the night and given a mass burial.

    “And people will ask you, if anybody lost his child in Lekki, why have they not come up? Who has come up in the case of Zaria? Because you must understand the environment under which we operate.

    “By the way, some of those injured in Lekki had to forcefully discharge themselves because they were told in the hospital that they were going to be held liable for the riot in town. And so, everybody had to move.

    “But as of today, the governor of Lagos State has admitted that two people lost their lives. The circumstances would have to be explained later but those two were among those shot by the soldiers.”

    Falana also stressed that the military has no business enforcing curfew under the Nigerian laws.

    “We are involved in the investigation and we are going to unravel the entire mystery surrounding the attack in Lagos,” he insisted.

    The Lekki attack has been condemned by both local and global civil rights personalities and organisations including Amnesty International which claimed at least 10 protesters were killed by the Nigerian forces at the Lekki toll gate.

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