Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) on Wednesday explained why the family members of victims of Lekki Toll Gate shooting are scared to talk and also made some revelations about the Nigerian Army.
Recall that on October 20, 2020, some soldiers reportedly opened fire at youths who were protesting police brutality at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State, after the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had imposed a curfew across the State. The incident has since generated controversies locally and globally as to what actually happened that night.
Falana who stressed that military is “known for lies and deception”, said the family of those affected in the incident could not speak up “because of the environment under which we operate.”
The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stated this at virtual #EndSARS meeting organised by Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters.
Insisting that the Lekki incident must not be swept under the carpet, Falana recounts how the Nigerian Army “covered up” the reported killing of 347 Shi’ites in Zaria, Kaduna state, in 2015.
“Nobody should believe the military, it has a history of lies, fraud and deception,” he said.
“Just in December 2015, the same chief of army staff claimed 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 hundreds of Shi’ites. And what was the explanation? That the Shi’ites wanted to assassinate the chief of army staff, and so his boys had to save him and in the process, they repelled these Shi’ites who had guns and about six or seven people died.
“But in a commission of enquiry set up by the Kaduna state government, we were told that indeed, 347 Nigerians were killed by the military; no autopsy, no postmortem, nothing whatsoever.
“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 can’t they come up?’ Who has come up in the case of Zaria? Because you must understand the environment under which we operate.”
According to Falana, some of those injured in the Lekki shooting “had to forcefully discharge themselves because they were told in the hospital that they were going to be held liable for the riot in the 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.”
The Senior lawyer maintained that the military has no business enforcing curfew under Nigerian laws.
“We are involved in the investigation and we are going to unravel the entire mystery surrounding the attack in Lagos.”