At about 12pm today, the 20th of October 2020, the Lagos State Governor announced on Twitter that there was to be a Curfew in Lagos starting from 4 pm to curb the havoc being wreaked by touts and thugs disguising themselves as protesters. That was neither brilliant, strategic, or considerate enough for a city of 20million people, a good percentage of whom were still at work and usually face the city’s infamous extreme traffic problems to and from work. It was a setup for a blood bath.
While the craze of the State’s plan was being debated, protesters at a popular toll gate in Lagos cosmopolitan city, Lekki, gathered in defiance and bravery, refusing to suppress their cries against police brutality in Nigeria.
The Governor of Lagos later, possibly realizing the faults of his curfew strategy, tweeted again that the curfew has been moved to 9pm. But this proved to either have come too late or was part of a devious plan about to unfold.
At about 6:45pm, the protesters on video recordings showed some engineers arriving at the toll gate; removing its CCTV cameras and lighting for reasons that cleared didn’t deter the protesters who remained there mostly seated and all peacefully singing.
However, at about 7:20pm, when the sun had almost completely set, heavily armed soldiers were recorded arriving the toll gate in a lineup of military vehicles. They fenced the protesters on both sides and without warning started firing at the peaceful protesters who mostly stayed on the ground while some others helped injured protesters.
Live streams by people at the protest ground revealed that at least 7 were dead and other bodies dangerously unreachable were taken by the soldiers and thrown in their van. The soldiers, said to be under the command of a certain General F.O Omata, formerly of Special task Force Operation SAFE HAVEN and currently an 81 division Training Officer, refused ambulance sent by concerned Nigerians entry and kept firing at the citizens they swore to protect. Even while the protesters hoisted the Nigerian flag and sang the National Anthem.
This is no doubt am indirect declaration of war on the citizens of Nigeria by the government and most are expressing their grief. The clamor for better governance and the reasons for it has been intensify by the moves made by the military tonight and Nigeria may either spiral down a path of unprecedented blood bath or face its first progressive revolution in decades.
By Abiola Makinde