Following the alleged shooting of ENDSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State by some soldiers, a reporter with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Damilola Banjo, who was at the protest ground has said no protester was shot.
Damilola, who appeared in an interview with the BBC studio in United Kingdom, revealed that soldiers were seen at the Lekki Toll Gate but shot “sporadically into the air.”
This comes after many had alleged that the soldiers fired at the protesters and left many dead and wounded, an assertion which till date is yet to be verified and proven by relevant authorities.
Recounting what happened at the Lekki Toll Gate, Damilola said she was “on the protest ground and was doing live stream for the ‘Pidgin Service’ when the soldiers came in. At that point, the protesters were peaceful, they were holding high their flag and placard and chanting “ENDSARS, ENDSARS.”
“So when the military men came in and they started shooting sporadically into the air, what the coordinators of the protesters asked the protesters to do was to sit on the floor. The instruction was, ‘sit on the floor and stay in one location’, Damilola revealed.
According to her, the sight of the military men got the protesters angry and agitated “but still they listened to the instruction given to them by their coordinator which was to sit on the floor.
When asked if she saw the soldiers opening fire or any casualty, Damilola said, “I had my editor with me at the protest ground and we saw the army open fire, of course not on the protesters. They were shooting into the air. And while we were trying to find a safe cover, I saw a young man who seems to be struggling for breath, he was sleeping out of consciousness, he was just lying on the floor.
“I think what must have caused the situation at the time must have been the sudden shock of the sporadic shooting from the military and because the environment was tensed, that must have been the cause of his predicament at that point. But that was the casualty I saw at the time – a young man lying on the floor and sleeping out of consciousness.”
For about two weeks, protesters in Lagos staged demonstrations at different parts of the state demanding the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a reform of the police, arrest and prosecution of culpable personnel, compensation for families of victims and improved welfare for police personnel.
The protest which spread to other states in the country got the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and issued an Executive Order dissolving SARS with the National Executive Council (NEC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, ordering the setting up, across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory Abuja, of judicial panels of inquiry, to x-ray and remediate allegations of numbing, bloody infamy against the special police squad (SARS).