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Three years after the Lekki Toll Gate massacre, it is important to remember the victims and to continue the fight for justice. On this day, we celebrate the memorial of the Lekki Tollgate shooting and honour the lives of those who were lost.
The Lekki Tollgate Shooting: A Tragic DayThe #EndSARS protests were a nationwide movement against police brutality and systemic corruption in Nigeria. The protests began in October 2020 after a video of a SARS officer shooting a young Nigerian man went viral. On October 20, 2020, thousands of protesters gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. The protesters were peaceful and unarmed. However, at around 6:50 p.m., Nigerian security forces opened fire on the protesters. Witnesses reported that the security forces fired live rounds into the crowd. Protesters were shot in the head, chest, and back. Some protesters were killed instantly, while others died later in the hospital. The Lekki Toll Gate shooting was a tragedy. It was a senseless act of violence against unarmed protesters. The shooting also highlighted the deep-seated problems of corruption and impunity in Nigeria.
Remembering the VictimsOn this day, we remember the victims of the Lekki Tollgate shooting. We honour their lives and their legacy. Based on several weeks of investigation, the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), last January, uncovered the names of three people shot at the tollgate who immediately lost their lives, as well as details of 17 other deceased protesters. Olalekan Abideen, known fondly as Biggie, was one of the protesters who didn’t survive the fatal incident. This was confirmed by his friend and his mother, who sells drinks along the Lekki-Ajah Expressway. Solomon, 20, had moved to Lagos from Adamawa about a year before the demonstrations, accepting his brother Nathaniel’s invitation. Before his death, he had managed Nathaniel’s car wash at Marwa Waterside in Lekki. His body was transported to their village in Adamawa and buried on October 22, 2020.
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Ifeanyi, who was soft-spoken and had spotted an afro and bushy beard, was killed too. Akin Kolawole had become friends with him at the protest, and they attempted to escape together when the shooting started. But Ifeanyi was gunned down. Akin remembered looking back and seeing him in a pool of blood. FIJ learned about another killed protester, estimated to be about 30 years old. Nicknamed John Doe by a doctor, his body had been taken to Reddington Hospital, a facility in Lekki Phase I. We remember all of the other victims of the Lekki Toll Gate shooting. We will never forget.
The Fight for Justice ContinuesThree years after the Lekki Toll Gate shooting, the fight for justice continues. The Nigerian government has not held anyone accountable for the massacre. We must continue to demand justice for the victims of the Lekki Toll Gate shooting. We must also continue to fight against police brutality and systemic corruption in Nigeria.
Celebrating the MemorialOn this day, we celebrate the memorial of the Lekki Toll Gate shooting. We honour the lives of those who were lost, and we recommit ourselves to the fight for justice. We celebrate the memorial by gathering together and remembering the victims. We also celebrate the memorial by speaking out against police brutality and systemic corruption. We celebrate the memorial by working to create a better future for all Nigerians.
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ConclusionThe Lekki Toll Gate shooting was a tragedy. However, it also inspired a movement for change. The #EndSARS protests showed the power of the people and the importance of fighting for justice. On this day, we celebrate the memorial of the Lekki Toll Gate shooting and recommit ourselves to the fight for a better Nigeria. Featured Image Source: Ripples Nigeria
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