Life has not been the same at Lekki since officers shot at peaceful demonstrators last year. The death of ten innocent civilians alleged to have been murdered by the officers has since become a concern. Although the government of Nigeria has dismissed such claims, the people are regardless thirsty for justice.
Wounds Still Fresh
Although it is four months since the incident, nothing has changed. Signs of brutal violence are still visible. The walls are riddled with bullet holes while pieces of glass remain shattered. Writings of EndSARS are still fresh. Plans to resume activities in the building have all failed, as resilient Nigerians demand justice.
The EndSARS movement kicked off last year after Nigerians grew tired of the atrocities they endured under SARS. The uprising aimed to disband the unit and endorse democracy. However, it was unfortunate that the protest ended in a massacre. Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka, one of Lekki’s incident victims, states how hard it is for her to erase the incident’s memories, which keep recurring in her head. She says she cannot afford to keep quiet at the expense of the innocent civilians who were murdered.
“I was on stage, asking people to sit down and raise their flags, then they started shooting. Immediately people were falling on the back of a truck that had been transformed into a stage. I witnessed about six bodies lifeless on the floor.”
Since that incident, she and her friends have been reaching out to the victims of Lekki, trying to console them and urging them to voice out their opinions.
Panic in the Air
Since the incident occurred last year, there has been a lot of silence. Authorities have pressured important figures leading the movements. They have undergone many forms of intimidation. Some weeks ago, when the leaders attempted to re-ignite anti-SARS protests, authorities cautioned them and threatened to take action amid any violence.
Twenty activities in the country could not access their bank accounts as they were closed. Similarly, Adeyinka said she received anonymous calls threatening her. This month, Nigeria’s court ordered the Central Bank to unfreeze twenty bank accounts linked to protestors.
Francis Toluse of the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative says that many victims have been affected mentally since the tragedy. They have tried counseling though it has not been easy. They have also attended to patients with panic attacks. He says some of these patients are even afraid to move around as police gunshots’ fear keeps ringing in their heads.
Any Investigations on the Lekki Incident?
Authorities confirmed to the people that investigation plans were underway. They urged the citizens to shun any plans in breach of peace. The state has set up many judicial panels to investigate the Lekki incident, mostly as many accusations pointed to the state officers. Initially, the military dismissed allegations of shooting but later stated that they were firing blank rounds to dismiss the crowds who had defied curfew hours.
The court proceedings have not been moving swiftly, and army representatives have failed to show up three times. According to Adeyinka, she feels the government is trying to install fear so that the people do not talk.