LAGOS- Three years after #EndSARS, a youth-led protest against police brutality that lasted over two weeks in 2020, turned bloody as Nigerian soldiers under former President Muhammadu Buhari opened live rounds on young protesters at Lekki Tollgate, killing about 10 and injuring scores, Nigerians are returning to the scene of the incident in remembrance of those killed on October 20, 2020.
#EndSARS, a nationwide historic protest against years of brutality, extortion and extra-judicial killings perpetrated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in 2020, occasioned the scrapping of the much-dreaded unit of the police.
Since the massacre, Lekki Tollgate has remained synonymous with bloodshed and deaths. October 20 is a day of remembrance for young Nigerians still calling for justice for the deceased protesters.
Comedian and an active member of the protest, Adebowale ‘Mr Marcaroni’ Adedayo, on X, shared a flyer announcing a peaceful walk to the tollgate in remembrance of those killed on October 20, 2020.
According to the flyer, buses will be available at the Oriental Hotel for those who wish to join the “peaceful walk.” The “walk” is slated for 10:00 a.m.
“3 Years now!!! We will Never Forget!!! #EndSars!!!! We will be walking peacefully to honor all those who lost their lives on 20/10/2020!!!,” Mr Macaroni said. “We also walk for all those who have lost their lives as a result of police brutality in Nigeria!!! We walk in peace!!! We will never forget!.”
Last year, youths who converged on the tollgate to commemorate the second anniversary of the massacre were arrested and brutalised by the police.
Aisha Yesufu, a member of the protest in Abuja, on X, said, “Nigerian history will one day be divided into ‘before #EndSARS’ and ‘after #EndSARS’. May after #EndSARS, the historical period of Nigeria be better beyond expectations than the before time.”
In a statement on Friday, Amnesty International berated the Nigerian government for detaining some of EndSARS protesters in jail without trial for three years.
“Three years after violent suppression of nationwide #EndSARS protests against police brutality, at least fifteen protesters arrested in 2020 are still being arbitrarily detained – the majority of them without trial – in Kirikiri Medium Correctional Centre and Ikoyi Medium Security Correctional Centre in Lagos,” the rights organisation said.
A year after the incident, a panel set up by the Lagos government confirmed a massacre at Lekki Tollgate, indicting the Nigerian Army for using excessive force on peaceful protesters while recommending disciplinary actions against soldiers who perpetrated the Lekki massacre.
A recent attempt by Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos government to secretly bury #EndSARS victims sparked outrage as Nigerians berated the state government for first denying the massacre.