Nigerians, mostly youths, took over the streets across the country for over two weeks, peacefully protesting against police brutality and extra-judicial killings.
The #EndSARS movement turned violent after hoodlums hijacked it to spread violence in some parts of the country, including Lagos State.
The violent situation forced the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, into declaring a 24-hour curfew on Tuesday afternoon, effective from 4pm. The government later extended the commencement time to 9pm.
In the evening, before 9pm, men dressed in camouflage of the Nigerian Army were filmed shooting at protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos.
Several videos and claims of massacre flooded social media on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Sanwo-Olu blamed “forces beyond our direct control.” In a broadcast on Wednesday, he said there was no fatality recorded during the shooting, although he later confirmed the death of someone at the hospital.
We fact-check social media claims on the shooting below:
Claim 1: Soldiers of the Nigerian Army shot at unarmed protesters
After Tuesday’s incident, the Nigerian Army was accused of deploying soldiers to open fire on unarmed protesters, an accusation the Nigerian Army has dismissed as “fake news”. In a tweet, it said no soldier was at the scene.
Several footages have shown that the army’s claim is not true. A popular Disc Jockey, DJ Switch, who was at the Lekki toll gate, streamed the shooting live on her Instagram page. Gunshots were heard and bullets were displayed by those around her. The Lagos governor has also confirmed the presence of the military, though he said he did not call for them at the time.
We have established this fact to be TRUE.
Claim 2: Video showing a soldier shooting a high-caliber mounted machine gun
A video also posted on social media, showed unknown soldiers allegedly firing at unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate with a high-caliber mounted machine gun.
“Nigeria at war with its citizens. Politicians and Government officials fighting Nigerian Youths. It have not reached this stage now. We did not ask to be killed like this now,” a Twitter user, Onna tweeted.
Checks revealed that this video was doctored to look like it was from the Lekki shooting incident. While the audio seems to correspond with the incident, the visual didn’t. Different videos confirmed that soldiers at the Lekki toll gate were seen with weapons that seemed to be AK-47s, not machine guns.
We have established that the claim that this video is from Lekki shooting is FALSE.
Claim 3: All CCTV cameras at the toll gate were removed hours before the shooting
Social media was awash with claims that the perimeter CCTV cameras at the scene were removed before the shooting started to cover up the atrocities. There were videos that showed staff of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) removing some devices.
During an interview on Arise TV on Thursday, Sanwo-Olu debunked the claims, saying, “the devices removed were not security cameras, but laser plate number scanners for vehicles. It picks the tag on cars and number plates”.
Also, the LCC management came out to clarify that the devices removed were not cameras. The company said, in compliance with the curfew, it had asked its staff to remove sensitive equipment from the premises as a “safe-keeping” move because the plaza would become unmanned.
Besides, the governor disclosed that the CCTV footage was active during the shooting. He said the footage would be made available to the Investigative Panel.
The claim that CCTV cameras were removed from the scene is FALSE.
Claim 4: Soldiers killed over 70 people in a massacre
Following Tuesday night’s shooting, many accounts claimed different death toll. Some claimed that over 70 people were shot dead at the Lekki toll gate. A certain Twitter user, Opal Tometi, claimed that 78 were killed.
After the incident, the Lagos governor said 10 patients were at the General Hospital, 11 at Reddington Hospital and 4 at Vedic Hospital; with mild to moderate levels of injuries while 2 were receiving intensive medical care.
He has confirmed only one unnamed individual dead. Sanwo-Olu said his death at the Reddington Hospital, Lekki, was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. A search of the hospitals in the area established that there was no death connected to the shooting.
The claim that over 70 people were killed by soldiers is FALSE.
Claim 5: Soldiers killed lady along with her two friends at the Lekki toll gate
In a video, a lady identified as Lucy Adu, was seen dancing at the Lekki Toll Plaza protest. Another video emerged of her lifeless body and those of two other unidentified persons. She was allegedly killed by soldiers who shot at protesters.
“She was dancing an hour before she was murdered by the Nigerian armed forces Lucy was her name #endsars – a bullet hit her in the face and ripped half her face off,” a tweet read.
The first video established that Lucy Adu indeed attended the protest at Lekki toll gate. But the undated video didn’t indicate the day she attended the protest. Various accounts supposedly from Lucy’s friend clarified that she boarded a motorcycle that ran into a stationary truck. The accident resulted in the three fatalities seen in the second video. One of the accounts said the pictures of her lifeless body were posted before 7pm on Tuesday, around the time the shooting at Lekki started.
“Her name is Lucia (Lucy). And according to a handle on Instagram that posted about her death a day ago, while it is tragic, it was not a result of the shooting at the toll gate. It was from a motorcycle accident on her way home from protesting,” Ik Osakioduwa tweeted.
“The late Lucy alleged to be shot at #Lekki was involved in an accident according to a lady who claims to be her roommate. pics (pictures) of the accident were posted b4 (before) 7pm yesterday. May her soul rest in peace,” one Tony Nta also tweeted.
The claim that she was shot by soldiers is established as FALSE.
Claim 6: Rumoured death of Corps Member
A viral photo on social media showed that a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was shot in the stomach during a shootout on Lagos Mainland.
The young man in the picture soon debunked the rumour, saying the picture was taken on a movie set earlier in the year.
Thus, the claim of his death has been established to be FALSE.
Claim 7: Another man rumoured dead
Steve Abbey was said to have died while the shooting at the Lekki protest ground was being streamed live on Instagram. His last words were reported as “Peace and Unity”
Abbey has since taken to his Twitter handle to debunk the rumour. He stated he is not the guy on the Instagram Live video.
“This is not the guy on the IG live. This guy is me and you need to take this down immediately. What will you benefit for chasing clout at this trying time? Why pass information. I am alive and well. TAKE THIS DOWN!!” He tweeted.
The claim that Steve Abbey died at the protest ground is FALSE.
Claim 8: Graphic Designer killed by stray bullet hours after “Nigeria will not end me” tweet
A gory picture circulated on Twitter, showing the lifeless picture of a Graphic Designer, Oke Obi-Enadhuze. He was wrapped in a Nigerian flag. He died just hours tweeting, “Nigeria will not end me” on his Twitter page. It was claimed that he was killed by a stray bullet.
Oke’s brother, Daniel Obi-Enadhuze, has since come out to debunk the claim that his brother was shot dead by a stray bullet. He said Oke was stabbed on the neck by hoodlums who attacked their residence inside the Makinde Police Barracks, Mafoluku Oshodi, Lagos. Daniel noted that his brother was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“Good day, My name is Obi-Enadhuze Daniel younger brother of the now deceased Okechukwu Obi-Enadhuze @O_Okee . I, my brother and mother lived at makinde police barracks, mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State. Today at about 11 o’clock in the morning,” he tweeted.
Thus, the claim that he was shot by a stray bullet is FALSE
Claim 9: Rumoured death of Iraoya Godwin
In a tweet, popular rapper, MI Abaga, tweeted that Godwin died that of gunshots wounds to his stomach during the protest on the mainland.
“Iraoya Godwin. Pls RT and add full names of any victims of anyone you know! Let’s keep their memory alive by saying their names!!!” He tweeted.
A video was posted showing Godwin safe and very much alive at his residence. He confirmed that he was alive.
Therefore, the claim that Iraoya Godwin was killed is FALSE.
Claim 10: Video showing a teenage boy with gaping chest wounds shot by soldiers in Lekki
A linkedin user identified as Chidi Uzoshi shared a gory video of a young man with a gaping chest wound, claiming that he was wounded by Nigerian security agents. “Look at an abominable act of the Nigeria security forces. end sars end bad governance!!!!” Uzoshi’s caption read.
Checks revealed that the video came to being in July 2018. Identified as a 16-year-old, he was said to have arrived stable to a hospital’s emergency department with a gunshot wound to the thorax.
“This 16 year old arrived stable to the emergency department with a gunshot wound to the thorax.
“They took him to the OR and his heart stopped when the anaestesia started. The team decided to perform an emergency left thoracotomy,” a 2018 tweet by Medical Videos read.
Thus, it is FALSE that Nigerian security forces were responsible for the boy’s condition.
Claim 11: Nollywood Actress, Eniola Badmus rumoured shot at the Lekki toll gate shooting
In the heat of the shooting incident at Lekki toll gate on Tuesday, Eniola Badmus, was reported shot in the stomach. The rumour went viral on social media.
“Nollywood actress #EniolaBadmus fighting for her life being shot at,” on Twitter user, Opekitan tweeted.
The actress dismissed the claim in a Twitter video on Wednesday morning, stating that she was hale and hearty.
Eniola Badmus put out a statement through her twitter handle disclaming the rumours.
“Against all speculations about me being shot or dead at the unspeakable incident that happened at the toll gate few hours ago, I would like to inform you guys that I Eniola Badmus is hale and hearty,” she tweeted.
The claim that Eniola Badmus was shot has been established to be FALSE.
Claim 12: EKEDC was instructed to turn off power at the Lekki toll plaza
Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) supplies electricity to the Lekki toll gate and was culpable for switching off power supply before the shooting commenced on Tuesday.
Although, power was indeed taken off before the start of the shooting, it’s not true that EKEDC was in charge of supplying power to Lekki toll gate. As confirmed by the management of the LCC, power supply to the plaza is independently generated through an Independent Power Provider (IPP). EKEDC has issued a statement to dismiss the claim.
Therefore, the claim that EKEDC was instructed to turn off power is FALSE.