GOVERNOR Babajide Sanwoolu has reacted to last night’s shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos by visiting some of the survivors of the massacre in hospital this morning to express his sympathy with them.
Last night, the Nigerian Army opened fire on #EndSars protesters at the toll gate who had defied a curfew order issued by the governor. Over the last two weeks, the demonstrators have been holding a peaceful protest demanding an end to police brutality and the dissolution of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit.
Yesterday morning, however, the nationwide protests descended into violence as government-sponsored thugs attacked protesters. In response, hoodlums attacked police stations and officers of the force, sending the whole nation up in flames, to which Governor Sanwoolu responded with a curfew due to start at 4pm.
However, the protesters refused to leave their Lekki Toll Gate centre, arguing that the principle of a curfew stipulates that you remain where you are once it comes into effect. Clearly irked by the refusal of the youths to budge, government officials decided to act and started off by removing the CCTV cameras at the toll gate, so their actions would not be recorded.
Then, under the cover of darkness the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, based in Lagos and commanded by Major General Godwin Umelo, was unleashed on the protesters. It is not yet clear what the total death toll is but it is feared that the number would run into dozens, while hundreds are believed to have been injured.
This morning, Governor Sanwoolu visited the hospitals where victims were being treated, pointing out that there are currently 10 patients at the General Hospital at Reddington and four at Vedic, with mild to moderate levels of injuries. He explained that two of the victims were receiving intensive medical care.
Governor Sanwoolu said: “This is the toughest night of our lives as forces beyond our direct control have moved to make dark notes in our history but we will face it and come out stronger. I’ve just concluded visits to hospitals with victims of this unfortunate shooting incident at Lekki .
“It has taken me this long to make a statement because I have to prioritise the welfare of the victims of this very sad incident. Three patients have been discharged and we will continue to monitor and ensure all patients get the best care.
“As the governor of our state, I recognise the buck stops at my table and I will work with the federal government to get to the root of this unfortunate incident and stabilise all security operations to protect the lives of our residents.”