Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has blamed forces beyond his control for the extrajudicial killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate area on the night of Tuesday by officers of the Nigerian Army.
At least 49 persons nationwide have been killed and scores of others sustained injuries during the tragic incident, a situation which has thrown the nation into mourning.
“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,” the governor announced hours on Wednesday.
“I’ve just concluded visits to hospitals with victims of this unfortunate shooting incident at Lekki,” he added.
“It has taken me this long to make a statement because I have to prioritize the welfare of the victims of this very sad incident.”
He said there were 10 patients at the state general hospital, 11 at Reddington hospital, and four at Vedic hospital, “with mild to moderate levels of injuries while two are receiving intensive medical care”. The governor did not acknowledge the number of fatalities recorded during the repeated firing by security operatives.
“Three patients have been discharged and we will continue to monitor and ensure all patients get the best care,” he assured.
“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.”
He concluded that he would give a broadcast later in the morning.
Nigerians on Twitter quickly responded to the press statement, demanding answers and asking which official gave the orders to turn off the lights at the tollgate and shoot protesters.
“Did you just write unfortunate?” one Twitter user asked. “Unfortunate is when you hit your leg on your way to the protests, unfortunate is when you get a car accident on your way, unfortunate is when you can’t get a ride back home or lose your phone during the protest. This! This is not unfortunate.”
Another wrote, “How do you recover bodies thrown into the waters back to their families. If you say it never exists, videos will emerge. It was a war you declared when you called for support. Your intel was not active enough, you changed your words from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m, shooting start[ed] 7 p.m, get those body [sic]!”