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#EndSARSMemorial: Pro-government Protesters Demonstrate In Abuja As Government Describes Oct. 20 ‘Phantom Massacre’

As Nigerians mourn and relive traumas imposed from Lekki Toll Gate Massacre, the Nigerian Government describes it as a hoax.

Nigerian youths who trooped out on Wednesday, Oct. 20, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital to mark the one year anniversary of the military shooting at the Lekki Toll Gate Plaza during the #EndSARS protest, were countered by another set of protesters who were supporting the government.

Banners reading “Lekki shooting was a Hoax. Nobody Died!! One year after, where are the bodies?” were on display as pro-government protesters  gathered at the Unity Fountain, Abuja.

Speaking to HumAngle, one of the protesters, Abubakar Ibrahim Mutazu, claimed that the Lekki tollgate massacre was a lie. “From our investigation nobody died, even on the 21st after the Lekki incident happened, the Lagos State Governor addressed the public and confirmed that there were no casualties.”

A week after the massacre, the Lagos State Governor in an interview with Arise TV confirmed that there were two deaths from the Lekki shootings carried out by the Nigerian army. Mutazu further claimed that the entire #EndSARS movement was an agenda to paint the government black and a rebellion against the state.

“I was also worried when the police brutality videos were being circulated, a lot of people have complained about the human rights abuse by SARS and I also joined the protest to demand the government a reformation of SARS and the Nigerian Police Force,” he said.

“But when we critically analysed the situation we understood that it has taken another political dimension. That is why we withdrew and now we are countering.” Mutazu commended the Nigerian government for ending the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit and accommodating the five demands by the EndSARS protesters last year.

However, one of  the pro-government protesters who identified himself as Uche, told HumAngle  he was called from the roadside to join the protest after a promise of a token.

Meanwhile, Lai Mohammed, Nigerian Minister of Culture and Information also described the event at the Lekki tollgate as a “Phantom massacre.” However, in a story carried out by HumAngle, victims’ families and friends recounted their ordeal after the shooting that happened at lekki tollgate on Oct. 20.

The Minister, in a press conference held in Abuja on Wednesday, Oct. 20 said the military did not shoot at protesters, and that the only shooting “was in the social media, hence, there were neither bodies nor blood.”

“Today marks the first anniversary of the phantom massacre at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, which was the culmination of an otherwise peaceful protest that was later hijacked by hoodlums,” the minister said.


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Zubaida Baba Ibrahim

Zubaida Baba Ibrahim is a journalist and a creative writer. Her works have been featured on Daily Trust, Premium Times and Guardian. She also has experience in broadcast journalism and is a graduate of Mass Communication from Baze University, Abuja. She tweets through @zvbaida

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