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Claims soldiers killed protesters at Lekki Toll Gate not verified – US report

The United States government has said the claims End SARS protesters were killed at Lekki Toll Gate could not be verified.

In a report by the US Department of State, tagged ‘2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria,’ released on March 30, 2021, the United States said accurate information on fatalities resulting from the shooting was not available at the end of the year.

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The report reads: “On October 20, members of the security forces enforced curfew by firing shots into the air to disperse protesters who had gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos to protest abusive practices by the Nigerian Police Force’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“Accurate information on fatalities resulting from the shooting was not available at year’s end. Amnesty International reported 10 persons died during the event, but the government disputed Amnesty’s report, and no other organisation was able to verify the claim.

“The government reported two deaths connected to the event. One body from the toll gate showed signs of blunt force trauma. A second body from another location in Lagos State had bullet wounds. The government acknowledged that soldiers armed with live ammunition were present at the Lekki Toll Gate.”At year’s end the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution continued to hear testimony and investigate the shooting at Lekki Toll Gate.”

Amnesty International and CNN have amplified the claims by some of the protesters that there were fatalities and killings during the shootings by the military at the tollgate on the fateful day.

The report by the US State Department also stated reports of arbitrary and unlawful killings related to internal conflicts in the North-East and other areas.

It listed abduction by criminal groups in the Niger Delta, South-East and the North-West, often to collect ransom payments as one of the security concerns in Nigeria.

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