In a blind panic, he called his phone, but there was no answer. She immediately greeted a passing motorcycle taxi, known locally as Okada, and rushed to the scene.
But nothing could have prepared her for the sad scenes she witnessed when she got there, she said.
“While I was looking for my son… I saw people running and someone was in the gutter with an iron bar in his eye. The man was already dead,” she recalled.
We have also hidden the name of his son on his request.
“We got there at about 5 or 6,” she said in her first sit-down interview. “We saw a lot of people. There was a child lying dead holding the Nigerian flag, with a bullet wound on one side of his body.
“He was a little boy and there were a lot of people,” she told Granthshala from a makeshift wooden structure where she sells cold drinks for a living.
‘He died in my arms’
As Adesola surveyed the scenes of chaos and stepped over the hastily thrown items of panicked demonstrators, he saw an acquaintance lying on the ground covered in blood, wearing only one shoe.
“When I saw my son, I screamed and grabbed him… The blood was oozing out, he had a bullet wound on his chest. His clothes were torn and the bullet came out of his back,” she cried He narrated the painful moment.
Despite his injuries, he found that his son was still alive.
She said, “I saw other people carrying their relatives, so I tried to take him as he was still breathing at that time. I called for help and people helped me to put him in a vehicle. came to help.”
“He was watching us while we were carrying him. He was screaming ‘Ah, ahh’ in pain.”
They tried their best to revive him in the car, but he didn’t, she told Granthshala.
“He died in my arms,” Adesola said. “I was screaming and I couldn’t keep calm.”
Her son was buried almost immediately according to Muslim burial rituals.
He was 32 years old and left behind two children aged 14 and nine, who had also lost their mother a few years earlier to unknown circumstances.
no official death
Adesola says she is thankful that she was able to find her son’s body. Others were not so lucky.
Witnesses told Granthshala that an ambulance was blocked by Nigerian authorities from entering.
Witnesses told Granthshala they saw the military removing several bodies from the scene.
Granthshala’s investigation put together what happened when the Nigerian military and later police opened fire on civilians as they protested police brutality.
It used time stamps, video data and geolocation to analyze hours of videos shot by the protesters – tracking army movements at the Lekki toll gate, where the protests had been taking place for nearly two weeks.
The Nigerian military’s account of what happened has changed over time.
Immediately after the shooting, the military denied any involvement, describing reports of the incident as “fake news”, before retreating and stating that soldiers were present but fired their weapons in the air and evacuated. used.
T said goons were mixed in the crowd of protesters.
On 14 November, during the Inquisition of the shooting, Army representative Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo (who has since been promoted to the rank of Major General) admitted that soldiers at the scene had rounds of arms, but denies this. Be that someone had been shot.
“There is no way officers and men will kill their brothers and sisters. I repeat no way. We have people who constantly want to drive a nail between us and the citizens of Nigeria…,” he said at the time. said.
Protesters and eyewitnesses posted several videos showing shells of bullets they say were recovered from the scene.
The police have denied shooting anyone at the time of the incident.
Granthshala has made renewed efforts to obtain comments for this latest report from the Nigerian Armed Forces, police and the federal government, but has received no response.
a protest movement silent
Angry young Nigerians took to the streets in largely peaceful protests, blocking major roads in cities in Africa’s most populous country. They marched in thousands, raising slogans against police brutality and violence.
Their initial demand was for a notorious police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, to be shut down, but the marches protested for police reform and an end to poor governance in the oil-rich country. turned into demonstrations.
During the protest, participants built tents and DJ booths at various sites across the country and held a “festival of lights” along with multi-faith prayer sessions to honor the victims of police brutality held at the now infamous Lekki toll gate organized. .
Adesola questioned why the demonstrators were dispersed that night with such brutal force.
“Even if the government wanted to chase them, they shouldn’t have fired. They couldn’t tell them to stop and shoot. Everyone could find their way out.”
Adesola says his son attended the protests as “a concerned Nigerian” and in what would be his last phone call, he described a scene of peace where people were protesting peacefully and went to camp overnight. Came ready.
“All his companions were going there and when he came back from work that day, he said that he was going with his friends. When he reached there, he called me and said that there were a lot of people there. Some were sleeping there. With their mattresses and had brought their LPG. If the soldiers had not come, things would have been fine without any problem,” she said.
It’s a year after the Lekki toll gate shooting, and no one has claimed responsibility, and no one has been held responsible for what happened that night.
Human Rights Watch released a brief report on Tuesday titled “Nigeria: A Year On, No Justice for the #AndSARS Crackdown” saying: “The prospects for accountability remain inconclusive and bleak. Nigerian authorities need to take concrete and decisive steps to ensure that It should be raised that those trapped in the abusive language against the protesters are held accountable.”
“The Nigerian authorities must take effective steps toward accountability by showing victims that their loss, pain and suffering are not in vain,” said Aneti Evange, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“Anything less will vitiate mistrust of the government and reinforce the notion that citizens’ lives don’t matter.”
Many Nigerians believe that the issues that led to the protests 12 months ago still persist – and those who were there on that fateful night are still demanding justice.
DJ Switch, a local musician whose real name is Obianju Katherine Udeh, was at the protest and live-streamed it on his Instagram page in the evening.
A year later she remembers how she thought they were all going to die. “I thought it was the end for all of us. You know, I mean when you sing the national anthem and wave your flag, your Nigerian flag, and the shooting doesn’t stop, the only one on your mind The idea is left,” she said.
“Justice is waiting to happen, who is going to do it? Youth are asking for accountability every day, who is ready to be responsible – to take responsibility,” she said.
Now Adesola is picking up the pieces after the death of her eldest son.
Asked what she would say if she could speak directly to the Nigerian government, she said: “I will tell them what I am telling you.
“I can’t lie about my child’s death. I’ll show them his grave.”
Credit : www.cnn.com