The United States thoroughly studied the shooting of End SARS protesters before issuing a reaction on the vicious attack.
On October 2020, soldiers opened fire on unarmed demonstrators at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city.
From about 6:40 pm, sound of gunfire rented the air as troops on foot – with vehicles moving slowly behind – marched from Sandfill Bus Stop inward the toll barrier.
Recordings captured the movement, simultaneous firing, and cries of citizens who in darkness chanted the national anthem and waving mostly miniature Nigerian flags.
But the Nigerian Army has denied that it used force that Tuesday night. The Defence Headquarters labelled videos posted on social media photoshopped.
This is despite discoveries of bullets and spent casings. Some collected have been displayed by DJ Switch whose Instagram live broadcast from the scene hit over 160,000 views.
The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has stated that images and footages showing the charge by military personnel are not fake.
Within 24 hours, America was silent amid global outrage. It was usual for a country with a strong foreign policy. The State Department reacted on October 22, two days after the incident.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the episode and called for prosecution of officers and men involved in the shooting.
“The United States strongly condemns the use of excessive force by military forces who fired on unarmed demonstrators in Lagos, causing death and injury. Those involved should be held to account in accordance with Nigerian law.
“The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are essential human rights and core democratic principles. We call on the security services to show maximum restraint and respect fundamental rights and for demonstrators to remain peaceful”, Pompeo noted.
Hours after his statement, a delegation led by Ulrich Brechbuhl, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State, met Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House in Abuja.
A source close to the US government revealed that the seeming delayed response was due to officials’ scrutiny of the situation.
“I heard that one of the reasons they waited to speak on Lekki was they wanted to “triple confirm”, said the source.
“But also remember the depth of intelligence that US has on this issue. They have means of finding out what happened. Wasn’t it GEJ who said that “America knows”.
GEJ is an acronym for former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
He made the comment after ex Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi accused then Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke of embezzling $20billion oil proceeds.
“If you steal $20billion today, America will know”, Jonathan declared.