On Tuesday, 20 October 2020, an unforgettable day in Lagos, peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate, a key rallying point for peaceful demonstrations, witnessed the brutal massacre of innocent youths by officers of the Nigerian Army, injuring and killing several people.
What started out as a peaceful protest for a better Nigeria, and better governance, turned into bloody and unforgettable unrest.
DJ Switch who was among the peaceful protesters, was present when soldiers opened fire and streamed the scene live on her Instagram, has now shared her experience.
In the video she posted on her official Instagram page, the Disc Jockey urged Nigerian leaders not to insult the intelligence of Nigerians and their families by downplaying the incident. She and other survivors took the victims’ bodies to the soldiers who took them away, something she wished they never did.
To our leaders, please I urge you not to insult the intelligence of Nigerians and their families. Something I think about now in hindsight is, I wish we had not done it, but we carried the dead bodies and dropped it at the feet of the soldiers so that they could see what they did to us. When I asked their unit commander, ‘Why are you killing us?’ I wish we had not done that because they ended up throwing the dead bodies in their vans. This happened till the next morning
Detailing her experience before and during the shooting, she said:
Yes, there were soldiers there. Another thing people are not talking about is that the Police were also there. The SARS people we are talking about also came about 45 minutes after the soldiers left. We were tear-gassed; the tear gas felt like Cotonou pepper mixed with acid.
We would run and come back and the only thing we fought with was our flags. We would sit on the floor; raise our hands up singing the national anthem. That was all we had. They put off the lights, even if there was no power supply on a good day, in that axis, there is always light at the Toll Gate. It was pitch-black.
…A boy jumped on me and kept shouting, ‘cover her, cover her.’ I did not even understand why he did that. They shot that boy while he was on my back.
In the video, she showed some of the bullets the protester picked up as proof.
While the soldiers were picking their shells, we were running around picking their shells too because we wanted proof.
The military, they were there on Nigerian soil, killing Nigerian citizens. The police and SARS people came doing the same thing. Aiming and shooting; aiming, they were pointing the guns at us and shooting live bullets. Who takes live bullets to a protest? Who does that?
She added that claims of 78 people dying during the shooting are totally false; however, she said she counted about 15 dead people.
I also want to appeal to the people opening fake accounts in my name; please it is already hard as it is. People risked their lives to get me out of the place I call my home. Please, stop saying things you do not know. I understand things are hard and difficult. In this era of social media, you want to get followership that can help you make some money; I understand but at least copy the truth and put it out. That is all I am asking.
Please, I never said 78 people died, I do not know that. I do know that as at the time I was doing the Live video, seven people had died. When my battery died we had counted about 15 people. I don’t know if it was more than that because we had a lot of people that were hit by stray bullets. 78 people? I do not know where you got that information from.
She said she will still continue with the peaceful protest.
We must continue to move because if we stop, it might take the next 60 years before we talk about this again. We must continue but we must continue peacefully.
I condemn any sort of violence. I condemn the burning of buses and the source of people’s livelihood. I know we are angry but the most powerful weapon we have is peace. Let us continue, I cannot wait to come back because I will definitely be back on the street peacefully.
— Dj Switch (@dj_switchaholic) October 23, 2020