Writen by Olumide Iluyomade
“My name is Olumide Iluyomade and I am here on ground reporting to you from Lekki. I have no political, ethnic or religious motive – my only interest and concern is for Nigeria. I am writing this because this nation is at a dangerous and critical junction and we must now lend our voice to common sense and reason so that peace may prevail. There is a lot of misinformation, rumours and untruth flying around and it is extremely dangerous! A lot of people are complicit in this – knowingly or unknowingly adding fuel to the fire.
WhatsApp has become a powerful tool of manipulation and a source of mind control used to spread falsehood and fear! We need to be very careful. We all need to calm down and allow logic and verifiable facts come to bear. In my own little way, I want to provide useful information for many who may be fearful or in a state of confusion or those who may be abroad – I am writing this to provide reliable and factual information of what I have seen, verified and confirmed. I have been very deliberate and slow to speak because there was a lot of emotion, confusion and no clear facts until now. I am neither interested in the politics, nor do I have any agenda beyond providing facts. I do NOT have ALL the facts yet however, the simple facts that I have been able to gather are as follows:
1) Yesterday evening, Oct. 20, a sizable number of #EndSARS protesters remained on location at the Lekki toll gate in peaceful protest. For all intents and purposes, the protests remained peaceful and without rancour.
2) Governor Sanwo-Olu had made an announcement yesterday that the State Government had ordered a curfew that was slated to begin at 4:00pm. Unfortunately, this announcement was not made until sometime around 12:00 noon.
3) At about 8.00pm, a group of military personnel came to cordon off the protesters. They demanded that the protesters clear off from the street. Protesters refused and all sat down in unity. Shots were fired in the air and what seemed like fireworks was also used. Protesters banded together and stayed put! According to reports, the lights and CCTV installation suddenly went off.
It was now dark and the soldiers were now at some distance from where the protesters sat. Quite suddenly, they open fire in a coordinated burst all at once! Many protesters were injured and one person has been confirmed dead!
4) What happened at the Lekki toll gate, where the peaceful protesters has gathered, is quite a different story and has no bearing on events that happened in other parts of Lagos! In other parts of Lagos, thugs and hoodlums hijacked the initiative and started using it as an avenue to inflict damage, loot, burn assets and extort public. Many videos of people shot were of events in other parts of Lagos, not Lekki.
5) Further upstream along the Lekki corridor, a lot of thugs and hoodlums also came out with nothing but malevolent intentions! Just today alone, they have vandalized, smashed and committed arson along the Lekki corridor, starting from the wanton destructions and lootings on Admiralty road, Lekki phase 1. Hoodlums and looters raided and emptied out SPARS, Circle mall and Ikota Shopping complex! Many other shops in between were also looted and smashed up!
6) The Nigerian Army came out officially today to vehemently deny any involvement with the Lekki toll gate shooting. The Nigerian Army spokesman insists that there was no such order or official instruction given from HQ. Nigeria army also affirmed that it has deployed soldiers to patrol, provide security and engage protesters with strict instruction to de-escalate and defuse the tense situation.
7) Lagos State governor, Sanwo-Olu, declared that he had no hand in the massacre! He insisted that he had given no such order and that the actions were by forces “Outside of his control”. Gov. Sanwo-Olu thereafter paid a visit to injured victims where he claimed, quite erroneously, that none had died. I can confirm that one person had died from the shootings at Lekki. The death toll above does not include many more victims who were gunned down or killed in other incidences away from the Lekki toll gate!
8) There were several attempts by hoodlums and thugs to enter VGC and inflict more damage to what they perceive to be the enclave of the “rich”.
Attempts were repelled by VGC security and many were injured. Military patrol was called in whereupon the hoodlums melted away!
9) According to conversation gleaned from my interaction with the Army general who happens to be an old friend and is currently in charge of the Lekki patrol, he estimated the cost of damage that had been inflicted by Hoodlums looting and vandalizing properties and assets to be “in excess of N2 billion”. Even as we spoke, he was called to attend to the needs of a burning Zenith bank!
10) Bola Ahmed Tinubu does not own Oriental Hotel. It is false information. The hotel is owned by an affluent Chinese business family. Hotel is also for sale.
11) Bola Ahmed Tinubu has vested interest in LCC (the toll collecting company), but does not own it.
12) Bola Ahmed Tinubu does own a private jet with registration VP-CBT. The plane in question is a Dassault Falcon 900DX, not a Bombardier Global Express as earlier reported. The plane is registered to Cayman Islands and owned by a shell company of Tinubu called Empire Aviation Group.
13) A video showing that Buhari has sneaked to America is making rounds on WhatsApp. It is false information. PMB is in Abuja. I can not tell you however, why he has been unable to address the nation. That is anyone’s guess.
14) The following have been set ablaze or damaged in Lagos:
1. Nigeria Port Authority Lagos – set ablaze
2. Orile Police Post, Lagos – set ablaze
3. Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos – totally destroyed
4. BRT Terminal, Oyingbo – New Buses set on fire
5. Television Continental, Ketu, Lagos – set ablaze
6. VIO, FRSC Office, Ojodu – FRSC branded cars, generators set ablaze.
7. BRT Terminal, Ojodu, Lagos – buses set ablaze.
8. BRT Bus at Berger – set ablaze
9. Lagos Television, Agidingbi, Ikeja – shut down
10. Recreational Center, Oregun, Lagos – set on fire.
11. Oba’s Palace, Lagos – burnt to ashes. His scepter of authority seized.
12. Sanwo Olu Mother’s House, Surulere, Lagos – set ablaze
13 Kings college on fire
14. Igbosere High Court – vandalized and looted
15. Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island Lagos damaged with fire
16. GTBank Branches burnt down
17. AccessBank Branches burnt down
18. Channels Television shut down
19. Ajeromi Local Govt Secretariat
20. Lagos-Island Local Govt destroyed
21. Lagos-Island East LCDA Secretariat set on fire
22. Lagos Mainland Local Govt Secretariat Destroyed
23. Ibeju Lekki LCDA Secretariat destroyed
24. Sanwoolu’s Uncle’s house on Lagos Island.
25. Ejigbo LCDA burn.
26. Many local council SECRETARIATS burn down now. in Lagos state.
27. Circle Mall at Jakande, Lekki – totally looted!
28. Ikota Shopping complex – many shops looted!
29. SPARS complex at Elegushi – totally looted!
15) The following is my opinion, deduced after careful study, analysis and deliberation:
a) The Lekki Toll shooting was most likely carried out by rogue elements of the Army or perhaps ones dressed in Army fatigue. Quite unfortunately, we might be looking at another incident of “unknown soldiers”, they remain unknown and at large! It is harrowing that no one can give a definite answer to the questions being asked – who ordered it?
b) The “Unknown soldiers” were clandestine, stood aloof, disabled security surveillance and lights, opened fire in unison and simply disappeared! It was not anything like the engagements we have seen with other Army units operating in Lagos. It reeks of mischief! We hope that time and effort will reveal those behind it and prosecute them!
c) There is the preponderance of a fifth column and several rogue elements within the situation in Lagos. Many people have diabolical intent and have found the perfect opportunity to unleash it. There are hungry and angry hoodlums and thugs who vandalize, loot, destroy and commit arson for no reason! There are the political pundits who see it as an opportunity for political gain. There are the ethnic bigots and separatists who see this as an opportunity to cause further acrimony and set the polity on fire so that there can be a better case for the fragmentation of the nation. There are the economic hackers who just quite simply see it as an opportunity to loot and self-aggrandize. There are those overcome with hate and those who just want a regime change – many of these ones are certainly not adverse to devious tactics just to see things go their way!
d) Neither Tinubu nor Sanwo-Olu have the authority to order an Army strike. The dastardly act of those soldiers could never have been something that occurred because of an “order” from the governor or Tinubu. Nigerian Army has a federal chain of command.
e) Lagos state has lost tens of billions in assets and economic loss because the federal government refused to do the needful and failed to handle the protest properly with affirmative actions.
f) The President of the Federation, Muhammadu Buhari, has been especially inept and indolent in handling this crisis. He has demonstrated no leadership whatsoever, even though the crisis in question was as a consequence of an agency directly under him! His conspicuous absence and unwillingness to confront and address issues directly, has had the effect of causing issues to fester and metastasize into national security threats! Quite honestly, in my opinion, PMB is liable and criminally negligent in the handling of his duties!
I appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to remain calm and desist from actions that further exacerbate the situation. More and more, information is being revealed and in due time, all answers shall be made available. We must resist the temptation is react on impulse and must not allow things to degenerate to the point where anarchy and chaos rules over logic. I must also appeal to those on the WhatsApp media to desist from scaremongering and spreading misinformation! Every time we do this (share and spread falsehood and misinformation), we are guilty of causing more chaos, confusion and fear! Most of the time, I have found that the reports and news is often exaggerated and far more dramatic than is the case in reality. Do not allow yourselves to be manipulated and used as tools and fodder in someone else’s agenda.
My three cents.