On the 20th of October, as the rest of the world spoke in support of young Nigerians protesting against police brutalities, the military turned its guns against unarmed protesters art the Lekki toll gate who were demanding an end to being hunted like wild animals by the police they pay to protect them using the hashtag #EndSARS. The shooting, caught on camera, shocked the world to its bones. More shocking is perhaps the discovery that such savagery could be meted out to protesters whose only weapons were their phones and the Nigerian Flag. They had been praised for their peaceful disposition and for exceptionally organizing themselves but the army went there, cocked their rifles and killed them. According to Amnesty International, at least 12 persons were killed that night.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, in an attempt to dismiss the seriousness of the incident during a broadcast the next day, said there were no fatalities as against what thousands of Nigerians watched in an Instagram live video where a plier was used to remove a bullet from the body of a protester who later passed on. Not done with assaulting our senses, the governor in an attempt to extricate himself from any blame said forces beyond him ordered the shooting. He would later admit that two persons died but at the hospitals and not at the toll gate. The army itself, facing increasing scrutiny over its activities, issued series of denials with claims that no soldier was at the toll gate at the night of the shooting. It would later backtrack and said they were invited by Sanwo-Olu to enforce the 24 hours curfew but didn’t fire any shots. So who fired the shots?

Between Sanwo-Olu and the army, who is lying? Both of them, if you ask me. Sanwo is lying by trying to play down the number of casualties while the army is hoping we believe it did not fire the shots that killed the protesters while it was the only one among the two groups who was carrying rifles. The statement by the 81 division of the army is self-indicting. In lexical semantics, the army would be said to have shot itself on the legs. If you are out on the streets to enforce a curfew, and your men from Bonny camp were seen at the Lekki Toll Gate but didn’t fire shots, then who did? If there were other people with guns in the area who fired the shots, what did your men do? Was there an official report? Was anyone arrested?

There are clear reasons why the government has been going back and forth with its denial and acceptance that the massacre happened. The Chinese government laboured without success for years to make people believe the Tiananmen Square did not happen. Buhari had in his now infamous address, failed to say anything about the Lekki incident in a desperate bid to downplay its seriousness. But in a subsequent statement two days after, his senior special adviser on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said the president would speak on the matter after investigations are concluded. It shows that the government is under intense pressure to plead guilty to a crime it wholeheartedly committed.

Lekki, despite all its flooding, is where most foreign diplomats, journalists and other foreign workers hustling in Lagos reside. It makes much sense that the US consulate is right there in Ikoyi while Chevron and ExxonMobil, two US multinationals are not far away from the scene of that crime. American companies operating abroad are treated with care, with CIA agents as part of their staff strength. They know something, that is why President Buhari gave his incoherent address a few hours after US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo asked the federal government to stop killing protesters. Former Democratic Presidential candidate, also a former secretary of state, Hilary Clinton had tweeted, asking the government to stop killing protesters. Buhari who initially maintained a deafening silence despite calls by other foreign governments to stop the killing of protesters hustled through his speech immediately America, which the Buhari administration has been labouring to be in its good books spoke.

But why Lekki? Why were the protesters blocking Sanwo-Olu’s ears in Alausa not shot at too? Why did the governor leave those occupying Ikeja to go and address the ones blocking the toll gate? It is all economics and money for the godfather and his now diminishing political industry. The toll gate is said to be generating 12 million naira daily and for less than two weeks that the toll gate was occupied, it was said to have lost 234 million naira. The refusal of the protesters to disperse from the toll gate necessitated the declaration of a 24 hours curfew. The money lost at the toll was why the toll had to be cleared of protesters at all costs. This was why Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the godfather of Lagos whose firm, Alpa-Beta collects the revenue at the toll gate issued a statement, saying that federal government might be pushed to use force to disperse the protesters. The witch cried at night and protesters were killed the next day.

It was for this same reason that the Lekki toll gate management removed the infrared CCTV cameras that can capture images in the dark. It is the same reason that Seyi Tinubu, the godfather’s son’s company, Loatsad put off the billboard lights, forcing the toll gate and its surrounding to be engulfed in darkness. It is a carefully planned and premeditated killing to preserve the economic interest of those in power and break the bone of the protest. It was a win-win for the Lagos political industry and a win for the Abuja cabal who wanted everyone to smile while they impoverish them with archaic economic policies.

One thing they didn’t envisage was the outcome of their folly. They have tried different methods of damage control to get people to forget the Lekki crime. They quickly deployed urchins online who tried to drag ethnicity into the mix. Once that failed, they went to option two of attacking the veracity of facts established over the incident. But the more they try, the more damaging facts emerge.

The rulers of this failed state and the continent have gotten the memo that the end to their reign full of ruination and terror is neigh. The several uprising by young people across Africa is a testament to that fact. They’re only on the last lap of the race they began sixty years ago and they know it.