- At 6:47 p.m., the moment when CNN has video of the army appearing to fire directly at protesters, the surveillance camera pans away from the area.
(CNN) It was supposed to be the key piece of evidence. But when it came, the Lagos State government’s security camera footage of the Lekki toll gate shooting did not capture everything.
The footage from the security camera overlooking the toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria was played during Saturday’s session of an eight-person judicial panel set up to investigate police brutality and the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad — the primary focus of thousands-strong protests in the city that lasted for almost two weeks in October.
The panel is also charged by the Lagos State government with probing the shooting of protesters at the Lekki toll gate on the evening of October 20 and into the early hours of October 21.
CNN obtained a copy of the CCTV footage ahead of the panel’s sitting on Saturday and matched it up to verified footage published as part of an investigation last week into the events at the toll gate.
At 6:47 p.m., the moment when CNN has video of the army appearing to fire directly at protesters, the surveillance camera pans away from the area.
The Lekki Concession Company (LCC), the firm that operates the toll gate in a public-private partnership, says its staff were sent home before an evening curfew, imposed by the State’s Governor, came into effect.
The surveillance camera pans left and tilts up before reframing and struggling for focus. It is unclear if the camera pans away deliberately or whether the pan away is a poor choice by the CCTV operator.
The LCC had previously testified at the panel on November 3 that the recording stopped at around 8 p.m. because it was tampered with.
The surveillance footage once again raises questions about the investigation into what happened at the Lekki toll gate protest — and why surveillance video from the evening does not provide a more complete picture.
In the aftermath of CNN’s investigation, the United States and the United Kingdom have called on Nigeria to ensure that its investigation is free and fair.
On Monday, the UK parliament debated a petition seeking to sanction the Nigerian government and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) over alleged human rights abuses.
The foreign office also released a statement saying: “The Foreign Secretary has been clear that the Nigerian government must urgently investigate reports of brutality at the hands of the security forces and hold those responsible to account.
“It is important that the police in Nigeria respect human rights. We have been working with Nigeria to support reforms to ensure this happens.”
The police said it would not comment until after the judicial inquiry. However, in a tweet in early November, it denied shooting at protesters.
“…our police officers never resorted to use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters as alleged in the report.”
Since the shooting, which brought an end to the protest movement in Africa’s most populous country, the army has made many shifting statements about how it engaged with the peaceful demonstrators.