Sanwo-Olu says Buhari unreachable 40 hours after attack on peaceful protesters in Lagos

President Buhari has failed to address the country regarding the ugly incident.

Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (left), says two attempts to reach President Muhammadu Buhari (right) directly have failed [Twitter/@NigeriaGov]

Eyewitnesses reported on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 how soldiers of the Nigerian Army fired live ammunition at them at the Lekki-Epe toll gate in Lagos.

The eyewitnesses were protesters who had shut down the lucrative toll gate for over one week as part of nationwide demonstrations against police brutality, demonstrations that have lasted over two weeks.

An escalation of violence, mostly fueled by thugs, in the previous days had led Sanwo-Olu to declare a 24-hour statewide curfew on Tuesday afternoon, initially with only a four-hour notice that was later extended with an additional five hours.

A small dispatch of soldiers confronted the protesters around 7 pm just before shooting commenced, shocking Nigerians and the international community.

Eyewitnesses reported that at least seven people died during Tuesday night's attack, but Sanwo-Olu said on Wednesday, October 21 his government could not verify a single death.

The Nigerian Army has also bizarrely denied involvement in the shooting without offering up additional information other than branding reports as "Fake News" on social media.

President Buhari has failed to address the country regarding the ugly incident, with little communication from the presidency this week.

Sanwo-Olu said during an interview with Arise News on Thursday, October 22 that two different attempts to reach Buhari on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

He said the president had not resumed at his office when he made his first attempt, and that he was busy presiding over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on his second attempt.

However, the governor noted that the president had directed the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, to reach out to him over the incident. He didn't reveal what was discussed with the CDS.

Sanwo-Olu's government has been largely blamed for Tuesday's incident especially because of his badly-managed curfew, and allegations that he ordered the removal of CCTV cameras from the toll gate hours before the shooting.

The governor said during Wednesday's interview that the CCTV cameras were not removed.

According to him, what was removed, as shown in viral pictures online, was laser cameras for car tags.

"Nobody can touch the security camera," he said.

He also denied that he ordered the shutting down of the LED screens of the advertising billboards that illuminated the area.

"I've never spoken to the owner of that business. That was a decision a corporate organisation took," he noted.

The governor said the security camera footage from the scene of Tuesday night's incident will be used in the investigation of what transpired.

A five-member investigative committee will be constituted next week, the governor said.

Sanwo-Olu appealed to Lagosians for calm to return to the state after Tuesday night's incident triggered an escalation of violence with the looting and burning of several private and public buildings, including one belonging to the governor's mother.

He said all relevant stakeholders must fashion out how to move forward with a peaceful resolution that doesn't harm the state's development.

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