Lekki tollgate protest ground has been plunged into darkness after sporadic gunshots were fired at unarmed by security agents.
The gunshots were heard about two hours before the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government begins at 9 pm.
The curfew was scheduled to start at 4 pm but was shifted after the governor was criticised for the short notice given.
“People are dead and dying,” Feyikemi Abudu, one of the notable young Nigerians mobilising support for the protesters tweeted on Tuesday evening.
“They were sitting down. Peacefully. Curfew is not reason enough for murder. They have blood on their hands. Nobody protected protesters from day 1. Nobody. And now they are doing the exact thing people are protesting! It is complete and utter evil.”
Videos shared on Twitter several minutes before the shooting began showed the protesters sitting on the floor at the Lekki toll plaza, singing the Nigerian national anthem and waving the country’s flag.
Demonstrations have been taken place at the toll plaza for more than a week without any major violence.
The shooting from the soldiers began unprovoked an eyewitness told The Guardian on phone. A video published by PM News shoed the soldiers shooting while towards the protesters.
People could be heard saying ‘End SARS’ in the video while being shot at.
Amnesty International said it “received credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters.”
“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer told Reuters. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said.
Another witness Akinbosola Ogunsanya said he saw around 10 people being shot. He also said he saw soldiers remove bodies.
Moe Odele, a lawyer who has been providing legal and other supports for protesters arrested by state operatives said “multiple ambulances” were sent to the scene of the shooting to provide emergency medical help to those injured.
Multiple eyewitnesses said the soldiers initially denied emergency medical workers access to the scene.
The state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had earlier directed that enforcement of the 24-hour curfew in the state should not start until 9 pm to “enable people stuck in traffic get to their destinations.”
But the shooting began hours before 9 pm.
Lagos State commissioner for information Gbenga Omotoso said in a statement that the government has already investigation into the incident.
He insisted that curfew was necessary “to stop criminals who hid under the #EndSARS protests to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.”