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REVEALED: The Indelible Scars Upon #EndSARS Protesters After Lekki Massacre

So many people might have forgotten about the Lekki massacre that happened on the 20th of October, 2020. But the families, friends and loved ones of those who either died or were severely injured will never forget that fateful day.

The Nigerian government has debunked killings, the Nigerian Army said live ammunitions were not used and that the #EndSars protesters only circulated photoshopped images and edited videos.

However, one of Nigeria's topmost Investigative Journalists, Fisayo Soyombo spent a few days putting some evidence together and below are some of the shocking findings he made.

WARNING: This story contains sensitive content. Viewer discretion advised.

Shot On a Boat, Saved by a Stranger


Joshua Ossai knew he had to flee for his life at Lekki Toll Gate when soldiers started shooting live bullets at youth protesters asking for an end to police brutality. He joined dozens of other protesters in running towards the waterway with the intent to escape on a boat. They all thought they had breasted the tape when they landed on water, ready to sail away to safety. Only that soldiers continued raining bullets at them; and by the time the gunshots stopped, a bullet had hit Joshua in the leg — the region between his leg and ankle.

Despite the injury, Joshua was one of a few protesters who managed to arrive ashore in faraway Ikorodu, where a Good Samaritan nursed his wounds for two weeks. All along, his panicky family sent word round, including on social media, that their boy was missing. When his helper finally reunited him with his family, Joshua said the protesters who attempted to escape using a boat were shot at in the water by soldiers.

“Some people died inside the water,” he was quoted as saying.

So, could we interview Joshua or any member of his immediate family? No chance. Not in the world.

Joshua’s homecoming after two weeks during which he was believed to be missing — possibly dead — was the greatest news of the season for family as well and friends, two of whom visited him and subsequently spoke publicly about Joshua’s condition, accompanied by evidence. This was followed by calls from people claiming to be government and wanting to help with “healthcare”. The following day, one friend was killed. Three days later, the second was killed too. Within three days, these two friends had been killed in two separate mysterious circumstances. Their families, like Joshua’s, are avoiding the press.

But, again, FIJ found a way to penetrate a group of friends to whom Joshua had narrated his ordeal.

“They went through the water. They were all running,” said the friend. “Some people fell into the water but Joshua and some others kept running… This government is wicked. These soldiers are wicked. Protesters were trying to escape by water and then you were shooting at them again. How could they be shooting at people trying to escape by sea?”

When Joshua was found by the Good Samaritan, he couldn’t talk due to the shock. There was no phone on him, so it was impossible for his family to be reached. In the end, the social media post announcing his disappearance turned out the saving grace. The Good Samaritan reached out.

In those two weeks, his mum “almost lost her life”. She had warned him against joining the protest — she had quarreled with him, in fact — so she spent the two weeks blaming herself and wondering if she could have tried harder to stop him. Those who know Ossai’s mum have told FIJ she was only kept alive by heavy doses of drugs.


It wasn’t Abdulrahmon Razak who shot Abbey, as he is fondly known, in the scrotum. But two months later, he continues to bear the brunt of his friend’s disappearance. The two friends were at the toll gate together but with one missing since that night, the other is under pressure to produce him.

“When the soldiers came in, the protest coordinators told us to keep waving the Nigerian flags in our possession,” Abdulrahmon tells FIJ when asked to recall his final moments with his friend. “But suddenly the soldiers started shooting at us. As they were shooting at us, my friend and I fled. We missed each other when everyone ran away. What I know is that he was shot.”

Witnesses told Abdulrahmon that someone made a tenuous attempt to rescue Abbey, but backed off when he felt the young man was dead.

“That’s why the person dropped him,” says Abdulrahmon. “After that day, I looked for him but didn’t find him. Even right now, we don’t know where he is. His number has not been connecting.”

Abbey’s family won’t let Abdulrahmon rest. He was, after all, the one who invited their son to the protest ground. They’ve called him numerous times to produce their son. On an occasion, they showed up at his work station to confront him.

As expected, Abdulrahmon was a member of a search team that combed Lagos for Abbey, beginning from Vedic Lifecare Hospital, located on Olabanji Olajide Street, Lekki Phase 1 100283, Lagos, where they were told their man hadn’t been seen. Many of the victims brought to Vedic, staff said, had been transferred to other hospitals at Lekki and Ajah.

“Till date, we haven’t set eyes on him. His number has been unreachable,” Abdulrahmon laments. “Many people died but, you know, we can only talk about the people we know personally. This person was my bosom friend. We ate and slept together.”

Abdulrahmon and a fellow protester say “more than 30” were killed that night. “They switched off the lights at the toll gate that evening,” he recalls. “Then the soldiers brought guns. Those guys are wicked. They wore balaclavas; they covered their faces.”


Olalekan Faleye had never been to the hospital before. Not even at birth.

When his mum went to labour 23 years ago, it was in their family house in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, Osun State. Lekan was birthed on the passage, his mother subsequently cleaned up indoors by an auxiliary nurse in the neighbourhood. From infancy to adulthood, Olalekan never saw the interior of any hospital. Not for immunization, not for typhoid. Not even for malaria. Until October 20, 2020.

Originally trained as a cobbler before working as a labourer with Black Diamond Engineering, Olalekan finished work at the site at about 2pm on that day, bathed himself and proceeded to the Lekki Toll Plaza, where hundreds of young people were demanding an end to police brutality of civilians, in continuation of the #EndSARS protests. Some of his friends would later leave the protest ground but he stayed back. At about 7pm, chants of “the Army is here” rented the air.

“We were told to sit down and just wave our flags — not run. We did just that and nothing more but we soon started hearing gunshots. They first shot into the air, and then they pointed the guns at the people. The gunshots were so sporadic I felt I needed to escape.”

Olalekan thought he had already escaped only to discover a bullet had hit his right leg. Protesters circled around him. Someone attempted to arrest the blood flow with a piece of clothing tied around the affected leg. Then another carried him. Others stopped a car to ferry him to Vedic Hospital, Lekki Phase 1, where the extent of damage was established to be lethal. The bullet had pierced through a side of his leg and exited through another. Olalekan was advised to try a bigger hospital. He ended up at Grandville Trauma Centre, located at Plot 004 Eleganza Shopping Mall Lekki, Lagos, where some gruesome news was looming.

‘Your Son’s Leg Will Be Amputated’

Funmi Faleye finished her bedtime prayers on the night of Tuesday, October 20 but strangely didn’t drift into sleep. Instead, her temperature started to rise and a strange restlessness enveloped her. She was still contemplating a cold bath when an unknown number rang her.

“Are you Lekan Faleye’s mum?” the caller asked. “Gunshot at Lekki!”

Her instinct was to rush to the hospital but the caller advised her against it; the roads were unsafe. The post-massacre chaos, looting and violence would mean Funmi didn’t get the all-clear to travel to Grandville until Saturday October 24. She was immediately taken in to see the doctor. She was told her son couldn’t move his leg at all. The bullet had destroyed all the veins in the region it pierced.

“Your son will not be able to walk again,” she quoted the doctor as telling her. “We have to amputate the leg.”

The mother of four became disconsolate. She cried her eyes out but the doctors said amputation was the only option. When she insisted she didn’t want the leg amputated, Grandville put Olalekan in their ambulance. Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, was the destination.

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