Peaceful protests in commemoration of the Lekki Tollgate Massacre were held today at the scene in Lagos and at Abuja, over the killing of scores of ENDSARS protesters by the military a year ago. The unfortunate event saw the wanton shooting of several people rallying for an end to police brutality. However, the Federal Government has continued to deny such happenings, even going as far as lambasting the media for broadcasting the news.
Photo credit: The Nation Newspaper.
The attitude of the security operatives in storming the memorial, firing tear gas at people and whisking them away shows that the government is still not willing to acknowledge the happenings of the year before. Lai Mohammed has even made a speech denying the event.
Photo credit: BBC.
They say that history repeats itself and coincidentally, something eerily similar played out in China begining on the 4th of June, 1989, when hundreds to thousands of people were killed at Tiananmen Square, Beijing - an event the Chinese government continues to deny to this day.
Unlike the ENDSARS protests of last year which started because of police brutality, that of China happened because of the people's unhappiness with the corrupt practices of the government. Economic hardship and calls for Democracy in place of Communism were other reasons for the protest, which was mostly spearheaded by students and intellectuals numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
Photo credit: PRI.
The protests came to a head after an influential person among the protesters was killed. This caused the people to gather at Tiananmen Square and occupy it for days. The government issued several warnings for the people to disperse, to no avail. Military personnel who were initially sent to chase them off were even overwhelmed.
Fearing a collapse of public order, the government voted in favour of the use of force and declared martial law. About 300,000 soldiers accompanied by Type 59 armoured tanks stormed Tiananmen Square on the 4th of June, opening fire and killing anywhere from 1000 to 3000 people. The Chinese government at the time watered down the figures to only 300. Nowadays, however, the story is not permitted to be told and remains heavily censored.
Photo credit: Wikipedia.
This event led to the iconic photo known as Tank Man, which shows an unknown fellow blocking the path of a convoy of armoured tanks on their way to, once again, resist protesters the day after the massacre. The man's bravery awed the soldiers so much that they came to a standstill until the man was dragged away by bystanders.
Photo credit: ABC News.
In much the same way the Chinese government continues to whitewash the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Nigerian government via the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has continued to deny the killing of anyone at Lekki Tollgate. As a result of this, there will always be two versions of the event and who is to say when the truth will be acknowledged.
What do you think about this article? Is the government telling the truth or are Nigerians the ones to be believed? Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.
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