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Fact Check: How Authentic is this viral video of soldiers shooting at protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate?

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VERDICT: False

CLAIM: Viral videos of soldiers shooting protesters in Lagos on October 20, 2020, before the curfew imposed by the State are trending on Twitter with hashtags #LekkiMassacre, #basedonwhat, #SHAME, #Sanwooluisamurderer, #Hillary and more. 

The Lagos State Government announced an immediate 24-hour curfew with no prior notice on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, for 4 pm WAT. The government released an updated time for 9 pm the same day to allow commuters to get home in time. Nonetheless, around 7 pm, viral videos showed these protesters being shot at by soldiers of the Nigerian Army.

The #Hillary trend began after former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton sent out a tweet against the shooting of protesters in Nigeria. In this tweet she calls on Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Army to stop killing the #ENDSARS protesters. She ended this with another hashtag #StopNigeriaGovernment

However, this 12-second video uploaded by Cinematographycypher (@Cinemat81103133) disinforms on the #ENDSARS protest and the Lekki toll gate shootings.

VERIFICATION:  To authenticate the video, Dubawa used the InVID verification plugin. Uploading the link to InVID shows that the video was uploaded to Twitter was at 11.28 pm (WAT) on October 20, 2020, with 110 likes and 148 retweets at the time of verification. It is an unverified account with 182 followers which claims to be a drone supplier. It joined Twitter in April 2020. Social searches on the uploaders timeline reveal a recent hashtags #uniosunvsadelekeuniede, #UniversityChallenge , #lautechvsui which suggests that the uploader is a student or targets their content towards young people.   

Visual clues seen through gunshot flashes show a rough brown terrain more similar to sandy arid regions, not the coarse, tarred road in Lekki, Lagos. Also, eye witness reports do not include the presence of armoured tanks at the scene of the shooting. 

Protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate

“One witness at the protests, Akinbosola Ogunsanya, said the shooting began after the lights were turned off at the Nigerian city’s Lekki tollgate. “Members of the Nigerian army pulled up on us and they started firing,” he said. “They were shooting, they were firing straight, directly at us, and a lot of people got hit. I just survived, barely.” – CNN 

An unnamed witness told BBC News that shortly before 19:00 local time soldiers “pulled up… and they started firing directly” at peaceful protesters. – BBC 

“Another eyewitness, Chika Dibia, said soldiers confined people as they fired at them, while photographer Inyene Akpan said more than 20 soldiers arrived at the scene and began firing their weapons” – VOA

Another Twitter user @Ruoyreh discredits this video. According to @Ruoyreh, the sound of the gunshot in this false video is that of a GPMG- General-purpose machine gun; as seen in the thumbnail image of the video. The gunshot sounds differ in this video from other authentic videos of the Lekki toll gate shooting.

CONCLUSION:  Social searches reveal that uploader’s account was created very recently and rarely posts online. So, there is little evidence to confirm their motives. This particular video, however, is false.

The #ENDSARS protests escalated to violence with soldiers of the Nigerian Army shooting at protesters on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. 


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