The events of the famous Black Tuesday Night (20 October 2020) in Lagos will remain with Nigerians for many decades to come. A Night when a witch cried and by morning, a child was dead. Peaceful #EndSARS protesters had been on the Lekki Toll Gate, as one of their favourite protest camp. They had remained there, demanding for a true end to police brutality, an end to bad governance, an end to expensive system of government, etc. Having learnt to take the promises of Government with a pinch of salt, the protesters refused to accept the hasty disbandment of the atrocious SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) and ridiculed Government approach which appeared like a play on their intelligence.

Governor Sanwo-Olu showed understanding. He rose up to the occasion like he did during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. He proved to be at least a reliable Governor in times of crisis. One who would be visibly on the gas pedal, firing up to reach a destination of solution. This is notable because during the early months of his reign as the Governor of Lagos, he went into limbo and Lagosians had wondered whether it was an invisible king that has mounted the throne. No sooner than later, the bell of pandemic rang and the Keeper of Lagos appeared from the dark to contain the situation. We became proud of him.

As the chants of #EndSARS took over the sound space in the city of Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu took to the centre stage. He was boooed but it didn’t matter. He joined the protest in solidarity, holding placards. He practically soro soke when we needed his voice to come up in the air. Sanwo-Olu climbed up to Aso Rock but descended with a message the protesters did not consider concrete. Frustration came upon him like a fever. He shivered.

A Moment of True Test

A moment of true test arrived. The cry of the witch was heard at night as President Buhari held a meeting with security Chiefs. Sanwo-Olu declared a 24-hour curfew to start from the same 20 October 2020 at 4pm (and later 9pm). The Protesters would have none of that. They remained on their duty post, blocking the Lekki Toll Gate which they considered home. According to the Governor of Lagos, he had successfully pleaded with the Protesters stationed at the State capital, Ikeja, and they returned home but the Protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate were adamant. They remained there like the concrete walls of the Toll Gate.

The Governor, leaving the Protesters to their fate, the dance began at about 7pm. In controversial circumstances, the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) – owners/operators of the Lekki Toll Gate brought darkness at the Toll Gate. From the videos making the rounds and the Instagram live feed of one of the Protesters, DJ Switch, heavily armed men in Nigerian Army uniforms rained down bullets on the Protesters. Governor Sanwo-Olu confirmed that many were injured from gunshots as news on the number of deaths remained or was caused to remain debatable. A reliable eye-witness (DJ Switch) report had it that about 15 dead bodies were counted and were taken away by the men in Nigerian Army uniforms in their truck. This has set the stage to make the issue of deaths a long and probably an unending debate. More so, those behind the attack remain to be known. The Governor of Lagos described them as Forces beyond his control.

A Walk in the Dark

While the mysteries of the events of the Black Tuesday Night when the witch cried remain unexplained, the babies that died have been a concern. The Lagos State Government with the support of the Federal Government has now set in motion a fact finding committee – the Judicial Panel of Inquiry – whose terms of reference include an inquiry into the Lekki Toll Gate incident.

Many, including the writer, strongly believes that this move is like a walk in the dark to a city of nowhere and here is why.

It has been contended elsewhere that:

In a decent society, the entire Lekki Toll Gate would have been properly marked as a Crime Scene since that bloody Tuesday night with no one allowed (not even the cleaners) to get close and tamper with evidence.

According to Avril Edero, a Forensic Investigator, 

A crime scene is a place where a crime/incident such as theft, armed conflict, murder, fire, suicide, rape, accident, etc. has occurred. A major principle that governs crime scene analysis is the belief that every contact leaves a trace, that is, every time we come in contact with anyone or anything, we leave a trace of ourselves and take a trace of the person or thing with us. This is called Locard’s principle of exchange in Forensic Science.

In effect, it is extremely important to prevent crime scene contamination as much as possible in order to make it easy to obtain evidence that can be used to prove the Commission of the crime and to identify those behind it.

From the reports, the Governor of Lagos in the company of other South West Governors and some Federal Ministers took a tour of the Toll Gate few days after the incident. None of them thought it was necessary to have properly marked the area without allowing anyone, including themselves, to come close until professional crime scene investigators had done their job. Instead, they marched as if they were on election campaign train, with journalists covering their outing. In a ridiculous narrative, one of the most respected Nigerian Ministers and a former Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN was reported to have found a hidden camera lieing in an open space and which he picked up for further analysis. Nigerians had no difficulty mocking their beloved Minister who has turned himself into an investigating agent. With his hands clogged behind, Mr Fashola was seen marching around the scene quietly, apparently looking out for more evidence.

The other politicians who accompanied the Governor of Lagos concluded that the attack was executed to weaken the economy of Lagos. It was not difficult to understand their major concern. Politicians only care about money, power and influence. Human lives are hardly on the top priority list. It remains unimaginable that no adequate security was provided for the peaceful Protesters at the Toll Gate.


The question of whether the Federal Government of Nigeria and/or the Lagos State Government was responsible or complicit in the events of the Black Tuesday Night will remain a mystery.

Given the unsatisfactory disposition of the Government towards the whole episode, any subsequent report by the Government concerning the events of that Night will be like a tale to the birds. But we still await to at least listen to that tale.

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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