Security at the Lekki toll gate has been criticised again after an investigation showed that police officers remained at the scene of a fatal shooting for up to two hours after it took place.
Most of the available footage from the night of 14 February appears to show men in civilian clothes beating up an unidentified white or light-skinned passenger and a white security guard.
But the video of a heavily armed, masked policeman opening fire after he reportedly saw the beatings raises questions about whether the police conducted a proper investigation into the shooting.
The security guard, Thomas Ojo, 33, and the passenger, a white man in his 50s, died in hospital after they were shot at close range by the unnamed police officer who was armed with an assault rifle.
“The police officers did not use force because the person they shot was a security guard. The bullet can’t penetrate him,” said an eyewitness who saw the shooting.
The security guard’s family said the police lacked any proper investigation. Photograph: Abuja / TIMEIMAGES/Getty Images
“The only reason for him shooting them is because he knew that the people are security guards. I have seen them on a number of occasions with the general public. He was a policeman. He knows the rules of engagement. If he saw a body which is not his, it is not his problem,” said his sister Obinna Elegbede.
The family has turned to the police as well as the Lekki Toll Gate management for justice. “We are waiting for the police to come and carry out an investigation,” said Elegbede.
The surveillance camera footage also shows men in civilian clothes chasing the white woman through the toll gate as they get into the taxi.
“At first the passenger called to say she had to use the toilets,” a member of the reception staff said. “When the woman reached the exit, she saw the vehicle parked on the wrong side of the road, but saw the security men were in front of it, the police grabbed her and removed her car keys and threatened to kill her.”
Elegbede also said that the passenger tried to escape by exiting the vehicle on the footpath, but was overpowered by the security guards. “She refused to surrender her keys to the police officers, who shot at her multiple times, killing her,” he said.
Agdal Berhanuwati, a resident, said the driver of the taxi flagged down the policeman and accused him of driving recklessly.
Lekki toll gates security chiefs summoned to appear before Senate over fatal shooting Read more
“The driver asked the policeman to stop the car. When he did that the police officer drew his gun and shot. The police do not have power to shoot like that and he was not involved in any crime,” he said.
About 150 people gathered at the toll gate on Sunday to protest over the shooting. They shouted: “Stop killings, Lekki toll gate must be closed.”
The toll gates are operated by a private security firm, Global Road Security Ltd, and separately run by the Lagos state government. It is unclear what steps have been taken to review the police operation.
Toll gates at Lekki and Murtala Muhammed airports in Lagos are divided into two zones. They are run by the private security firm and the Lagos state government respectively. Police are tasked with regulating the operation, but in the past some officers have admitted firing without justification.
Last week, the governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode, promised to review the payment of tolls and the inclusion of private security firms in the scheme, but he was said to have “begged the toll gate operator not to include the private companies in the new system”.
Ikechi Uko and John Chizoba, the representatives of Global Road Security Ltd at the toll gate, were not immediately available for comment.
State lawmakers said they will invite the police commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, to appear before them to explain why the man in the video was shot without a legal permit.
Edgal has been involved in several controversial cases, including a video showing he met in his car with an alleged paedophile as a 17-year-old girl sat beside him.
The commission has often been accused of being too close to police, agents of government and companies involved in the concession of the toll gate. A ban on Habaal Agege, a firm that operated the toll gate for many years, was recently lifted.