Lagos toll gate shootout: Killing of 50 people was ‘massacre’

Written by by Tamara Victoria, CNN Contributors A judicial commission has delivered a verdict that a year-long shooting at a toll gate along Lagos’ major Lekki-Epe Expressway was a “massacre.” In a final report…

Lagos toll gate shootout: Killing of 50 people was 'massacre'

Written by by Tamara Victoria, CNN Contributors

A judicial commission has delivered a verdict that a year-long shooting at a toll gate along Lagos’ major Lekki-Epe Expressway was a “massacre.”

In a final report published Tuesday, the three-member panel said it found that between February 12 and January 18, more than 500 lives were lost in “a massacre that transcended the boundary of fear and prejudice.”

It added that three of the drivers killed in the attack were children. The commission recommended that the toll gate be turned into a traffic management agency.

The toll gate, which is operated by Etisalat — a mobile telecommunications company, was hit by a volley of bullets at 2am on February 12, 2018.

At least 19 people were killed during the attack, according to police and local residents, who identified 18 of the dead as drivers or a family member of the drivers, as well as a policeman.

The incident sparked a string of protests, with almost 1,000 people taking to the street in Lagos and making demands for more stringent measures to keep motorists safe.

The commission said it had met with drivers who were attacked in March and heard the harrowing stories of the men on the run.

They testified how the toll gate was a militarized stronghold of the Nigerian military, and were forced to sign deals to pay bribes to avoid further attacks, the report said.

Police, who operate the road, said the toll gate was closed due to a sudden surge in traffic during heavy rains.

Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode set up the panel to probe the incident.

Etisalat officials said their facilities and headquarters had been vandalized during the night of the shooting, destroying their communications infrastructure.

The amount of damage to the company’s communication infrastructure was described as “very high.” Etisalat said it suffered great financial loss and was unable to recover from the attack.

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