Written by Staff Writer, CNN
The Nigerian government on Sunday rejected an investigation by two French media organizations claiming that gunshots from the country’s toll gate outside Lekki Lagos airport shot a young woman.
The victim, identified as 22-year-old Evelyn Edeh, died in August in a vehicle on the way to Ikeja General Hospital, a police source said.
“The police team was supposed to transport her to Ikeja General Hospital after hospitalization from an accident involving a car and truck at the toll gate. But with what we have discovered, she did not die from the injuries and the shooting that occurred from the toll gate,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CNN.
“We have invited the family members and the hospital management for investigation as to the cause of her death.”
Lagos State Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni said on Saturday the shooting may have occurred at toll gates controlled by the private concessionaires, but he declined to comment on the cause of death.
Edeh’s relatives have accused the government of extrajudicial execution. “The anger we feel is nothing compared to our pain, our agony of losing our little girl,” her father, Solomon Edeh, told CNN.
Their lawyer, Kaisuo Abe, filed a complaint at the Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department on Friday.
CNN is seeking comment from the police command in Lagos.
Amaechi Longe, representing Edeh’s family, told CNN on Saturday that the family has asked the police to bring witnesses to testify as part of their investigation.
“She was an unassuming person and we don’t know what happened to her,” Longe said. “She was a graduate of Business Administration at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.”
CNN reported last week that the toll gates — which were built following Lagos state’s 2013 metro expansion, including the construction of an expanded Ijora bridge — serve only residents.
They were built to collect toll fees from cars traveling through Lagos, a sprawling megacity of some 20 million people where traffic is notoriously heavy, according to the US Transportation Security Administration.
“Now, the Chinese concessionaires operate the toll gate on behalf of the state government of Lagos,” CNN said. “The commercial transaction that enabled the state government to acquire the toll gates was made in 2015. The concession didn’t provide for such compensation in the event of death. It was a leap of faith.”
Longe said the family wants “compensation and full disclosure by the state government that it came into power with many empty promises and none has come to fruition.”