Written by Staff Writer, CNN
Oral hypnosis offers a twisted spin on the prospect of “truth,” and can have the ability to alter our perception of the world around us. A drama professor at the University of Western Ontario, David James McGillivray, has used these psychological techniques to investigate the events surrounding the shooting of a man at a toll gate in Lekki by a civilian who claimed he had been shot at by the soldier.
The ensuing argument is presented in a YouTube video released by McGillivray in 2017 as a first-person testimony. Originally posted as “There were soldiers beating me, hitting me with batons in the head from Lekki toll gate,” it has garnered more than 5 million views on the provincially owned broadcaster, CTV. McGillivray’s investigation however raises fresh questions about the events surrounding the incident.
“The person who filmed the video is not telling us what his claims are,” said Turi Kinga, Senior Data Analyst at Imperative Initiative, a digital news start-up and research group set up to examine serious crimes through data. “It seems to have been a conflict, but the circumstances are very murky,” she told CNN.
Kinga examined CCTV footage of the incident, filed by the toll gate operator, and discovered that a solitary person appeared to begin waving a gun at a soldier as the soldier responded. It’s unclear who the object in the eyes of the soldier was — and it’s also difficult to determine when the person who filmed the video might have first seen it, as the footage cuts off just before the moment the soldier opened fire.
Furthermore, it seems that video of the incident was not edited or manipulated. “The parts of the footage that were inconsistent with my own conjecture were in areas that I can’t see well, so this would support my hypothesis that they were automated videos,” said Kinga. She concluded, “it was a lone civilian who thought they had seen something and videotaped it himself.”
“The best way to answer that question is if the person who filmed the video had video of what was actually happening, or videos from other vantage points that are clear enough for us to see what was going on,” said Kinga.
The apparent misunderstanding, moreover, mirrors the actions of media outlets at a critical moment in the Lekki shooting, according to Kinga. Shortly after the incident, the military successfully placed the military photographer, behind closed doors and behind bullet-proof glass. Photos showing the initial aftermath of the incident, published by the military, have an unnaturally black background.
CNN had an immediate opportunity to review more footage of the incident, including the video filmed by the toll gate operator — a random bystander told CNN last year that he saw soldiers hitting the man with batons and trying to take him into custody before a scuffle broke out. In this footage, it’s not clear who the object in the eyes of the soldier was — and it’s also difficult to determine when the person who filmed the video might have first seen it, as the footage cuts off just before the moment the soldier opened fire.
“I’ve seen this unfold from many angles: from the soldier who shot the soldier, the military who shot the video of the soldier, and other journalists who’ve been asking us for any more information,” said Kinga. “The only way we can be sure about what happened is if we see videos of what was actually happening.”
*Tweets from CTV and Imperative are below.