Home Matter Of Conscience Presidency under fire as hoodlums burn buildings, vehicles and properties worth trillions

Presidency under fire as hoodlums burn buildings, vehicles and properties worth trillions

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by Chuks Chris

Speculations have expressed that the real black day for the ongoing protest was yesterday being Wednesday, 21st of October due to the massive killings and property demolitions across the country which has generated strong condemnation from eminent Nigerians and international bodies.

Protests by youths demanding the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police, which began on October 8, assumed a violent dimension last week when hoodlums and security agents started attacking protesters. On Tuesday, the 20th of October, the violence escalated when soldiers and policemen, as well as hoodlums, killed no fewer than 43 protesters. Six policemen also lost their lives in the crisis.

Generality of comments have frawn at the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for deploying armed security agents against unarmed protesters as the Governor of Lagos dennies that as sitting governor, he does not control the military.

Speaking to Newsmen, Prof Wole Soyinka has appealed to the affected governors all over the nation to demand the immidiate withdrawal of the federal Government deployed soldiers after which they should convoke town hall meetings as a matter of urgency. “24-hour curfews are not the solution. Take over the security of your people with whatever resources you can rummage. Substitute community self-policing based on local councils, to curb hooligan infiltration and extortionist and destructive opportunism. We commiserate with the bereaved and urge state governments to compensate material losses, wherever.”

continuing he said, ” the army must apologise, not merely to the nation but to the global community – “the facts are indisputable – you, the military, opened fire on unarmed civilians. There has to be structured restitution and assurance that such aberrations will not again be recorded.”

in another development, former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a recent open letter to the President on the killings, urging him to act fast before it was too late. The former president in the letter titled ‘statement on violence against protesters in Nigeria: An appeal for calm accused Buhari and the military of not exhausting all options before they used force against the protesters. He urged Buhari to withdraw soldiers from streets and engage protesters in dialogues. He blamed the President for the murder of the protesters at Lekki and other parts of the country and stated that shooting of unarmed protesters had never been effective in suppressing public anger.

“Great harm has been done, but it can be stopped before it completely spirals out of control.”

“Most of the demands of the protesting youth, which Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State swiftly took to the President, are not unreasonable and can be met without anyone’s political interest or ambition being threatened.”

He, however appealed to the youth to eschew violence, advising them to give peace a chance and stop the destruction of public property and targeting individuals.

on the other hand the Nigerian Bar Association under the presidency of Mr Olumide Akpata, condemned the killings and said it had begun local and international actions against the Federal Government. They have asked the Nigerian Army to immediately identify the soldiers who carried out the attack and dismiss them from service.

“As a matter of urgency, suits would be initiated by the NBA on behalf of the families of the victims, “for abuse of power, disregard of rules of engagement and the infringement of the fundamental rights (including right to life) of the affected citizens”.

According to NBA president, the protesters’ breach of the curfew imposed by the Lagos State Government did not warrant the use of live ammunition by the military to confront otherwise peaceful, unarmed, and defenseless protesters.

“The military high command is hereby requested to immediately identify and name the officers involved in this gross professional misconduct for immediate prosecution and dismissal in line with extant laws,” he concluded

In the United States, the Democratic Presidential candidate in the upcoming United States election, Joe Biden in his message titled ‘Violence in Nigeria” has called on Buhari and the military to stop the violent crackdown on protesters.

Biden said the United States must stand with Nigerians who were peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption. The statement reads, “I urge President Buhari and the Nigerian military to cease the violent crackdown on protesters in Nigeria, which has already resulted in several deaths. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones in the violence.

“The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy. I encourage the government to engage in a good-faith dialogue with civil society to address these long-standing grievances and work together for a more just and inclusive Nigeria.”
Moreso, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for an end to police brutality and attack on protesters.

The UN secretary, who said he was following the developments in the country, criticized the killing of activists, demanding police reforms in Lagos and other parts of the nation.

“The Secretary-General urges the security forces to act at all times with maximum restraint while calling on protestors to demonstrate peacefully and to refrain from violence.”

But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party accused Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress of complicity in the killing of unarmed #EndSARS protesters.

The PDP heaped the allegation in a statement titled “Take responsibility for killings, PDP charges Buhari presidency…exposes APC’s complicity in attacks on protesters,” signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

According to the party, the Presidency and the APC regime it heads should take responsibility for the shooting because the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the buck stopped on Buhari’s table.
“Our party is however shocked at President Buhari’s stance, particularly his inability to demonstrate the capacity for concerned, attentive and proactive governance and command structure, while the nation he presides over dangerously slides into anarchy.

“A well-structured governance response from Mr. President, as the father of the nation, would have calmed frayed nerves and averted the crisis, violence, deaths, destruction of property and the avoidable losses we are witnessing today. It is indeed heartrending that our once united, viable, resilient and cohesive nation handed over to President Buhari in 2015 is fast collapsing in his hands.”
Former US President, Bill Clinton, expressed concerns over the reports of the shooting of protesters. He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to hold dialogue with the protesters.

“I am deeply concerned over reports of violence in Lagos and urge the Nigerian government to engage in peaceful dialogue with the #EndSARS protestors for police reform and an end to corruption,” he wrote.
The Human Rights Watch and the Nigeria Labour Congress criticised the killing of #EndSARS protesters. The two organisations in separate statements on Wednesday called for an investigation into the incident and asked the military authorities to immediately withdraw the troops from the streets.

The statement by Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch, Aniete Ewang, demanded an investigation into the shooting and prosecution of personnel involved in the dastardly act.

The congress insisted that the protesters had the right to peaceful assembly as guaranteed by section 40 of Nigeria’s Constitution, the United Nations Universal Declarations on Human Rights, the African Union Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and other relevant international conventions.

It described the use of live bullets to suppress, harm, and kill peaceful protesters as a crime against humanity and a matter of international court of justice. on this note, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet called for what she described as root and branch reform of the security forces in the country. She condemned the use of excessive and disproportionate force by security forces in Lagos State on Tuesday.