Lekki Tollgate Attack Attracts Global Condemnation
Reactions have continued to trail Tuesday night attack on #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate area of Lagos.
The killings, as it was beamed in video clips that circulated widely on the social media, showed that lights were taken out at the location were protester gathered at night, and gun shots were sporadically fired at the unarmed youths, killing many in the process.
Protesters said the act was carried out by men of the Nigerian Army.
Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, condemned the attack, saying forces beyond the state’s control were responsible for the act.
The governor disclosed this when he visited the wounded protesters at some Lagos hospitals Wednesday morning, as he promised to work with the federal government to unravel the cause of the shootings.
“This is the toughest night of our lives as forces beyond our direct control have moved to make dark notes in our history, but we will face it and come out stronger.
“I’ve just concluded visits to hospitals with victims of this unfortunate shooting incident at Lekki.
“It has taken me this long to make a statement because I have to prioritize the welfare of the victims of this very sad incident.
“There are currently 10 patients at the Gen Hospital, 11 at Reddington and 4 at Vedic; with mild to moderate levels of injuries while 2 are receiving intensive medical care. 3 patients have been discharged & we will continue to monitor and ensure all patients get the best care.
“As the Governor of our state, I recognize the buck stops at my table and I will work with the FG to get to the root of this unfortunate incident and stabilise all security operations to protect the lives of our residents. I will give a state broadcast in the morning.”
Reports were replete on Tuesday of how security operatives, opened fire on #End SARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate around 7pm, killing many in the process.
The protesters have been demonstrating against police brutality and extrajudicial killings at the Lekki tollgate for about two weeks, in the same way that they have been demonstrating in Abuja and other parts of the country.
Nigerian Sketch however recalls that miscreant had hijacked the hitherto peaceful protests in Lagos, Benin, Abuja, Jos, Ekiti, Akure, Ibadan and Kano, causing disquiet among the citizens.
The attack on Tuesday night has attracted condemnation within and outside Nigeria.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) was swift to condemn the killings on Tuesday.
NBA President, Olumide Akpata, stated in a statement tasked the Nigerian Army to immediately identify the soldiers who carried out the attack and dismiss them from service.
He also said the association would immediately commence legal actions against the Nigerian government and the Army at both international and local fora.
He said the 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”.
He agreed that some of the protesters engaged in act of misdemeanor as they breached the curfew imposed by the Lagos State government but said that “did not warrant the use of live ammunition by the Nigerian military to confront otherwise peaceful, unarmed and defenseless protesters”.
He said the current situation in the country “calls for dynamic leadership and, as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project”, calling on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and others in authority “to show uncommon leadership in saving the situation, instead of deploying troops against defenseless citizens whom they swore an oath to protect.”
Also, the United Nations has called on the federal government to put an end to human rights violations and killings of citizens.
Deputy Secretary-general of the UN Amina Mohammed took to twitter to say “@UN & I are following the protests in #Nigeria calling for an end to human rights violations. I join the #UNSG in stressing the importance of respect for peaceful protests & freedom of assembly & call on the security forces to exercise maximum restraint.
“I’ve been asked about the ongoing protests in Nigeria and I can tell you that the Secretary-General is following the protests in Nigeria calling for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and an end to human rights violations allegedly committed by security agencies.
“The Secretary-General stresses the importance of respect for peaceful protests and freedom of assembly and calls on the security forces to exercise maximum restraint in the policing of the demonstrations,” Mohammed said earlier in a statement.
Equally in a tweet, former US secretary of state and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the killing of the #EndSARS protesters.
‘I’m calling on @mbuhari and the @hqnigerianarmy to stop killing young #EndSARS protesters,” Clinton wrote, adding the hashtag, #StopNigeriaGovernment.
Human rights group Amnesty International said it had obtained credible reports of deaths.
Other notable figures condemning the attack on protesters at Lekki toll gate include footballer Idion Ighalo, who said he was “sad and heartbroken” at the developments.
“Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens…sending the military to kill [unarmed] protesters…” the footballer said in a video posted to social media.
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