Lekki Shooting: 33 CSOs condemn use of live bullets on unarmed protesters

*condemns hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives

Lekki Shooting: 33 CSOs condemn use of live bullets on unarmed protesters

No fewer than 33 CIVIL Society Organisations, CSOs, have on Monday, condemned use of live bullets on protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate last week Tuesday.

This was contained in a statement signed by leaders of the CSOs which include Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD); Enough is Enough (EIE); Partners for Electoral Reform; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC); Centre for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD); Yiaga Africa; Global Rights; Project Alert; Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC); Paradigm Initiative (PIN); Rule of Law and Accountability Centre (RULAAC); HEDA Resource Centre; African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL); Community Life Project (CLP); Protest to Power.

Others are Social Action; Right to Know; Lawyers Alert; International Press Centre (IPC); Private and Public Development Centre; South Saharan Social Development Organisation; Partners West Africa- Nigeria; Centre LSD;. Connected Development (CODE); Stakeholders Development Network (SDN); BUDGiT; CWCW Africa; Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA); Invictus Africa; Alliance for Credible Election (ACE); Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA); Resource Centre for Human Rights (CHRICED); and Reboot Design.

Following hijack of the #EnSARS protest, they also decried acts of criminality perpetrated by hoodlums who vandalized and burnt public and private structures under guise of the protest.

READ ALSO: Lekki: We Know The Barracks Where Soldiers Came From – Falana

The statement reads in part, “As we continue to condemn the use of ‘live bullets’ on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, on October 20, 2020, we also join our voices to condemn acts of thuggery, hate speeches, and fake news.

“We particularly condemn the hoodlums that attacked security facilities and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force as two wrongs never make a right. We still maintain that the 5-for-5 demand by the #EndSARS movement should be urgently met in the interest of the Nigerian state.

“One of the demands is the transparent prosecution of the officers responsible for the brutality against citizens. In order to build trust in government, we immediately request the prosecution of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers who have been identified in the killings, torture, and rapes of citizens.

“We have watched with disdain the impunity, and outrightly denounce the assault on public and private properties by hoodlums. The attack in many states of the federation on warehouses, and the looting of COVID-19 palliatives, which were supplied by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID), has thrown up another worrying dimension and exposes the rot and corruption in our governance system.”

Meanwhile, the group in the statement also joined the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, urging the Federal Government for speedy prosecution of 35 operatives of the defunct SARS.

“On this note, we applaud the request of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to ensure speedy prosecution of 35 operatives of the defunct SARS. These officers were accused of human rights violations and abuse of office in a report by the presidential investigation panel.

“As a Civil Society Collective, we have begun tracking initiated court cases, particularly in Lagos and Ogun, this in addition to the panels of inquiry/restitution set up by the states; so far we are reviewing the 27 of the 36 states that already announced these measures.

“We have also begun to document shreds of evidence with a view to track and underscore the various human rights abuses, following the End SARS protests; this includes the launch of the Missing Persons Portal and tracking of cases specific to violence against women.

“In addition, we are ready to provide live streaming and tech support to the Panel setup, in order to enhance the credibility of the investigative process”, the statement assured.

However, the statement expressed worry over lack of Governing Council of the NHRC to back up its move to constitute an independent investigation panel into the activities of the dissolved F-SARS operatives.

“We are worried that the NHRC which announced its constitution of an independent investigation panel into the activities of the dissolved SARS does not have a constituted Governing Council.

“We immediately call on President Mohammadu Buhari to grant the Commission the needed capacity to conduct this investigation by inaugurating the Commission’s Governing Council without further delay.

“In Section 7 (3) of the National Human Rights Commission Act, the Executive Secretary lacks the power to act without a Governing Council, thus invalidating any action taken by the Anthony Ojukwu led Commission”, it added.

The statement also queried the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, over alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives and to allow Nigerians suffer lack of food during and after the lockdown due to the pandemic.

“We unequivocally condemn these attacks and call on the Governors’ Forum to tell Nigerians why they (Governors) intentionally hoarded food items supplied in good faith by the Coalition.

“We have read various official statements from some of the state governments and an unofficial statement attributed to the CA-COVID. Some of the statements raise some credibility questions”, it pointed.

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