A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Sustainable Initiative for Nurturing Growth (SING) Nigeria, says Nigerian youths have been vindicated by the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel on the Oct. 20, 2020 #EndSARS protest at Lekki Tollgate.
Mr Mohammed Basah, Associate Member, SING Nigeria, said this in Abuja on Friday, while reviewing the report.
“The report is a vindication and validation of the position of unarmed Nigerian youths at the Lekki tollgate that indeed, live bullets were shot at them on Oct. 20, 2020 by officers of the Nigerian Army,” he said.
Basah said the report was now a legal stamp on the already circulated evidence that authorities went overboard to interrupt citizens’ democratic and constitutional processes in a gruesome manner.
He noted that government officials should be reminded of the fundamental principles of democracy in section 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
“These provisions guarantee right to freely assemble and associate with other persons, with no restrictions; it’s a fundamental right and not a privilege that can be withdrawn by government should it go against the wish of a political class.
“To this extent, we reiterate our position and strongly condemn the Gestapo actions of the Nigerian Army which the Judicial Panel confirmed were mobilised to the scene of the incident by the Lagos State Government.
“Beyond the paper indictment of authorities involved in the Lekki Tollgate shootings, those involved in giving order that led to the shootings should be publicly prosecuted.
“We must commend the excellent job done by the Panel of Inquiry led by retired Justice Doris Okwuobi.
“Their factual and elaborate research into the #EndSARS protest in Lagos has renewed the hope of many Nigerians that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man.
“It is our hope that their efforts would not be treated as another paper work, but would be implemented to the fullest,” Basah said.
Also speaking, Ms Obianuju Iloana, Pragrammes Manager, SING Nigeria, said Nigerians would continue to refer to the report of the panel in years to come.
She regretted that the position of some highly placed Nigerians on the Lekki incident were part of the reasons Nigerians were maltreated in some foreign countries.
“What some of our leaders have done in the EndSARS protest saga is to make people question their own mental health and eyes and also say that technology is a farce.
“If government wants to maintain the trust of the people, they must eschew all forms of rascality and that is what some of them have done by showing that they don’t have respect for scientific finding or technology.
“Some of them that spoke would have waited for the Panel’s report before speaking, to avoid them contradicting themselves,” Iloana said.
She urged government to quickly act on the report to ensure justice for those who lost their lives during the incident. (NAN)