Probe the brutalization of peaceful Lekki protesters,others:Full text of a petition over gross and systematic human rights violation in Lagos



Dr Chidi Kalu The Chairperson, Nation Human Rights Commission, NHRC Abuja

Dear Sir, REPORT OF A CONDEMNABLE AND HIGHLY REPREHEENSIBLE SYSTEMATIC AND GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS BY THE LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA,THE RAPID RESPONSE SQUAD,RRS AND THE LAGOS STATE POLICE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE – DEMAND FOR A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION,PROSECUTION OF CULPRITS AND ADEQUATE COMPENSATION TO ASSUAGE OUR FEELINGS

Am compelled to make a formal report of the condemnable ,habitual, systematic and gross violation of human rights by the trio of The Lagos State Government, its security outfit Rapid Response Squad,RRS and the Lagos State Police Command. In specific terms and in the recent past the trio of Lagos State Government, the Commissioner of Police and the Rapid Response Squad, RSS, have conspired to carry out the followings gross violation of our (citizen’s) rights in Lagos State:

BRUTAL REPRESSION OF LEKKI TOLL GATE PEACEFUL PROTESTERS
On, December 17, 2011, residents and indigenes of the Lekki-Ajah area trooped out in their hundreds to occupy the Lekki Toll Plaza, to protest the imposition of the unpopular Lekki Toll Fee. As early as 8am, residents had come out in their large numbers, to commence the peaceful protest. They were carrying placards, distributing banners and leaflets and handbills to sensitize the neighborhood. They were very peaceful. The protesters were led by Dr. Ausbeth Ajagu and the chairman of Lekki Phase 1 Residents Association, Mr. Wole Akala, lawyer and activist, Mr. Ebun-olu Adegboruwa, retired judges, retired military men, journalists, engineers, community leaders, women leaders and youths. The protest proper commenced at about 8 am, at the Lekki Phase 1 round about. It was a wonderful and peaceful sight to behold, with some residents carrying food and mattresses as a sign of their seriousness. They got to the Admiralty Circle Plaza at about 9am, maintaining a very long distance from the toll plaza proper. The protesters were being addressed by their leaders and they suddenly, noticed some Danfo buses driving in with great speed. They were discharging heavily armed thugs and political supporters, who rushed at the defenseless protesters to beat and harass the protesters. While this was going on, one Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr.Hakeem Odumosu, the Coordinator of Rapid Response Squad, RRS so called anti-crime outfit of the Lagos State Government, ordered the armed policemen to disperse the peaceful protesters. There was great pandemonium and commotion, as live tear gas canisters were shot directly into the crowd. While the protesters were running for safety, the police started to shoot live bullets into the crowd of the protesters whilst the thugs were rough handling and beating up the women and youths among them. One person was already hit by the bullet, and he lay down almost lifeless in his own blood. The police did not allow any offer of medical assistance to him. This can be confirm in the photographs on saharareporters.com The protesters then retreated into the Lekki Phase 1 estate, away from the express road. Some minutes later, Mr. Odumosu led the policemen to bombard the Lekki phase 1 estate and the armed policemen actually entered the estate, chasing the residents into their houses. Barrister Ebun-OluAdegborowa confirmed he and some journalists were chased to a stream inside the estate until they were able to take cover in a nearby bush. Journalists were mercilessly beaten up, their cameras seized and damaged, such as STV, NTA, Channels television and one Kate HenshawNuptal was beaten up and manhandled

ii) BRUTAL REPRESSION OF PEACEFUL PROTEST BY JOINT ACTION FRONT, JAF AND ALLIES Another peaceful protest organized by the Joint Action Front,JAF (a coalition of civil society against injustice in the land) and allies was also brutally repressed by the same trio of Lagos State Government, the commissioner of police Lagos State and the Rapid Response Squad, RRS on Saturday the 18th of February 2012.This is in spite of the claim of the Lagos Police Command through its PRO Mr. Joseph Jaiyeola that there is no more human rights abuse by the police or its declaration of zero tolerance for human rights abuse,Ditto Governor Fashola ordered the police to repress us in utter contradiction of hisopen declaration in aletter to President Jonathan over deployment of soldiers to street of Lagos on 16th of January,2012 , Quoting Governor Fashola in the said latter to President Jonathan‘’ It is not disputable that the citizens who have gathered in several parts of Lagos like Falomo, Ikorodu and Ojota to mention a few have largely conducted themselves peacefully, singing and dancing while they expressed their displeasure at the way that we have taken decisions that affect them.That in my view should not offend those of us in Government. The majority of these people who represent diverse interests have not broken any law. If they have, it is my opinion that in a constitutional democracy, it is the police that has the responsibility for restoring law and order if civil protests threatens the breach of the peace’ ’End of quote I was one of the leaders/part of this peaceful protest/procession that started from NLC secretariat Yaba,on our way to Gani Fawehinmi’s Freedom Square,Ojota,Lagos in memory of our martyrs who were killed by police bullet during the week long national protest over fuel price hike and also to assert our right to peaceful protest against any bad government policy. To do otherwise is for us to have voluntarily given out or surrender our hard earned human rights and democratic values of freedom of speech and peaceful protest and this will surely be the beginning of tyranny in our land.Ironically and against the recent directive of new IG the peaceful protest was stopped by an illegal road block or barricade mounted with 3 RRS vehicles,Fashola’s RRS(not Jonathan) at Onigbongbo Maryland.Lagos.at about 12pm.After a protracted altercation between us and the RRS men we were heavily repressed, teargased, brutalized,arrested, tortured and bundled into vehicles to the Anti-Robbery Section of the Lagos Police Headquarters at Ikeja.It is better imagined how some of us including MrsGaniatFawehinmi and his son Barrister Mohammed Fawehinmi(on wheel chair) were tortured with direct teargas and at very close range. We were thoroughly beating and brutalized. This barbaric act was carried out on the orders of the Governor of Lagos State and Lagos state Police Commissioner by the RRS team led by one Deputy Superintendent of Police Noah Adesoyin from Area F police command that dubious, cleverly, deliberately,mischievously and criminally concealed his name tag throughout the mayhem. Apart from myself other victims of this brutality and gross human rights violation include Chair of JAF,DrDipoFashina, Mohammed Fawehinmi,Comrades PopoolaAjayi,TundeAgunbiade (Lagos state NCP Chair) KunleOladejo,Sola Olatunde,Alex Omotehinse,Akin Adedeji, MosesAdeola, Agbodemu Musiliu,IsamailaOlawale,Prophet Moses Adeola and a journalist with City FM Iyatse Joshua,about 14 of us.In otherwords the Fashola Lagos government funded RRS was used to repress us on the 18th of February,2012(not Jonathan) the same way it was used to repress the Lekki Toll peaceful protesters on the 27th of December 2011 and the directive came from the Lagos State Governor’s office,that we should be forcefully dispersed and not be allowed to move an inch near Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Square. Therefore Lagos State Police Command should be investigated over this criminal act. The role ofGov Fashola must be uncovered and he should no longer be allowed to hide under Jonathan to commit atrocities against peaceful protesters in Lagos.As we write this petition to NHRC the army of occupation of RRS and armored tanks in LASU is scandalous and it is as if there is a civil war in LASU! This is occasioned by the insensitive hike in schools fess by Gov Fashola. LASU occupation is at the instance of Gov Fashola not only to forestall students protest however peaceful but to also brutally suppress their protest however peaceful such a protest could be against his anti-people’s policies. After making statements, at this Anti-Robbery Section of Lagos State Police Headquarters we were released and thrown into a heavy down pour around 4pm same day, without apology, any form of compensation or show of any remorse over the violation of our human rights.It is clear we have not committed any crime and we are neither Boko Haram hence they could not charge us to court up till now! On the basis of the recent assurances to the members of the public from the new Chairperson of this highly esteemed body Dr ChidiKalu, about the resolve of the commission, NHRC, under his leadership not to take cases of humans rights abuse in Nigeria with levity, I also resolve to make this formal report to the commission,on behalf of myself and others over the unjust RRS/police brutality of 18th instant and the conspiratorial role the Lagos State Government and the commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Nigeria is not a banana Republic. This is one human rights abuse and brutalization too many. Therefore it is high time CSP Odumosu and his principals are brought to book. I was the arrow-head and leader of Lagos workers duringthe titanic struggle of Lagos State workers over minimum wage and better condition of service under the tyrannical rule of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This same Hakeem Odumosu. – the head of dreaded,private killer squad of Bola Tinubu but disguised as RRS and also inherited by Gov. Raji Fashola, SAN, was also responsible for the repression and brutalization of workers during our peaceful protest in 2001.It’s on record, not a pin was broken by the workers in the cause of our peaceful protests and throughout the industrial action. At the behest of Bola Tinubu police was invited to our peaceful protest. Mr. Bola Tinubu ordered that we should be thoroughly dealt with the same way Fashola did to Lekki peaceful and our peaceful assembly. Live bullets were used on us and in the process a worker Adigun Popoola was killed by Hakeem Odumosu led RRS Several labour leaders were also brutalized,arrested by Odumosu bundled away and detained in Panti for weeks. Sadly one of the labour leaders, a lady Mrs Lucy Effiong(still alive), then Lagos State Secretary of Nigerian Civil Service Union, lost her 4 month old pregnancy due to Police brutality,arrest,torture and unlawful detention at Panti along with other labour leaders on the orders of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Though they pretend to be friendly to the public, Lagos State Government has perchance for victimization,intolerance, persecution, highhandedness, systematic and gross human rights abuse Our(Lagos workers) demand for a fair deal from government of Lagos State led to my victimization, premature and unjust sack without query along with core labour leaders in the fore front of the struggle in 2011.Bola Tinubu was the only Governor with the criminal and notorious record of killing a worker(yet beating his chest all about as a democrat and working freely over the streets of Nigeria) during his tenure (not even PDP Governors) of victimizing and retrenching workers including labour leaders twice within his 8 years tenure, massacring over 40,000 jobs.Chairman of Lagos Doctors was also scapegoated and thrown out of job for leading his peers for better conditions of service, thereby making victimization and persecution the price of leadership – a perverted philosophy. This head of Bola Tinubu’s security outfit called RRS, Mr Hakeem Odumosu has been in Lagos for over 15years without transfer and if ever he was, it was to Yobe State and Bola Ahmed Tinubu pressed the bottom and he (Odumosu) was quickly returned back not only to LagosState but to operational base -Alausa seat of government to do Tinubu’s, ACN, Fashola’s bidding, by a supposed Federal Government Agency, Nigeria Police, Lagos State Police Command, tragically and fully pocketed by Bola Tinubu! The question is who is controlling the Lagos state police command – Nigeria Police, FGN,IG, Bola Tinubu, ACN or Fashola? For your information this Bola Tinubu’s RRS as inherited by Fashola, extremely partisan is an assemblage of ACN thugs, loyalists, members, sympathizers and they work hand in hand in committing atrocities all over Lagos including during elections at all levels.It is clear that this government of Lagos state is tending towards tyranny and despotism?ThereforeIt is high time the RRS as presently constituted is thoroughly overhauled to put an end to human rights abuse.The NHRC owes us a duty to put a check to this despotism! We the hope that we will get justice through your good office.We did not resist arrest but the beating and torture was just too much.We are not criminals.I don’t think we deserve it and I don’t think the RRS/police have the right to beat, brutalize or torture us over this matter. Therefore to put an end to continuous, gross and systematic human rights violation by the Lagos state government and its allied we demand as follows .OUR DEMANDS For immediate and comprehensive probe of the brutalization of peaceful Lekki protesters, journalists, women, children and passersby on the orders of Governor BabatundeFashola that ledmany being injured on 17th December,2011 For immediate and comprehensive probe of the brutalization of human rights activists peaceful protesters, journalists of 18th February,2011 at Onigbongbo,Maryland,Lagos on the orders of Governor BabtundeFashola that also ledmany being injured Investigation into the criminal activities and human rights violation of the present partisan RRS in Lagos state, made up sit tight officers, ACN thugs, sympathizers that has become a regular tool of oppression, brutalization, killing, maiming and terrorizing Lagos residents, oppositions and the killing of a worker Adigun Popoola in 2001 Immediate arrest and prosecution of CSP HaheemOdumosu the head of so called RSS who led the Lekki brutalization and any other person connected with the Lekki incident and the killing of a worker Adigun Popoola by Odumosu led RRSin 2001 Immediate arrest and prosecution of CS Noah Adesoyin the head of so called RSS Team that tortured us on February 18thand any other person connected with the incident at Onigbongbo,Maryland incident Investigation into the role of immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the killing of a worker Adigun Popoola in peaceful workers’ protest in 2001 and unlawful detention and brutalization of labour leaders Unreserved apology by Governor BabatundeFashola,the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to Lagos residents, the victims and their family for the embarrassment over these gross human rights abuse Compensation and payment of full medical bill on all those wounded by Lagos State Government in these two incidents Adequate compensation to all labour leaders over their criminalbrutalizationand detained at Panti over peaceful workers protest in 2001. Compensation to Mrs.Lucy Offiong, then state secretary civil service union over her brutalization, unlawful detention in PantiYaba and eventual loss of her pregnancy Adequate compensation by Lagos State government to the Adigun Popoola’s family and dependents Full restoration of our human and democratic rights to peaceful protest, right to dissent against bad government policies Never again shall this barbarism, crude and naked use of power, abuse of office, gross and systematic human rights abuse reminiscent of dark days of military dictatorship rare its ugly head again in Lagos State or any part of Nigeria for that matter
Many Thanks
Yours Faithfully
Ayodele Akele
Email:[email protected]

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