Thousands of Togolese living in various West African countries Thursday staged a protest at the Lagos, Nigeria liaison office of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS against the attempts by President Faure Gnassigbe to seek a fourth term in office.
Led by Human Rights Activist, Foussena Djagba the protesters who arrived Lagos in the early hours of the day demanded that ECOWAS member states should intervene to stop Gnassigbe from returning to power.
The protesters who marched from Tafewa Balewa Square, TBS, to the ECOWAS building insisted that Gnassigbe’s family which has ruled Togo for over 59 years has plunged the country into economic hardship.
Some of the placards carried by the protesters read: “No to Fourth term for Faure”, We want Freedom from Gnassingbe and His Children”, “52 Years is Enough”, “We Want Freedom in Togo”, “Transition for Reforms”, etc.
Part of their demands include containment of the army in the barracks, release of detainees from peaceful demonstrations and all political detainees, freedom of movement and security of leader of the Pan-African National Party, PNP, Tikpi Salifu Atchadam and establishment of a transitional body responsible for constitutional, institutional and electoral reforms.
Spokesperson of the group, Ms Foussena Djagba, told journalists that Togo was the only country in West Africa that have not enjoyed constitutional transition of power from one government to another.
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She said : “After 38 years in power, Gnassingbe Eyadema died in 2005. He was replaced in authority by his son Faure Gnassingbe. After serious and massive human rights violations, an agreement was signed between his government and the opposition in 2006.
“The Comprehensive Political Agreement (CPA) provides for constitutional, institutional and electoral reforms for the normalization of political life in our country. This agreement was not honour by Faure’s government as no reforms were made in our country.
“Not even 27 dialogues allow Togolese people to get out of this socio-political crisis. The bad faith of our government is well documented. This is why we say no, enough is enough.”
Foussena insisted that as the 2020 election approaches, Togolese were prepared to damn the consequence of ensuring that Faure Gnassingbe did not get a fourth term as president.
She pleaded with ECOWAS leaders and most especially Nigeria to intervene on the matter to avoid a major crisis in Togo.