The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has called for an international inquiry into the killing and maiming of peaceful #ENDSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos, on Tuesday.
CAPPA, in reaction to the Lekki toll gate shootings and similar incidents across the country that led to yet to be ascertained number of deaths, said the situation was deplorable and requires urgent intervention.
In a statement issued in Lagos CAPPA said: “The disturbing images of military men mowing down peaceful and harmless #EndSARS protesters is totally uncivil and unacceptable.
“Perpetrators of this premeditated murder must be identified and brought to book.”
In the statement by Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes, CAPPA’s Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “We are still in shock and deeply saddened that the Nigerian government decided to draft trigger-happy soldiers to forcefully suppress youths waving Nigerian flags and demanding reforms that would be beneficial to all Nigerians, including the soldiers themselves.”
Oluwafemi pointed out that with ample evidence from the live feed from the scene of the mayhem, Nigerians have every reason to doubt government sincerity in addressing the situation.
He added that since the protesters in Lekki have been converging they have been very civil and organised in their occupation of the toll gate, hence the attacks were totally unwarranted.
“Instead of the carnage they unleashed on peaceful and harmless youths, we would have expected the government to look instead into allegations backed by audiovisuals, of thugs working side by side their own security forces to portray the #ENDSARS protests as violent and politically motivated,” he added.
The CAPPA boss was particularly piqued by the fact that those who rode to power on the mantra of protests permitted under a democracy, now urge the use of extreme force to dissuade peaceful protesters.
He frowned at Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s denial of deaths in his public broadcast in the early hours of Wednesday, cautioning that attempts to deceive Nigerians was capable of further incensing the already bitter public, especially those who have lost their loved ones in the last one week.
He said it will also cast doubts about anything meaningful coming out from the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the state government.
He reminded the Federal Government and the Lagos State government that the right to protest, which accompanies freedom of expression is guaranteed under section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution, hence the government was counteracting the laws it is supposed to guard.
“The present administration at the centre and government at all levels must not only obey the laws, they must also uphold the civic freedoms enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
“They must show seriousness by honouring the legitimate demands of the #ENDSARS protesters which are in perfect sitting with what Nigerians have over the years been demanding.
“The gruesome murder of protesters that we have seen, read and heard in the news and social media is totally unacceptable.
“We urge the entire human rights community to resist attempts to instill fear in Nigerians using tactics that only happened in the military era.
“We demand a probe of the entire incidents and it must be international in nature because the Nigerians system has been compromised,” he insisted.