The Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Association of Nigeria has demanded an end to the killing of Nigerian youths calling for an end to police brutality.
HKSAAN said this in a statement titled, ‘Stop the Attack on Nigerian Youths’ signed by its President, Frank Nweke, who is a former Minister of Information.
The association said over the past 12 days, Nigerians in different parts of the country had engaged in peaceful demonstrations to express their outrage and demand an end to the abusive actions that the police and its Special Anti Robbery Squad Unit, had meted upon citizens, especially young Nigerians.
It, therefore, expressed shock over the use of lethal force to quell protests at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza on Tuesday.
The statement read in part, “Earlier in the evening of Tuesday, October 20, 2020, we were horrified to watch, live, on social media, as Nigeria’s security forces unleashed live bullets on peaceful protestors at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, with yet to be determined casualties.
“On behalf of the entire membership of the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Association of Nigeria, we offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the dead and pray for the repose of the souls of their loved ones.
“We also call upon our brave and courageous compatriots who are rightfully asserting their right to life and improved quality of life as citizens of Nigeria to restrain from further acts of violence and through dialogue work with the government to address the very legitimate demands they are making.”
The group said citizens’ right to protest is the hallmark of responsible and democratic governments all over the world.
It added that turning weapons against Nigerian citizens for asserting their right to life undermines the legitimacy of the Nigerian state.
“We, therefore, call on the government of Nigeria to immediately call off the security forces and stop the killings. Similarly, the government is encouraged to reinforce its commitment to dialogue and to work assiduously to reform Nigeria’s security services and overall security architecture, strengthen the justice system and institutions, for the benefit of all citizens,” HKSAAN stated.
The group said it would continue in solidarity with millions of Nigerians in the protest against unjust actions by members of the security services.
“We urge the federal and state governments to put in place adequate reforms that will address police brutality, entrench good governance and guarantee the basic rights of justice and equality, which should be the legitimate entitlement of all Nigerians,” the association said.