Lekki Tollgate killings: NGO calls on NASS to convene emergency session

 End SARSEndSars Protesters 

…says Int’l community should sanction violators of human rights

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA-A nongovernmental governmental organization, No Too Young To Run Movement, Wednesday, called on National Assembly to convene an emergency session on the killings of EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday evening.

The movement in a statement signed by Cynthia Mbamalu, said NASS should consider the killings of protesters as national emergency that demands urgency in order to arrest the situation since the executive arm is not doing much to address attacks of hoodlums on EndSARS including aggression by security personnel.

The movement said NASS should conduct an investigative public hearing on all reported extrajudicial killings of #EndSARS protesters by security agencies.

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It also decried incessant intimidation, unlawful arrests and detention, extortion, harassment, and wanton killings of Nigerians across the country, especially the Nigerian youth by security agencies in the course of the #EndSARS protest.

The statement recalled that on 20 October 2020 Nigerians and the world watched in horror as armed military officers shot at peaceful and harmless #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, in Lagos state. Based on eyewitness accounts, the shootings left some protesters dead and many more with injuries.

This action by the military is highly reprehensible and threatens the core foundations of our democracy. The rights of citizens to protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right, therefore deploying armed soldiers to shoot at innocent citizens amounts to an assault to the constitution.

The statement also maintained that the youths at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos State on October 20, 2020, were exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly, right to life, right to dignity of a person, and freedom of expression, and that no citizen deserves to die or be injured for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly, which it described as grave injustice to Nigerian youths.

The statement reads in part, “The last two weeks have seen a reawakening of Nigerian youth to fight for a country they can call home. Young people protested and agitated for an end to police brutality and human rights violation.

“These protests are legitimate and constitutional. Nigerian youth constitute the largest demographic of the nation’s population and are the most affected by the abuse and brutality of officers of the security agencies.

“These actions have direct, adverse effects on the wellbeing, safety, productivity and consequently, the economy of our dear nation. Nigeria cannot afford to silence its youth. Nigeria cannot afford to ignore this injustice to the youth.

“As a movement we demand a comprehensive investigation into the shooting of innocent and harmless #ENDSARS protesters by heavily armed soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. This investigation should unravel those culpable including the individual/persons who sanctioned the military operation.

“An immediate withdrawal of the military and other security officers deployed to quell the #EndSARS protesters in Lagos and other states; A national address by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the attacks and killings of protesters by security officers, especially the 20 October 2020 shooting in Lagos state and other states.

“The National Assembly should convene an emergency session to address the Lekki Tollgate killings and as a matter of urgency conduct an investigative public hearing on these reported extrajudicial killings of #EndSARS protesters by security agencies and ensure accountability and justice for the injured and dead protesters.

“The international community sustains its pressure in holding the Nigerian government to account for its commitment to human right protection. International sanctions should be deployed against public officials who violate the Nigerian constitution by assaulting the rights of citizens.”

The movement concluded by rejecting suppression of ongoing protests and state-sponsored violence against young people.

“We mourn with families who have lost loved ones in the course of the #EndSARS protests. We commend millions of Nigerian youths who have remained resolute, against all odds to demand for their rights and make their voices heard.

“Lastly, we call on Nigerian youth to remain peaceful and non-violent as the struggle for a just, equitable and inclusive Nigeria remains alive”, it added.

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