Lukman Olabiyi, from Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Two hours after his sombre live broadcast, Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, made a U-turn as he confirmed the death of an EndSARS protester.
On his Tweeter handle, he wrote: “Information reaching us now is that a life was lost at Reddington Hospital due to blunt force trauma to the head. It is an unfortunate and very sad loss. This is an isolated case. We are still investigating if he was a protester.”
The governor, in his live broadcast had said no death was recorded in the Tuesday night attack on protesters at the Lekki toll plaza.
He, however, admitted that soldiers opened fire on #EndSARS protesters and that two critically wounded victims had been operated on and were in stable condition, while others with “mild to moderate” cases were receiving treatments at various hospitals.
“It is relevant to let you know that I have also personally visited the 10 patients at the General Hospital, 11 at Reddington Hospital and four at Vedic Hospital, with mild to moderate injuries as well as the two in intensive care. So far, three patients have been treated and discharged to reunite with their families,” Sanwo-Olu said. His no death claim sparked wild outrage.
The governor attributed the gruesome attack, which has elicited global outrage, to forces beyond his control saying no sitting governor has power to control rule of engagement of the army.
However, the Army has denied its involvement describing the reports as “fake news.’’ On its official twitter handle, @HQNigerianArmy, the army urged the general public to “beware’’ of reports making the rounds alleging that soldiers opened fire on protesters in Lagos.
The army also described reports claiming that Police rejected bodies of protesters brought by soldiers as “fake news.”
Regardless, Sanwo-Olu has vowed to work with the Federal Government and the military to get to the root of the matter
Based on that, he has ordered for the constitution of a five-man Fact-Finding Committee into the Rules of Engagement ordered and adopted by the Army at the protest scene in Lekki.
The committee would be headed by a retired military officer not less than the rank of a General and the report of the committee findings would be presented to the President within two-weeks.
In the broadcast, Sanwo-Olu gave details of what he had done since the beginning of the protest and what the administration was still doing to manage the crisis.
UN calls for end to police brutality, abuses
United Nations (UN)Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has called for an end to police brutality and abuses in the country.
Guterres, in a statement by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, condemned the violent escalation in Lekki, Lagos, which claimed lives and injuries recorded.
He expressed condolences to the bereaved families and wished the injured speedy recovery.
“The Secretary-General is following recent developments in Nigeria and calls for an end to reported police brutality and abuses. He condemns the violent escalation on October 20 in Lagos which resulted in multiple deaths and caused many injuries. He expresses his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. He calls on the Nigerian authorities to investigate these incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable,” Dujarric said.
Guterres urged the security agencies to act at all times with maximum restraint, even as he called on protestors to demonstrate peacefully and to refrain from violence.
200, 000 sign petition against Buhari
Over 200,000 Nigerians have signed a petition calling for the prosecution of the President,Muhammadu Buhari before the International Criminal Court at the Hague, for the Lekki toll gate shooting.
The petition, which is on Change.org, was started by one Kayode Ogunfeibo.
An introduction to the petition read, “Today in Lagos, Nigeria, the Nigerian Army started shooting peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate.
“This is the latest in a long series of human rights abuses in Nigeria and as the Head of State of Nigeria President Mohammadu Buhari should be held directly responsible for this heinous crime against humanity.
“Under no circumstances should civilians be shot by soldiers in a civilised world and the perpetrators including the Army Chief of Staff, General Buratai, should be brought to justice.”
UK parliament to consider petition seeking sanction on FG
The United Kingdom parliament said it would consider a petition asking the country to sanction the Federal Government for human rights abuses over the #EndSARS movement.
The petition on the UK government and parliament’s website accused the government and the police of violating the rights of agitators protesting against police brutality.
It asked the UK to implement sanctions that would “provide accountability for and be a deterrent to anyone involved in violations of human rights.”
IGHALO: I’m sad, heartbroken
Former Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo,has lampooned the Federal Government.
The prolific striker ,in a video in which he was close to tears, accused the Federal Government of killing its own citizens.
“I am sad and heartbroken I don’t know where to start from, I am not the kind of guy that talks about politics but I can’t keep quiet anymore about what is going on back home in Nigeria
“I will say Nigeria government are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens because they are protesting for their rights is uncalled for.
“Today (yesterday) 20-10-20 you people will be remembered as the first government that sends military to the city to start killing their citizens. I am ashamed of this government, we are tired of you guys and can’t take this no more.”
International figures and celebrities including Joe Biden, United States presidential candidate; Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state have condemned the security clampdown.
Biden urges president to engage protesters
Biden, in a statement asked the Nigerian government to engage in dialogue with civil society in order to address citizens’ grievances.
“I urge President Buhari and the Nigerian military to cease the violent crackdown on protesters in Nigeria, which has already resulted in several deaths.
“My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one in the violence. The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy.
“I encourage the government to engage in a good-faith dialogue with civil society to address these long-standing grievances and work together for a more just and inclusive Nigeria.”
Ekweremadu condemns incident
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has condemned the Lekki Tollgate incident.
Ekweremadu in a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, called for justice for everyone, who had fallen victim of government’s actions or inactions in the face of the nationwide protests.
He said rights to peaceful assembly remained guaranteed by the Constitution and any unilateral imposition of curfews was unconstitutional. He, however, stressed the need to arrest and prosecute criminals who had taken advantage of the protests to cause loss of lives and properties. He appealed for calm and restraint by all.
“The events at the EndSARS protest at the Lekki Tollgate and use of maximum force on unarmed protesters last night is another low for our nation and her democracy and should be condemned by men and women of conscience across all political divides.
“Therefore, my heart goes out to the wounded and the families of the dead. Everyone involved in this irrational and horrendous act must be held accountable in order to preserve the sanctity of human lives, our democracy, and what is left of our dignity in the comity of civilised nations,” he said.
In calling for restraint and constitutionalism in dealing with the protests, Ekweremadu said: “Times like this call for dialogue and restraint on the part of government and utmost patriotism and professionalism on the part of those charged with securing lives and property. Anything to the contrary may be tantamount to pouring petrol on a raging inferno.
Address pains of the nation, Babalola tasks Buhari
Founder/Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the pains of the nation.
Babalola stated this agains the backdrop of ongoing EndSARS protests that have spread to all parts of Nigeria. .
“The deployment of soldiers to the streets is not the answer;imposition of curfews is certainly not the answer; use of live bullets and other lethal weapons against protesting youths is not the answer. The killing of protesting youths is also not the answer,” he said.
He said a protest, both in fact and in law, was analogous to a message which an injured toe sends to the brain complaining about unbearable pain.
“The response by the brain and the head is normally to take steps to treat the pain to the toe. Any injured person who refuses to take steps to treat pains to any part of the body does so at his own peril,” Babalola said.
He said President Buhari was the head of the nation and that youths were part the nation.
“ I urge the President as the head to address the youths and offer remedial steps to be taken to alleviate the pains. I remember that as soon as the protests began, I had issued a press release in a similar vein on the issue appealing to the President to please address the issue at that time. I now again plead with him to address the root causes of the pain which the youths are complaining about,” he said.
US issues another security alert to nationals
The United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, has issued another security alert to United States nationals in the country.
In the security alert dated October 21, 2020, made available on the Facebook page of the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, the United States said demonstrations continued across Nigeria, adding that some protests have become violent, and there have been incidents of property destruction.
The United States also said there were also reports of increases in security force presence and intervention in multiple locations throughout the country, including Abuja, Lagos, and other major cities.
“There were multiple reports of shootings overnight in the Lekki area of Lagos. In Abuja, protesters and counter-protesters have moved throughout the city, at times causing traffic gridlock. There have been isolated incidents of violence and vandalism in both cities,” the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria said.