Following the submission of the report by the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the Lekki shootings on the hills of the #EndSARS protest of October 20, 2020, Sustainable Initiatives for Nurturing Growth (SING) Nigeria has demanded for the prosecution of the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the commanding Officer of the 65 Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel, S.O Bello and other officials behind the order that led to the now established “massacre” at the tollgate.
The organisation made this position in a press release signed by its Communications Manager, Victor Agi, in response to the judicial panel report, stating that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed should apologise to Nigerians for claiming that there were no killings at the Lekki incidence.
The statement read in part: “Beyond the paper indictment of authorities involved in the October 20, 2020, Lekki incidence, the government, in the interest of justice and fairness, should publicly prosecute all those that were part of the ill-fated incidence at the toll gate, also implementing all the recommendations by the Judicial Panel. We also demand that the identities of the person(s) who gave the order for the military attack and killing of peaceful protesters be made public and that the perpetrators be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
It also read: “May we use this opportunity to also remind the government and authorities that public offices are positions of trust, and that public confidence is built on honest communication between the government and citizenry. The earlier claims by the federal government through the Ministry of Information and Culture that there were no shootings at Lekki, and that no Nigerian youth was killed during the unfortunate incident, against available records by eyewitness and international observers, has been thrown out by this report.
“Continuing in this path would further erode trust and public confidence; it is hoped that the government would issue a public apology to Nigerian youths and victims of the Lekki shootings in order to pacify the wounds caused by government insistence to the contrary”, Victor said.
While describing the report as “legal stamps on the already circulated evidences that authorities went overboard to interrupt citizens’ democratic and constitutional processes crudely”, the organisation noted that the submissions by the panel is a clear vindication of the position of unarmed Nigerian youths that they were indeed shot at by officers of the Nigerian Army.
Victor also stated that authorities must have it at the back of their minds, that Nigeria is a democratic society guided by the provisions of the constitution, and referred the government to section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) “which both guarantee right to freely assemble and associate with other persons, with no restrictions.”
“To this extent, we reiterate our position and strongly condemn the gestapo actions of the Nigerian Army which the Judicial Panel confirmed were mobilised to the scene of the incident by the Lagos State Government”, Victor said.
The organisation said that it will continue to advocate and support government and stakeholders’ efforts towards ensuring a peaceful society, “where democratic tenets are respected and upheld by both the leaders and the led.”