Civil society organisations (CSOs), yesterday, charged the Federal Government and security agencies to desist forthwith from harassing and intimidating victims of #EndSARS protests, especially those who testified at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, under the aegis of Civil Society Voices for #EndSARS Victims, they lamented that Lagos State, which has been the epicentre of the struggle against structural injustice in the country and centre of the repression of dissent from the tragedy of the #EndSARS protests, failed to live up to expectations this time.
In her speech, Zikora Ibeh of Space4Change berated the government and its agencies for attacking and threatening Kamson Ibeh, Dabira Oluwa, Olu Adegboruwa and Wiseman Kunle, among others, on November 21 and November 22, 2021, respectively, describing the development as an affront on Nigerians in a democratic setting.
She said: “A prominent Nigerian elder statesman and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, once said that the Federal Government was harbouring a nest of killers. We hope the same will not be said of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the Lagos State Government.
“We stand by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters’ report because it is a bold and objective reflection of the malfeasance that has characterised the behaviour of security forces over the years.”
Ibeh, who spoke in the company of Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Achike Chude of JAF, CAPPA Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, as well as Soweto Hassan and representatives of the various groups, demanded a thorough investigation into the attack on Kamson and threats to Dabiri Oluwa and other activists, adding: “We expect quick prosecution of the perpetrators of the attacks once they are unmasked.”
The groups also demanded immediate prosecution of individuals indicted for human rights abuses and killings before and after the October 20, 2020 shootings at the Lekki Toll-Gate in Lagos.
“All those involved in the sordid and criminal event of October 20, 2020, should be punished in accordance with provisions of the law. This would include the army, police, government officials and personnel of the Lekki Concession Company. Corporate sanction should also be considered to serve as a statement against impunity in the country.
“There should be adequate compensations for all victims of the #EndSARS protests in the hands of security operatives. The Lekki Toll-Gate should be designated as a national monument in celebration of the heroism of the Nigerian youths who, in an unprecedented and patriotic manner, stood up to be counted on behalf of the country,” the groups said.
They, however, demanded that the commercialisation of the Lekki Toll-Gate, which was the major motivation for the mayhem unleashed on Nigerian youths by the army and police, should be stopped permanently, as a testimony to the fact that profit must never attract a higher premium than human life, among other requests.