Mighty Coalition Gathering to Sweep Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari Government
The civil uprising that has taken over peace and tranquillity in Nigeria is taking a new twist with the battle now shifting to the rank and file of the legislative arm of the government.
A nationwide protest code-named #EndSARS has engulfed the most populous nation on the Black Continent in the past two weeks, initially demanding an end to the excesses and brutal actions of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police. The agitation has led to myriad other demands that the government has been tasked to solve as a matter of emergency.
The protest, however, turned violent with many states of the federation declaring curfews to curtail the dangerous spread of violence. No fewer than 49 people have been killed since the protests began. These include youths massacred by the army on the night of Tuesday, October 20 at the Lekki toll plaza in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of the country.
“We are enraged by reports of shooting of unarmed, defenceless protesters by military officers at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos after the lights were turned off and CCTV cameras put off. We call on the President to give an immediate order to all security agencies to stop shooting at protesters” said a group of Nigerian lawmakers who cut across the geopolitical zones of the country in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In a statement made available to Timescape Magazine Wednesday afternoon, the lawmakers, 36 in number said: “We are appalled by the reliance on force, intimidation and manipulation by government and security agencies in attempts to break the protest rather than utilizing globally recognized methods of policing in a democratic society.
“We condemn this action by government and security agencies. This is inexcusable and totally unacceptable. There is no justification whatsoever for security officials who are paid with taxpayers’ money to kill unarmed protesters.
“We call on the President to address the nation and take concrete actions to respond to the demands of the protesters. He should commit in words and action to respect and protect the right to protest. He should publicly invite the leaders of the protesters to an urgent dialogue while assuring them of their safety and that outcomes would be expeditiously implemented.
“We demand that the perpetrators of this dastardly act and all those who gave the orders should be brought to account in a transparent and accountable manner. We ask the President to immediately identify all the officers involved and prosecute them for murder.
“We also condemn the attack and burning of properties of innocent citizens and government.
“We call on government to respond expeditiously to the demands of the protesters and other lingering issues of addressing the security architecture of the country and addressing revelations of corruption in many government agencies.”
“We are legislators committed to setting agenda for progressive laws in Nigeria; initiating progressive laws and speaking against anti-people bills in the National Assembly.
“We have followed carefully the #ENDSARS protests by young people across Nigeria for the past two weeks and the killings in several cities including Jos, Kaduna, Abuja, Benin and Lagos.
“We note that in the recent past, this has been the most elaborate protest that has united young Nigerians across geography, ethnic nationality and religion.
“We observe that the protest goes beyond the excesses of the police formation called Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The protests are as a result of frustration by Nigerian youths who have seen governments at all level fail to provide public goods and opportunities for them to lead a meaningful life.
“We recognize that over the years, socio-economic indicators in Nigeria have remained precarious. The Fragile states index has consistently classified Nigeria among the 15 worst states that are failing across the world.
“As patriots, we will not keep quiet while the country is plunged into crisis under any guise.
A stitch in time saves nine,” the lawmakers concluded.
Among the lawmakers are Senators Olu Adetunmbi, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, Tolu Odebiyi, (Dr) Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru and Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, OON and a school of deputies from the House of Representative.
Hannibal Uwaifo, President of the African Bar Association (C) Cameroo-Info.Net
On the heels of the lawmakers, the African Bar Association has issued a release warning that it would file criminal complaints against the Nigerian Federal Government before international legal jurisdictions for ordering the use of deadly weapons on unarmed civilians exercising their right to peaceful demonstrations in Lagos.
According to the statement signed by the Association’s President, Hannibal Uwaifo, “The African Bar Association is deeply saddened by the actions of the Nigerian Government in drafting soldiers to forcefully suppress the ongoing #ENDSARS protest in the country”.
Elsewhere in the statement, the Association expresses disappointment at the conduct of the government of President Buhari in unflattering terms: “The African Bar Association is totally disappointed in the government of Nigeria which instead of wholly addressing the germane issues raised by the protesting youths chose to adopt Gestapo tactics infiltrating the ranks of peaceful protesters with hired mercenaries and thugs who attacked the protesters in order to create a scene of chaos”.
Church leaders across the country have been wondering aloud why the President, Mr. Buhari has this far neither made a public address to the nation nor offered to meet the protest leaders.