SING Nigeria welcomes, as the vindication of the position of unarmed Nigerian youths at Lekki tollgate that live bullets were shot at on October 20, 2020, by officers of the Nigerian Army. We consider the report as legal stamps on the already circulated evidence that authorities went overboard to interrupt citizens’ democratic and constitutional processes crudely.
As a democratic nation, government officials should, at all times, be guided by the provision of 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.
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 through honest communication. The 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 incidence, 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 on the contrary.
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 they be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
As an organisation, and in line with our good governance and accountability thematic area, we will continue to advocate and support government and stakeholders’ efforts at ensuring a peaceful society, where democratic tenets are respected by both the leader and the led.