2020 ONE MONTH AFTER LEKKI SHOOTING: WE REMEMBER OUR FALLEN HEROES
LIES OF THE BUHARI GOVERNMENT MUST NOT PREVAIL; WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF BRUTALITY
ALL PARTAKERS IN THE KILLING, MAIMING AND HARASSMENT OF PROTESTERS MUST BE MADE TO FACE THE MUSIC
WORKING PEOPLE AND YOUTH MUST RESIST CONTINUED ATTACKS ON DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS AND ALL ANTI-POOR POLICIES
The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) seizes this opportunity to condole with the victims of state repression during and after the ENDSARS protest. We remember all the martyrs who were fallen by the bullets of the Nigerian Police, military and sponsored government thugs across the country.
Most importantly, we demand justice and compensation for all those killed and injured during the protest as well as those, especially poor shopkeepers and working class elements, who lost their trade and property to the state-provoked carnage which unfolded after October 20 and earlier in Abuja with the destruction of personal cars. We also demand the immediate and unconditional release of all innocent Nigerians arrested in typical police raids in the wake of the riots even when ample evidence showed they had nothing to do with the carnage.
Now since October 20, rather than abate, repression has increased. People linked to the peaceful protests have had their passports seized and bank accounts frozen. This is happening while the government is giving assurance that the judicial panels set up by state governments across the country should be trusted to give justice. How contradictory! The basic rights to freedom of expression and association are now under attack such that activists cannot even hold meetings without the police attempting to break it up. A mass meeting called by Afrobeat Musician and Fela Anikulapo’s son, Seun Kuti, to take place at the Afrikan Shrine was banned by the Lagos police and on the day of the planned meeting, the police sealed off the venue. Also in Oyigbo Rivers State, there was a military occupation at the instance of Governor Wike with attendant serious allegation of killings by soldiers. This is a clear signal of a further descent of the Buhari government into a civilian capitalist dictatorship.
We condemn the increased repression and call on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), civil society organizations, youth groups, socialist and all pro-masses’ groups to also publicly condemn this state of affairs which indicates a throwback to the dark days of military absolutism. More importantly, the above-mentioned organizations must begin earnest preparation for the building of a broad and united campaign to begin to fightback against state repression, defense of democratic rights and resistance to all anti-poor capitalist policies of the government like deregulation and privatization and their consequential manifestation in perennial fuel price hike, hike in electricity tariff, rising cost of living, unemployment and mass poverty in the midst of abundance.
As far as we are concerned, new investigative documentary by the CNN as well as Premium Times investigative report and testimonies of countless protesters who witnessed the events of October 20 at Lekki tollgate and Alausa in Ikeja returns a singular verdict: that the murderers of October 20, in other words, the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Sanwo-olu have blood on their hands. It does not matter whether the highly prejudiced Lagos judicial panel returns a different verdict as we expect it would. Both individuals already and for all times stand condemned in the eyes of the world and the minds of millions of working people and youth. This is because even while the Government, in its familiar but criminal manner, is denying any involvement in the shooting of protesters, all available evidence including the CNN documentary are showing otherwise despite attempts to cover them up. The CNN documentary confirmed without any iota of doubt not just the presence of the military at Lekki toll gate but that shots were fired directly at protesters by men of the Nigerian army.
It is an indisputable fact that on October 20, 2020, men of the Nigerian army were ordered by the Government to unleash brutal attack on protesters; this is after the Lagos Government had declared a curfew just few hours into the day without even an opportunity for the people to make any form of preparation. Before October 20, the government had already made many vicious and desperate attempts to clamp down on the peaceful protest by unleashing thugs to attack and kill protesters. In Abuja, an innocent protester, Anthony, was stabbed to death by some of the thugs while they destroyed vehicles of protesters. Likewise in Osun state, many protesters were injured by paid thugs of the state, similar atrocity was recorded in Lagos.
The campaign of lies which trailed the Lekki shooting and killing furthers shows the deceitful nature of the APC/Buhari government and its anti-people character. Despite coming on air, in a shameful declaration of war on human rights, to say that he is ready to concede to the demands of the EndSARS movement, Buhari has done nothing of note, not even an auspicious sign that something is being done. Instead, what we have had is campaign of lies from authorities, even the panel of enquiry constituted by the Lagos government has been turned into a drama session.
It is our belief in the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) that there are enough evidence to begin to persecute all those found culpable in the killing and maiming of protesters if the government is serious about meeting any demand. Apparently, Buhari and state governors like Sanwo-olu and Wike are culpable in all of these attacks, therefore it is only an independent panel of inquiry or truth commission formed and composed by elected representatives of youths, workers, professional bodies like NBA and NMA, and the oppressed that can ensure justice prevails.
This campaign for justice however needs to be linked with the building of a mass movement against all anti-poor policies like fuel price hike and electricity tariff for the overthrow of capitalism and enthronement of a workers and poor peoples’ government armed with socialist policies.
Adaramoye Michael Lenin
YRC National Coordinator
Francis Nwapa Watch
YRC National Secretary