lt gen tukur yusufu buratai 0 Lekki tollgate massacre: 100 CSOs ask Buhari to immediately sack Buratai, others
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Lekki tollgate massacre: 100 CSOs ask Buhari to immediately sack Buratai, others

A coalition of 100 civil society organizations has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the Chief of Army Staff following the killing of unarmed protesters Tuesday evening at Lekki Tollgate.

Besides, the group asked the president to immediately order the suspension of the Nigerian Army’s newly launched Operation Crocodile Smile just as it urged soldiers to use a non-kinetic approach to engage protesters

Reacting to ongoing developments in the country triggered by the Lekki killings, the group in a statement in Abuja, also tasked the president to sack the entire service chiefs as well as constitute an independent commission of inquiry to unravel the killings and bring alleged perpetrators to book.

The statement was signed by Prof Ibrahim Alkali for Coalitions Against Injustice in Africa; Dr. Hassan Baba Khalid, for Centre on Equity and Human Rights Africa; Prof P. O. Okeke for Action Against Bad Governance;  Mr. Kolawole Adesina for Citizens  Watch Forum and Rev. Dr. Paul Kaigama for Centre for Peace and Good Governance, on behalf of others.

While regretting that the peaceful protests meant to draw the attention of authorities to take action on certain fault lines in governance was hijacked by some unscrupulous elements to feather their selfish interests, the coalition also said: “the launch of Operation Crocodile Smile by the Nigerian Army and subsequent use of the kinetic approach in engaging the protesters by men of the Nigerian Army was the  most reprehensible.”

“It is unfortunate that this action which is not acceptable in any form in a civil society regrettably resulted in the killing of armless protesters at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos. This ugly development no doubt has inflamed passion among the people and thus escalated tension in all parts of the country at the moment,” it said.

According to the coalition, “The resultant effect of this is the ongoing destruction of private and public infrastructures across the country today.”

“Having viewed the development closely, we wish to categorically condemn the action of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai.

“We call on President Muhammad Buhari, to as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, immediately order the immediate suspension of Operation Crocodile Smile. We ask that he follows this up with the sack of the Chief of Army Staff in particular and all the current service chiefs, in general, to pave way for a new and efficient security architecture.

“As we observe, for Nigerians to trust the president and believe him that the soldiers acted on their own, he must not only immediately sack the Chief of Army Staff and all the officers concerned but also immediately hand them over for prosecution.

“We believe that taking this first step will calm frayed nerves and restore the peoples’ confidence once more in his ability to provide them the desired security,” it said.

The full statement read:” We have noted with concerns the protests by Nigerians calling for the disbandment of SARS and total reform of the Nigeria Police Force in the last one week. It is regrettable that the peaceful protests meant to draw the attention of authorities to the much-needed reform in many areas of governance was hijacked by some unscrupulous elements to feather their selfish interests. These fifth columnists sponsored hoodlums to unleash mayhem on unarmed protesters.

“Our coalition, consisting of 100 civil society organizations after an extensive and painstaking deliberation on events trailing the protests, wish to express our disappointment on the orgy of violence that have trailed the protests so far in the country.

“More so, we wish to say that the launch of Operation Crocodile Smile by the Nigerian Army at a time like this was not the best. More so, the use of the kinetic approach in engaging the protesters by men of the Nigerian Army was the  most reprehensible.”

“It is unfortunate that this action which is not acceptable in any form in a civil society regrettably resulted in the killing of armless protesters at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos.

”This ugly development no doubt has inflamed passion among the people and thus escalated tension in all parts of the country at the moment.

“The resultant effect of this is the ongoing destruction of private and public infrastructures across the country today.

“Having viewed the development closely, we wish to categorically condemn the action of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai.

“We call on President Muhammad Buhari, to as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, immediately order the immediate suspension of Operation Crocodile Smile.

”We urge him to follow this up with the sack of the Chief of Army Staff in particular and all the current service chiefs, in general, to pave way for a new and efficient security architecture.

“As we observe, for Nigerians to trust the president and believe him that the soldiers acted on their own, he must not only immediately sack the Chief of Army Staff and all the officers concerned but also immediately hand them over for prosecution.

“We believe that taking this first step will calm frayed nerves and restore the peoples’ confidence once more in his ability to provide them the desired security.

“We urge the president to immediately constitute an independent judicial commission of inquiry made up of eminent Nigerians, the youths, civil society organizations, to investigate the killing of innocent Nigerian protesters demanding for reforms at Lekki Tollgate allegedly by soldiers from 65 battalion Nigeria Army with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.

“We also ask that the president immediately constitute a fact-finding committee to ascertain the exact number of protesters that lost their lives and compensate families appropriately.

“On the other hand, we want the Nigerian youths to be focused on the struggle for a better Nigeria devoid of political leanings. They should refrain from destroying what we already have as a nation. Peaceful and non-violent protests have proven to be the most effective all over the world. It is the strength of democratic tenets.

“We call on the Federal Government to ensure genuine police reform as well as ensuring that the lives of the citizens and those living in Nigeria are safeguarded. The current situation should not be allowed to degenerate into anarchy.

“We also urge the security agencies to live up to their expectations in securing the country at this critical time of our nation’s history.

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