The report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on Lekki Toll Gate shooting incident and cases of Police brutality as well as human rights violations has indicted the Nigerian Army and Police of complicity in the death of unarmed protesters at Lekki Toll Gate!
Indeed, like I once opined, the bullet of the Oligarchy targeted at the youth fell our emperors of oppression and not the youth! The lies and propaganda that has sustained Buhari’s hold on power met their water loo at the Lekki “Freedom” Gate!
Endsars, a phenomenal movement of the Nigerian youth against bad governance started like a child’s play with an # tag campaign online, it became the rallying point of the youthful oppressed demography of Nigerian populace, the age bracket between 18 and 35 who apparently hold the ace of our political game but have never put it to use. Their capacity to fund to power any candidate of their choice has been proven by the commitment to Big Brother Naija. They will be later known as “Soro soke generation”, having demanded of the Governor to raise his voice during one of their engagements with him while the protest was on going!
Fed up with the hostilities and harassments their peers were subjected to by Security Agents, they chose to bring their exasperations to the attention of the global Community. For whatever reasons, like a revolution in its time, every known tactics that has stopped such protests in the past failed!
The fear of Government was later revealed when Muhammadu accused them of wanting to overthrow his Government, hence they were dealt with like coup plotters!
The unfortunate incident was followed by series of denials, not a single tier of Government nor their agency involved took responsibility!
Memory of the blood stained flag of the massacre was renewed at the first anniversary, with Nigerian youths and their parent promising never to forget!
Hanging in the balance however is what the truth of the whole scenario will be based on the findings of the Panel. Lekki will now remain a date of gory in the annals of citizens’ right to peaceful protests in Nigeria, a day of blood when youths with Nigerian flags in their hands, singing the National Anthem were shot at by the Army. Who commanded this carnage is the question on every lip, though we are yet to find an answer, not even from the commander in chief of the armed forces, who later indirectly admitted he ordered the army to shoot down coup plotters!
The report was presented on the day the former Governor of Lagos State, now Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who came to the scene of the massacre, dramatically to remove the video of the footage irresponsibly admitted that he couldn’t remember where he kept the tape thus confirming the conclusion of the Panel that attempts were made to hamper her findings by the officials of LCC (Lekki Concession Company), who were basically excitatory at turning over some useful and vital information/evidence as requested by the Panel and Forensic experts engaged by the Panel, even where such information and evidences were by the company’s admission, available!
It manipulated the incomplete CCTV video footage of the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of October 20, 2020, which it tendered before the Panel!
Police brutality has become part of official dealing of policing in Nigeria through an arm of the force Known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS), They kill and maim at will!
This arm of the police seems to have disdain for young Nigerians! Being a youth was practically a crime to this unit of the police!
Trendy look, fashionable hair styles, good cars are enough reasons to brutalise any young person without regard for gender. Cases of rapes of young girls are traumatic memories of this unit of the Nigeria police force!
In this tech driving world where data is life and internet presence is key to influence in whatever you are involved in legally, it is practically impossible to be a student without owning a laptop! It is to them in learning today what hardcover note book was to us in our days back in school, but the SARS arm of the police wouldn’t see nice phones, i-pads and laptops with young people, they will automatically criminalise them!
This situation was what the Endsars was meant to address, when Nigerian youths got together and rose in unison to say enough is enough!
They protested the continued harassment of their peers by government!
The Endsars movement symbolises a generation to which Nigerians must look in hope of freedom from oppressive political class and their bad Governance. They are a people among us who have risen above ethno-religious sentiments that the political class always plough to harvest our votes!
They are young but determined to reorder the fixed sequence of events in favour of the people against the status quo of elites’ benefits!
At Lekki Toll Gate they spoke loud and clear on the need for young people to exercise their civic and political rights against injustice and demanded reform of Government policies that will guarantee good Governance and better life for all citizens!
Panel’s Report gave recognition to the potential of the Nigerian youth and the emerging leadership they constitute going forward to 2023!
Development of more robust engagements with the youth, the Panel recommended, they must also be apologised to publicly for the killing, injury inflicted on them and trauma they were subjected to and of course the memorialisation of Lekki Toll Gate, which for me should be Lekki Freedom Gate!
The youth for me won when the Panel demanded for an holistic Police Reform covering welfare, training and proper equiping of policemen and their work environment, my mind went to the baby and the bath water of police equipment fund thrown out of the window with Obasanjo without a batting of our eyelids!
Sanctioning of the officers of the Nigerian Army and Police officers respectively who participated in shooting, injuring and killing of unarmed protesters waving national flag and singing our anthem is sacrosanct in the spirit of patriotism to the nation and justice to victims!
Beyond biases for Tinubu is the protocol of jurisprudence that can’t join him in matters he is not officially privy to, many may angry that his name didn’t surface on the indictment list of the Panel. Sanwo-Olu is the elected Governor of Lagos State, and Buhari is the President of Nigeria. The duo are answerable to us in this matter. The law has no sentiments and I will advise us to tow the path of law in our future engagement with Tinubu!
Facts, we all must push in our political engagements, same, we must encourage all Nigerians in our circle of influence to embrace!
May the wishes of Nigerian youths for a systemic society where things work and all can be free to express themselves, contribute their creativities and live their dreams come to pass!
Now is time for the youths to get together and organize themselves within the ambit of the law like they did for the Endsars to lead the movement for the abolishment of 1999 constitution and end the nightmare of bad Governance! To the youths I commend us in the search for a new Nigeria!
Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder, BID as fondly called is an agent of change his massages are revival and revolution focused.