By Seye Olumide
•YCE, NCFront condemn attack on protesters
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has condemned what it described as premeditated killing of peaceful Nigerian protesters with the “kind of force that has yet to be seen deployed against the Boko Haram insurgency by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
IN a similar vein, the National Consultative Front (NCFront) flayed the Federal Government for allegedly unleashing a “combination of hoodlums’ brutality and state terror on the peaceful protesters in a desperate ploy to undermine, clampdown and scuttle the protests.”
Also blaming the government, Secretary General, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, said the assault on marchers at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos was barbaric.
He said the federal and state government must be held responsible for the “genocide”.
SMBLF, in a statement signed by Chief EK Clark (South South), Chief Ayo Adebanjo (South West), Chief John Nwodo (South East) and Dr. Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt), said the onslaught that claimed scores of lives across cities on Tuesday, October, 20, was orchestrated in a most despotic manner, “aimed at smashing the #EndSARS protests that have been in the order of constitutionally recognised right to peaceful protests.”
The forum said the Buhari’s regime, “behaving like a junta that does not brook any opposition”, allegedly “started sponsoring thugs against the protesters until Tuesday when it removed all gloves.”
It further claimed: “At Lekki Tollgate in Lagos that was the Tiananmen Square of the crackdown, solders openly opened fire on protesters, killing them and carting away their bodies. Eyewitness reports say the solders allegedly switched off lights in the area, as well as the CCTV cameras before they started the sporadic shootings.
“The gruesome killings were a reflection of what dictators do with ethnic militia which Buhari has turned our security forces to in the last five years – which is part of his atrocities – we are currently challenging in court.
“The police killed several other protesters in Mushin area and other parts of the state.”
In another statement, Head of Secretariat NCFront, Olawale Okunniyi, said from the evidence compiled so far, “the Nigerian state and governments have been exposed as being very reckless and irresponsible in their desperation to scuttle the peaceful protest of the Nigerian youths, resulting in unprovoked maiming and killing of hundreds of peaceful protesters and defenceless Nigerians nationwide.”
The statement read in part: “The NCFront wishes to condemn in the strongest terms, the unstatesmanly panic and jitters betrayed by the Nigerian state and governments in resorting to conspiracy, blackmail and brutal force to discredit and scuttle the popular peaceful protest of the Nigerian people spearheaded by the EndSARS protesters.”
The movement urged the international community, especially the United Nations, to probe the “human rights crimes committed by the Nigerian government against peaceful and defenceless citizens of Nigeria.”
It also called on well-meaning citizens to rise against the “latest state brutality and terror in Nigeria.”
Olajide said the international community should hold the Nigerian government accountable for all “lives lost in this protest.”
According to him, “I strongly condemned in strong words, military use of live bullets on the protesters. I wonder how military would have been drafted into any state without the consent of the governor.”
Olajide, however, urged the campaigners to dialogue with the National Assembly for a brand new people’s constitution.