Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka has condemned the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate on the evening of Tuesday October 20.
Soyinka in a statement released on Wednesday October 21, said his enquiry so far has revealed that Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state did not invite in the Army and did not complain of a ‘breakdown in law and order’.
The Nobel Laureate stated that the federal government has chosen to act in an authoritarian manner and has inflicted a near incurable wound on the community psyche. Soyinka who raised an alarm of Nigeria being back to the “Abacha days”, also alleged that the army has replaced the notorious SARS unit.
The statement read;
“It is absolutely essential to let this government know that the Army has now replaced SARS in the demonic album of the protesters.
“My enquiry so far indicates that the Lagos governor did not invite in the Army, did not complain of a ‘breakdown in law and order’. Nevertheless, the Centre has chosen to act in an authoritarian manner and has inflicted a near incurable wound on the community psyche.
“Need I add that, on arrival in Abeokuta, my home town, I again had to negotiate a roadblock? That went smoothly enough. I expected it, and have no doubt that more are being erected as this is being written.
“COVID-19 has battered the Nigerian economy – such as it is – for over eight months. Of course, it is not easy to bring down COVID under a hail of bullets – human lives are easier target, and there are even trophies to flaunt as evidence of victory – such as the blood-soaked Nigerian flag that one of the victims was waving at the time of his murder.
“It was in stark contrast to the inclusivity of the protesting ‘family of common cause’ of earlier days.
“All inherent beauty of instant bonding and solidarity evaporated. At the block just before the Lagos Secretariat, the protesters proved the most recalcitrant. In the end, they exacted from me just the one offering to the rites of passage – I could sense it coming — I had to come down from the car and addressed them. I did.
“Little did they know what was churning in my mind: This is not real. This is Back to Abacha – in grotesque replay.
“Convoke Town Hall meetings as a matter of urgency. 24-hr Curfews are not the solution. Take over the security of your people with whatever resources you can rummage. Substitute community self-policing based on Local Councils, to curb hooligan infiltration and extortionist and destructive opportunism.
“We commiserate with the bereaved and urge state governments to compensate material losses, wherever. To commence any process of healing at all – dare one assume that this is the ultimate destination of desire? — the Army must apologize, not merely to the nation but to the global community – the facts are indisputable – you, the military, opened fire on unarmed civilians.
“There has to be structured restitution and assurance that such aberrations will not again be recorded.
“Then both governance and its security arms can commence a meaningful, lamentably overdue dialogue with society. Do not attempt to dictate — Dialogue.”
Police re-arrest four prisoners who escaped from Edo prison
Four prisoners who escaped from Oko Prison during the #EndSARS crisis have been re-arrested by the police.
The suspects were paraded at the Nigeria Police Force tactical unit in Abuja, alongside others who were arrested for various offences bordering on armed robbery, car theft, unlawful possession of weapons, illegal dealing and selling of weapons.
The prisoners who escaped from the facility have been identified as Adebayo Opeyemi, Oloride Benjamin, Peter Osas, Hudu Musa and Frank Odion.
While Mr Opeyemi is a dismissed soldier, Mr Benjamin was convicted and sentenced to death and Mr Musa had nine months remaining to serve out his prison term.
It was gathered that the suspects have snatched a total of four vehicles since their escape. Mr Benjamin on the other hand, snatched a vehicle 30mins after he escaped because he needed to leave Benin City.
Northern Governors are not against disbandment of SARS – Governor Lalong
Governor Simon Lalong has made a clarification on the stance of Northern Governors on the disbandment of controversial police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Lalong who is the chairman of Northern Governors Forum on Wednesday November 18, said they are not against the scrapping of SARS contrary to some misconceptions in some quarters.
“The Northern Governors Forum is not against the disbandment of SARS as misconstrued in some quarters. We rather caution against the blanket condemnation of the police that can erode the confidence and zeal of the hardworking and honest ones in performing their duties of protecting lives and properties.”
Reiterating the region’s commitment in tackling the several challenges facing the region, Lalong said the forum will collaborate with Federal Government and security agencies to address the issues of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, and other criminal activities.
“We must tackle the current challenges of insecurity in the region which is dominated by insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, rape, child abuse and trafficking and other conflicts.
“We shall continue to work with the Federal Government and security agencies to tackle crime and criminality. That is why we have supported a comprehensive reform of police architecture in the country.”
CNN releases findings from its independent investigation on Lekki shooting; shares videos of what appears to be soldiers shooting directly at the crowd
CNN has released its findings from an independent investigation carried out on the October 20 shooting incident at the Lekki tollgate.
CNN shared footage of what appears to be soldiers shooting at the #EndSARS protesters who had gathered at the tollgate to press home their demands to end SARS as well as end police brutality.
CNN in its investigation spoke with a man, Elisha Sunday, whose brother, Victor, was killed during the October 20th shooting incident.
The media house also spoke with some of the protesters who were at the scene when the shooting occurred. They claim the soldiers indeed fired shots at them.
The media house also tracked the bullets shells seen at the Toll Gate and the companies that supplied the Nigerian Army Weapons since 2005
Recall Nigeria drew global attention when military men stormed the Lekki toll plaza where #EndSARS protesters gathered and fired gunshots.
Shortly after the incident, Governor Sanwo-Olu in a press conference stated that no sitting governor controls the rules of engagement of the military. On October 26, the governor granted an interview to CNN where he stated that only two deaths were recorded from the incident. He added that he visited the scene the next day and couldn’t find bloodstains.
On the day of the incident, the Nigerian Army took to its Twitter handle to deny claims its personnel was at the scene of the incident.
On October 27, the Army broke its silence and alleged that the Lagos state governor invited them to help quell the violence that erupted after the protest was hijacked by hoodlums. Read here.
Watch the video from CNN’s independent investigation below