Trump, Ortom, Secondus condemn Lekki Massacres, call for dialogue, urgent probe

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, governor of Benue state, Dr. Samuel Ortom, and the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, have all condemned the killings of peaceful End SARS protesters in Lekki by men of the Nigerian Army.

Trump, Ortom and Secondus in their statements called for dialogue as well as an urgent probes into the Massacres.

President Trump in a statement signed by Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State, to condemn that attack expressed the United States’ strong condemnation of the use of excessive force by military forces who fired on unarmed demonstrators in Lagos, causing death and injury.

The American president said further that his government welcomes an immediate investigation into any use of excessive force by members of the security forces, adding that those involved should be held to account in accordance with Nigerian law.

“The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are essential human rights and core democratic principles. We call on the security services to show maximum restraint and respect fundamental rights and for demonstrators to remain peaceful. We extend our condolences to the victims of the violence and their families” the statement further reads.

Also, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who condemned in strong terms, the assault on END SARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos through a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, described as unfortunate and unacceptable, the killing of innocent and unarmed young Nigerians who came out holding the National Flag and reciting the country’s Anthem while calling for positive changes.

Governor Ortom stressed that democracy guarantees the right of citizens to express themselves against unfavorable policies of government, stating that security operatives owe the people the duty of ensuring that such protests are peaceful.

He added that visiting the END SARS protesters with violence is not a solution to the agitations, urging the Federal Government to toe the path of dialogue and address the concerns of Nigerians as echoed by the protesting youths.

Calling for thorough investigation into the shooting that led to the death of some of the protesters, to fish out perpetrators of the heinous crime, for prosecution, the Benue governor also advised the END SARS protesters to remain peaceful and not allow miscreants to hijack their noble march towards a better Nigeria.

The national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, also condemned the killings of End SARS protesters by soldiers, calling on President Muhamadu Buhari to stop the massacre of innocent Nigerian youths.

Below are the statements of Uche Secondus during the press briefing to condemn the attacks:

Protocols.

Gentlemen of the Press,

Before we start this press conference may we observe one-minute silence for the souls of all Nigeria youths killed by SARS operatives and those killed by security agencies in the protest nationwide…… (May their souls and those of the faithful departed rest in their creator and may the blood they shed never be in vain-Amen.)

For nearly two weeks today Nigeria youths have been revolting through a peaceful protest against Police brutality as mirrored by a unit of the Nigeria Police force called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad more known as SARS.

They have been carrying out this constitutional obligation peacefully across the country without any molestation and registering their grievances appropriately to relevant authorities.

The Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu swiftly responded to the youth outcry by disbanding the notorious SARS, replacing it with SWAT, an action that did not go down well with protesters who demanded instead the total and unconditional overhaul of the entire nation’s security architecture.

This responsibility rests squarely with the federal Government who controls and manages the Police force. But rather than do something urgently as a committed and civilized government, the federal government under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari chose instead to remain mum in the face of the people’s legitimate outcry for attention and justice.

PDP finds the glaring snobbish silence of the President and the injection of violence into the peaceful protest as unacceptable as it paved the way for the deployment of the military to murder innocent harmless Nigeria youths

This was callously done on Tuesday night at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos where some group of armed uniformed soldiers of the Nigeria Army opened fire on protesting youths killing and maiming several of them.

PDP stands shoulder to shoulder with all the victims of this brutal attitude and condemns in strongest term, the mindless and inhuman shooting of citizens, an action that runs foul of every national and international laws. We also urge the protesting youths to ensure that they continue to be peaceful even in the face of provocations.

We mourn with the families of those affected and pray that their supreme sacrifice will not be in vain, and that through their shed blood God can help heal Nigeria of the malady of poor leadership that has bedeviled the country.

Rather than emulate legitimate responses of civilized leaders to protests of this nature across the democratic nations globally, Nigeria government prefers the ignominious option of the 1989 Tiananmen Square in China that ended with military crackdown that became known in history as the Tiananmen Square massacre.

A government that should be concerned about national security has also dangerously gone ahead to encourage violence by deploying troops against protesting citizens

As the main opposition party who has carefully watched this development, PDP views the dimension the federal government is directing the protest as unfortunate and dangerous to national cohesion and peace.

As the needless bloodletting rages, our President, the Commander in Chief, Muhammadu Buhari has continued to keep mum behaving exactly like Nero who played fiddle while Rome burned.

The calls by reasonable heads in our land including from the nation’s Senate for the President to respond appropriately has fallen on deaf ears.

We therefore wish to state unequivocally that the President has an honourable option in the face of the glaring incompetence in governance to declare a national emergency in the nation’s security architecture.

We also request for the immediate setting up of an independent judicial panel to look into the handling of this peaceful protest especially as it relates the role of security agencies.

Thanks and God bless.