Bishop Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye, the Bishop and Diocesan Missioner and Lagos has condemned in very strong terms, the heartless shooting of defenceless, peaceful and unarmed protesters at Lekki, Lagos State on Tuesday 20th October 2020.
The Bishop described the cruel shooting of unarmed protesters by troops of the Nigerian Army as “totally deplorable and an outrageous act of terror and wickedness against civilians who were peaceably organized and had, for many days, been peacefully protesting against poor governance, leadership, abuse of power and most especially, longstanding Nigerian Police brutality.
He continued: “It is highly depressing that the same government which promised to reform the police and bring an end to police brutality ended up using the military against the people”.
Bishop Olumakaiye recollected that Police brutality in Nigeria predated the #EndSARS protests.
According to the reverred cleric, police brutalities had been persistent over the years even as successive governments had paid lip service to quelling their high-handedness and other excesses in spite of youths’ outcry against such over the years.
He added that in view of the sour dimension which the protest had taken with pockets of violent actions across the country, it is hoped that the government will take a cue from this and accede to the demands of the youths.
The Bishop, however, appealed to the protesting youth to shelve the protest; noting that their cries had been heard by the government and even the whole World.
“The #EndSARS protest by the youth was no doubt a genuine cause that was acknowledged and appreciated by society. For the first time in the Nigerian history, the youth rose up to condemn and protest an age-long problem caused by an institution created to protect lives and properties.
He regretted, however, that hitherto peaceful and genuine protest got infitrated by hoodlums who turned it to something violent.
“such commendable peaceful protest has now turned to a violent and condemnable protest that has resulted in the destruction of lives and properties.
“Ironically, innocent persons have become victims of brutality in the hands of hoodlums masquerading as this same youths protesting against police brutality.
” It is sad that what we feared most has now befallen us, such as, burning and destruction of government and private properties, looting of shops, offices and houses.
“These should not be seen as the solution to our challenges as a nation, as these will only take us backward.’’
Bishop Olumakaiye challenged the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to urgently constitute a dependable panel of inquiry to investigate the crisis to the minutest details and bring the culprits to book.
According to him, “the nation eagerly awaits the outcome of the investigation into the blatant violation of people’s rights to life, the dignity of the human person, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly at Lekki Tollgate, and the perpetrators must be held accountable through fair trials.
He enjoined the government to ensure that the victims of the Lekki Tollgate shooting and their families have access to justice and effective remedies while noting that it is imperative that everyone builds a nation where peace and justice will reign”.