Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, has called for an independent investigation into the shooting of #ENDSARS protesters by soldiers at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos, on October 20, 2020.
Nwanguma said the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State Government cannot initiate an investigation into the shooting considering the complicity of the government in the incident.
He said, “I already made the point elsewhere that considering the apparent complicity of the Lagos State governor in the Lekki massacre, that subject matter can no longer be part of the terms of reference or issues to be inquired into by the judicial panel of inquiry set up by the governor.
“The Lekki massacre must be independently, transparently, impartially and effectively investigated to unravel the truth and ensure justice.”
The RULAAC boss also slammed the Nigerian Government for the continued clampdown on protesters despite the investigation going on by states’ judicial panel of inquiries.
He condemned the freezing of bank accounts and arrests of some protesters by security operatives from their homes.
He stated that the Nigerian Government had never been sincere in its commitment to dialogue with the #EndSARS protesters.
Nwanguma said, “It has always been their usual ways of deceit: pretend to be committed to dialogue but planning mischief.
“How can you set up a panel to look into the issues raised by #EndSARS protesters and the aftermaths of the protests; you also have members of the group represented in the panel, yet you go ahead to freeze their bank accounts.
“That is the true nature and character of this government. Deceit, insincerity, lip service to everything, treachery and incompetence.
“This was exactly why the protesters took all the promises by the government with a pinch of salt and insisted on seeing concrete action before they would back down. Then the government deployed deadly violence to suppress the protests.”
Nwanguma added that looking at “the contradictions, the initial denials, then admission and then the buck-passing between the army and the Lagos State Government over who ordered the military deployment to the toll gate”, it shows the cowardice, insensitivity and cluelessness of some of the government appointees.
SaharaReporters had reported how the Central Bank of Nigeria secured a court order to freeze the bank accounts of 20 protesters for 90 days.
The court order was obtained while state governments had set up panels of inquiry to look into the case of extrajudicial killings and brutality by the police, especially the scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit of the police.
The CBN had hired the services of Michael Aondoakaa, a disgraced former Attorney-General of the country, who showed a high disregard for the law during his time in office, to help freeze the bank accounts of the protesters.
SaharaReporters gathered that the former AGF was contacted by the CBN for the job after several lawyers initially reached for the same purpose declined the brief.