On 20 October 2020 Nigerians and the world watched in horror as armed military officers shot at peaceful and harmless #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, in Lagos state. Based on eyewitness accounts, the shootings left some protesters dead and many more with injuries. This action by the military is highly reprehensible and threatens the core foundations of our democracy. The rights of citizens to protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right, therefore deploying armed soldiers to shoot at innocent citizens amounts to an assault on the constitution. We maintain that the youths at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos State on 20/10/2020 were exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly, right to life, right to dignity of a person, and freedom of expression. No citizen deserves to die or be injured for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly. This is a grave injustice under this government to Nigerian youths.
Together with other civil society organizations, human rights activists and citizens, the Not Too Young To Run movement condemns in its entirety the deployment of military personnel and armed security officers to unleash terror on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on 20 October 2020. We strongly condemn the incessant intimidation, unlawful arrests and detention, extortion, harassment, and wanton killings of Nigerians across the country, especially Nigerian youth by security agencies in the course of the #EndSARS protest. We also condemn the complicity of security agencies as they watched armed thugs and hoodlums attack peaceful protesters and citizens which led to the loss of lives and properties in Abuja, Lagos, Oyo, Kano and Edo states. We strongly condemn the attempt by the Federal and State Government, Armed Forces and Security agencies to deny the existence of these attacks and the shooting at young Nigerians.
The last two weeks have seen a reawakening of Nigerian youth to fight for a country they can call home. Young people protested and agitated for an end to police brutality and human rights violation. These protests are legitimate and constitutional. Nigerian youth constitute the largest demographic of the nation’s population and are the most affected by the abuse and brutality of officers of the security agencies. These actions have direct, adverse effects on the wellbeing, safety, productivity and consequently, the economy of our dear nation. Nigeria cannot afford to silence its youth. Nigeria cannot afford to ignore this injustice to the youth.
As a movement we demand:
- A comprehensive investigation into the shooting of innocent and harmless #ENDSARS protesters by heavily armed soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. This investigation should unravel those culpable including the individual/persons who sanctioned the military operation.
- An immediate withdrawal of the military and other security officers deployed to quell the #EndSARS protesters in Lagos and other states.
- A national address by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the attacks and killings of protesters by security officers, especially the 20 October 2020 shooting in Lagos state and other states.
- The National Assembly should convene an emergency session to address the Lekki Tollgate killings and as a matter of urgency conduct an investigative public hearing on these reported extrajudicial killings of #EndSARS protesters by security agencies and ensure accountability and justice for the injured and dead protesters.
- The international community sustains its pressure in holding the Nigerian government to account for its commitment to human right protection. International sanctions should be deployed against public officials who violate the Nigerian constitution by assaulting the rights of citizens.
Finally, as we reject the suppression of ongoing protests and state-sponsored violence against young people, we mourn with families who have lost loved ones in the course of the #EndSARS protests. We commend millions of Nigerian youths who have remained resolute, against all odds to demand for their rights and make their voices heard. Lastly, we call on Nigerian youth to remain peaceful and non-violent as the struggle for a just, equitable and inclusive Nigeria remains alive.
Not Too Young To Run movement
For enquires contact:
Moshood Isah, Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339