Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has blamed soldiers of the Nigerian Army for their roles in the confrontation with #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate plaza in Lagos on Tuesday.
Soyinka also advised the state governments who have declared curfews to review their stands and demand the immediate withdrawal of soldiers from their domains.
He noted in his statement on Wednesday, titled ‘DÉJÀ VU– In tragic vein,’ in which he reacted to the Lekki toll gate shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters by security operatives that the government approach to the situation is very wrong.
Soyinka noted that it is not the best line of action to lock down states that were just gradually picking up on economic activities after the forced COVID-19 lockdown. He also blamed the federal government for the hasty deployment of soldiers which he said has heightened the tense security situation rather than provide a solution.
He balmed the insensitivity of the government for the decision to deploy soldiers when the citizens were demanding the withdrawal of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Prof Soyinka further told the affected state governors to demand the immediate withdrawal of soldiers deployed by the Federal Government and then engage the communities within their jurisdiction for peace to return.
His statement issued from his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, reads:
“To the affected governors all over the nation, there is one immediate step to take: demand the withdrawal of those soldiers. Convoke town hall meetings as a matter of urgency. 24-hour 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 apologise, 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!”
He added, “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 hometown, I again had to negotiate a road block? That went smoothly enough. I expected it, and have no doubt that more are being erected as this is being written.
“It is pathetic and unimaginative to claim, as some have done, that the continued protest is hurting the nation’s economy etc. 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.”
Naija News recalls security forces on Tuesday, opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate plaza in Lagos State.
Hoodlums on Wednesday, while reacting to the shooting by security operatives have burnt down some BRT buses, houses, public buildings and also torched the palace of the Oba of Lagos.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have taken to social media, particularly Twitter to demand President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the nation immediately on current hapenings in the country.