Amnesty International has accused the Federal Government of covering up those responsible for the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Alausa and Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State in October, 2020.
The NGO made this allegation in a statement issued 100 days after the Lekki Toll Gate shooting that resulted in the death of no fewer than 12 protesters.
Amnesty International said that instead of the government bringing suspected perpetrators of the Lekki shooting to justice they have subjected supporters of the protest to intimidation.
AI noted that the violent dispersal of peaceful protesters have cast a shadow over Nigerian society that lingers to this day.
The NGO highlighted that since the assault, authorities only targeted supporters of the protest noting that some protesters have had their bank accounts frozen.
In the statement, the AI’s Director in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, demanded justice for victims of the shootings.
“Instead of bringing suspected perpetrators of #Lekki shooting to justice and prioritizing genuine police reforms, Nigerian authorities have been abusing their powers by subjecting those who supported the protests to intimidation, harassment and smear campaigns.
“The bloody events of October 20, 2020, when Nigerian security forces killed, at least, 12 people during the violent dispersal of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki and Alausa, have cast a shadow over Nigerian society that lingers to this day.
“Since the assault by security forces, which killed, at least, 12 people, Nigerian authorities have targeted supporters of the protests against police brutality by the disbanded SARS. Some of the movement’s supporters have had their bank accounts frozen.
“Nigerian government failed to bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the brutal crackdown by security forces on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate and Alausa in Lagos in October, 2020, and have brazenly attempted to cover up the violence.
Amnesty International has called on the Nigerian government to suspend accused officials, pending investigations, and to ensure that victims access justice and effective remedies.
But in a bitter reaction, the Federal Government said Amnesty International (AI) was becoming an irritant with disinformation and double standard, and would soon lose its respect and credibility.
The government said this position in response to the AI allegation of cover-up in the handling of the purported crackdown and killings of EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos in October, 2020.
In a release to mark 100 days of the Lekki Toll Gate incident, AI, a global movement on a campaign to end abuses of human rights, alleged that Nigerian authorities were covering up in bringing the perpetrators of the purported killings to book.
Speaking with newsmen, yesterday, in Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, accused AI of disinformation and double standard.
Specifically, the minister said AI had no proof to justify its claim that 12 people were killed by the military at the Lekki Toll Gate.
“If Amnesty International has any proof, it should come out with it or shut up.
“They should take advantage of the Judicial Panel of Enquiry set up by Lagos State to tell the names and addresses of the 12 people they claim were shot at the toll gate,’’ he said.
The minister said AI had no respect for the Nigerian Judiciary by coming out with the report while the judicial panel of inquiry was still sitting on the case.
Mohammed also accused the global body of double standard in the handling of cases involving Nigeria and some other developing countries compared to some developed world.
He said the AI did not say one word when the American government arrested and are prosecuting those who invaded Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., aftermath of the U.S. Presidential elections.
“American government has vowed that they will search, arrest and prosecute anybody involved in the attack on Capitol Hill
“When Nigeria wanted to arrest and prosecute those hoodlums responsible for the killings of 37 policemen, six soldiers during the #EndSARS protest, Amnesty International will find fault.
“At the Lekki toll gate incident in Lagos, they described the hoodlums as peaceful protesters, while the people who invaded Capitol Hill in the US were called insurrectionists.
“When the U.S. Government denied the investigators from the International Criminal Court visa to enter the U.S., we did not hear a word from Amnesty International.
“They will soon lose their respect and credibility if they continue to operate this double standard,’’ he said.
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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