The Federal Government of Nigeria’s continuous denial of the shooting and killing of unarmed and peaceful EndSARS protesters by security forces on the night of October 20, 2020, at the Lekki tollgate, Lagos, and even after a CNN investigative report substantiated fatalities, is despicability taken to a repulsive height.
It is not the first time the government would toe this embarrassing path under President Muhammadu Buhari as it also did in the carnage it unleashed against Shia sect, the Islamic Movement of Nigerian (IMN), and secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Such audacious display of barbarity and the threat of sanction against CNN in the face of indicting evidence accentuate the scoffing condescension with which Buhari’s “democratic” government treats Nigerians.
The Realm News considers this disposition an aberration because the active involvement of the people is one of the basic tenets of democracy. In other words, peaceful demonstrations remain part of the legal means through which the masses can make salient inputs in a democratically elected government. Only an irresponsible and irredeemable government would brutally violate this right and come in front of the cameras to play the victim.
Since 2015, when it finagled itself into power, the Buhari government has espoused lies and deceptions as norms of behaviour. This anomaly defines its crassness and brutishness towards the masses at the slightest scrutiny and resistance. The massacre of peaceful EndSARS protesters is one of the government’s many desecrations of the rights of, and attacks on, unarmed people who were only exercising their immutable rights to nonviolent disagreement.
Between December 2015 and October 2020, reports by Human Rights Watch, national dailies and Amnesty International have attributed over 600 deaths of peaceful protesters to security forces acting on the orders of President Buhari. IMN Shiites and IPOB contributed 95 per cent to this number. Suddenly, everything is beginning to look like a throwback to 1984 where Buhari’s junta jailed and killed Nigerians arbitrarily. Replicating same bloodthirstiness in 2020 is unacceptable.
The Realm News frowns at this act of sheer barbarism. It is criminal to massacre citizens exercising their inalienable right and attempt to deracinate evidence. It negates the oath of office of the president which Buhari was administered to devote himself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria.
Albeit living in denial, Buhari’s government knows it has failed. A government that brought untold hardship on the people should expect brickbats. Threatening the masses with Operation Crocodile Smile or banning protests is a confirmation that Buhari’s administration is an anachronism that has no business with governance in a 21st-century Nigeria. It has lost sight with the realities on the ground.
Millions of Nigerians are suffocating at the moment. They can only catch their breath on the streets. The threat of violent clampdown will not stop them; only the provision of good governance will. Since providing the latter looks impossible for the Buhari-led government, the president should borrow a leaf from his Peruvian counterpart and resign honourably to avert further spilling of the blood of Nigerian youth.
This is our position.