Gentlemen of the Press,
Before we start this press conference may we observe one-minute silence for the souls of all Nigeria youths killed by SARS operatives and those killed by security agencies in the protest nationwide…… (May their souls and those of the faithful departed rest in their creator and may the blood they shed never be in vain-Amen.)
For nearly two weeks today Nigeria youths have been revolting through a peaceful protest against Police brutality as mirrored by a unit of the Nigeria Police force called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad more known as SARS.
They have been carrying out this constitutional obligation peacefully across the country without any molestation and registering their grievances appropriately to relevant authorities.
The Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu swiftly responded to the youth outcry by disbanding the notorious SARS, replacing it with SWAT, an action that did not go down well with protesters who demanded instead the total and unconditional overhaul of the entire nation’s security architecture.
This responsibility rests squarely with the federal Government who controls and manages the Police force. But rather than do something urgently as a committed and civilized government, the federal government under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari chose instead to remain mum in the face of the people’s legitimate outcry for attention and justice.
PDP finds the glaring snobbish silence of the President and the injection of violence into the peaceful protest as unacceptable as it paved the way for the deployment of the military to murder innocent harmless Nigeria youths
This was callously done on Tuesday night at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos where some group of armed uniformed soldiers of the Nigeria Army opened fire on protesting youths killing and maiming several of them.
PDP stands shoulder to shoulder with all the victims of this brutal attitude and condemns in strongest term, the mindless and inhuman shooting of citizens, an action that runs foul of every national and international laws. We also urge the protesting youths to ensure that they continue to be peaceful even in the face of provocations.
We mourn with the families of those affected and pray that their supreme sacrifice will not be in vain, and that through their shed blood God can help heal Nigeria of the malady of poor leadership that has bedeviled the country.
Rather than emulate legitimate responses of civilized leaders to protests of this nature across the democratic nations globally, Nigeria government prefers the ignominious option of the 1989 Tiananmen Square in China that ended with military crackdown that became known in history as the Tiananmen Square massacre.
A government that should be concerned about national security has also dangerously gone ahead to encourage violence by deploying troops against protesting citizens
As the main opposition party who has carefully watched this development, PDP views the dimension the federal government is directing the protest as unfortunate and dangerous to national cohesion and peace.
As the needless bloodletting rages, our President, the Commander in Chief, Muhammadu Buhari has continued to keep mum behaving exactly like Nero who played fiddle while Rome burned.
The calls by reasonable heads in our land including from the nation’s Senate for the President to respond appropriately has fallen on deaf ears.
We therefore wish to state unequivocally that the President has an honourable option in the face of the glaring incompetence in governance to declare a national emergency in the nation’s security architecture.
We also request for the immediate setting up of an independent judicial panel to look into the handling of this peaceful protest especially as it relates the role of security agencies.
Thanks and God bless.