Human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, has opened about the latest happenings which followed the 2-weeks long #EndSARS protests across the nation.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), gave the candid interview on Monday with Arise TV, where he spoke condemned the Lekki toll gate shooting, nationwide riots which ensued and the recent lootings of COVID-19 palliatives.
According to him, a group he oversees has identified the barracks where officers of the military involved in the gun attack at the popular Lagos toll booth emanated from.
He added that based on the investigation gathered so far by the group Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 And Beyond (ASCAB), facts have shown that shots were actually fired at the tollgate and people died from those shots.
“We have already identified the barracks where the soldiers left for Lekki, we have already identified the barracks,” Falana said.
He added that, “the President was likely to have been told, soldiers were ordered so I want to believe that’s why it was not addressed and they said it was a rumour but I think the facts are emerging now, that indeed soldiers went to Lekki, indeed they fired at protesters and indeed some of the protesters at least two have been officially acknowledged to have died from gunshot wounds.”
Falana had accused the security agencies of engaging the services of sponsored thugs to attack peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja for about 12 days. “It is such state sponsored thuggery that boomeranged as boys and girls who have been used and dumped by politicians turned the peaceful protests to a conflagration that engulfed the nation,” he stated.
Falana also accused the Nigerian government of having no respect for the rule of law and citizens rights to protest. He said constant denials from the federal government and its agencies clearly does show Nigeria as a serious country.
“I have never seen it anywhere in the world where in the federal capital of a country where you have all the embassies, you have unmarked vehicles taking thugs round and it was being filmed and the thugs were being ferried by officials of the government and we are being told it’s not the State Security Service and in Lagos it was not the Nigerian army that shot,” he said. “Such denials do not portray Nigeria as a serious country, because it is the duty of the government anywhere in the world to trace those criminals and bring them to book.”
He stated further that the “Nigerian government has no respect for the rule of law and have ensured they stave off all forms of protests in the country. Falana, who is the father of singer/activist Falz, also condemned the hoarding of coronavirus palliatives in several cities, calling it a “crime against humanity.”
For the past few days, the discovery of COVID-19 palliatives warehouses, where food meant for the public to ease the effects of the coronavirus-induced lockdown earlier this year, led to widespread outrage, looting and stampedes, in Lagos, Jos, Kaduna, Calabar, Ilorin, Ibadan and other Nigerian cities.
“It’s almost like a crime against humanity. Just like some public officers have diverted money meant for providing palliatives meant for people who have been displaced in their homes, internally displaced people,” he inserted.
“How can you hoard? It’s intolerable, it’s provocative. Our government will have to apologise to the Nigerian people. Look at the crowds in Jos. How do you avoid stampedes? And stampedes have happened in some places. Lives have been lost needlessly.”
Finally, the human rights activist called on the government to compensate victims of looting, destruction of property and violence, and encouraged casualties to sue for negligence.
“Every Nigerian is entitled to protection of his or her life or property. Once due to negligence, due to lack of proper policing, the government must pay. As a matter of law, if anybody dies, the family member has the right to make a claim. The government has a duty to compensate those who have lost their properties, breadwinners- that is the position of the law,” Falana said.
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