By Angela Atabo
Abuja, Oct.21,2020 The Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement on Wednesday decried the killings of youths across Nigeria especially the Lekki Toll Plaza killings in Lagos.
A statement signed by Cynthia Mbamalu on behalf of the movement in Abuja said that on Oct. 20, Nigerians and the world watched in horror as peaceful and harmless #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, in Lagos state were killed.
Mbamalu said that based on eyewitness accounts, the shootings left some protesters dead and many more with injuries.
“This action by the military is highly reprehensible and threatens the core foundations of our democracy.
“The rights of citizens to protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right; therefore deploying armed soldiers to shoot at innocent citizens amounts to an assault to the constitution.
“No citizen deserves to die or be injured for exercising the constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly. This is a grave injustice under this government to Nigerian youths.
“Together with other civil society organisations, human rights activists and citizens, the Not-Too-Young-To-Run movement condemns in its entirety the deployment of military personnel and armed security officers to unleash terror on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.”
Mbamalu said that the group strongly condemned the incessant intimidation, unlawful arrests and detention, extortion, harassment, and wanton killings of Nigerians across the country, especially youths by security agencies in the course of the #EndSARS protest.
She said that the group also condemned the complicity of security agencies as they watched armed thugs and hoodlums attack peaceful protesters and citizens which led to the loss of lives and property in Abuja, Lagos, Oyo, Kano and Edo.
“We strongly condemn the attempt by the Federal and State Governments, Armed Forces and Security agencies to deny the existence of these attacks and the shooting at young Nigerians,” she said
She said that Nigeria could not afford to silence its youth adding that Nigeria could not afford to ignore this injustice to the youth.
She said that the movement demanded a comprehensive investigation into the shooting of innocent and harmless #EndSARS protesters by heavily armed soldiers at the Lekki toll gate.
She added that the investigation should unravel those culpable including the individuals and persons who sanctioned the military operation.
She said that the group also demanded an immediate withdrawal of the military and other security officers deployed to quell the #EndSARS protesters in Lagos and other states.
Mbamalu said that the movement demanded a national address by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the attacks and killings of protesters by security officers.
She said that the National Assembly should convene an emergency session to address the Lekki Tollgate killings and as a matter of urgency conduct an investigative public hearing on these reported extrajudicial killings of #EndSARS protesters.
She added that the assembly should also ensure accountability and justice for the injured and dead protesters.
She said the international community should sustain its pressure in holding the Nigerian government to account for its commitment to human rights protection.
Mbamalu said that international sanctions should be deployed against public officials who violated the Nigerian constitution by assaulting the rights of citizens.
“We mourn with families who have lost loved ones in the course of the #EndSARS protests.
“We commend millions of Nigerian youth who have remained resolute, against all odds, to demand for their rights and make their voices heard.
“We call on Nigerian youth to remain peaceful and non-violent as the struggle for a just, equitable and inclusive Nigeria remains alive.”