The Bishop and Missioner of Lagos Anglican Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dr. Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye has strongly condemned the unruly act of shooting at the peaceful and unarmed protesters at Lekki, Lagos State on Tuesday 20th October 2020.
In his words, “Shooting of unarmed protesters by Nigerian Soldiers is totally deplorable and is an outrageous act of terror and wickedness against civilians who were peaceably organized and had, for many days, been peacefully protesting against poor governance, leadership, abuse of power and most especially, longstanding Nigerian Police brutality. It is highly depressing that the same government which promised to reform police and bring an end to police brutality ended up using the military against them”.
Commenting on Police activities prior to the #EndSARS protest, the Bishop stated that Police brutalities had been persistent over the years and successive governments had paid lip service to quelling their high-handedness in spite of youths’ outcry over the years. He further stated that in view of the sour dimension which the protest had taken with pockets of violent actions across the country, it is hoped that the government will take a cue from this and accede to the demands of the youths.
In his words to the youths, Bishop Olumakaiye advised that it is time to shelve the protest as their cries have been heard by the government and the whole World. Commending the youths’ initiative to take on this noble cause, the Bishop commented thus:
“The #EndSARS protest by the youth was no doubt a genuine cause that was acknowledged and appreciated by the society. For the first time in Nigeria history, the youth rose up to condemn and protest an age long problem caused by an institution created to protect lives and properties.”
Dr. Olumakaiye however noted that “such commendable peaceful protest has now turned to a violent condemnable protest that has resulted in the destruction of lives and properties. Ironically, innocent persons have become victims of brutality in the hands of hoodlums masquerading as this same youths protesting against police brutality. It is sad that what we feared most has now befallen us, such as, burning and destruction of government and private properties, looting of shops, offices and houses. These should not be seen as the solution to our challenges as a nation, as these will only take us backward.’’
Addressing the government on the Lekki shooting, Bishop Olumakaiye noted that the nation eagerly awaits the outcome of the investigation into the blatant violation of people’s rights to life, dignity of human person, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly at Lekki Toll gate, and the perpetrators must be held accountable through fair trials. He enjoined the government to ensure that the victims of the Lekki Toll gate shooting and their families have access to justice and effective remedies, while noting that it is imperative that everyone builds a nation where peace and justice will reign.