A coalition of 100 civil society organisations has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the Chief of Army Staff following the killing of unarmed protesters Tuesday evening at Lekki Tollgate.
Besides, the group asked the president to immediately order suspension of the Nigerian Army’s newly launched Operation Crocodile Smile just as it urged soldiers to use non-kinetic approach to engage protesters.
Reacting to ongoing developments in the country triggered by the Lekki killings, the group in a statement in Abuja, also tasked the president to sack the entire service chiefs as well as constitute independent commission of enquiry to unravel the killings and bring alleged perpetrators to book.
The statement was signed by Prof Ibrahim Alkali for Coalitions Against Injustice in Africa; Dr Hassan Baba Khalid,for Centre on Equity and Human Rights Africa; Prof P. O. Okeke for Action Against Bad Governance; Mr Kolawole Adesina for Citizens Watch Forum and Rev. Dr Paul Kaigama for Centre for Peace and Good Governance, on behalf of others.
While regretting that the peaceful protests meant to draw attention of authorities to take action on certain fault lines in governance was hijacked by some unscrupulous elements to feather their selfish interests, the coalition also said ” the launch of Operation Crocodile Smile by the Nigerian Army and subsequent use of kinetic approach in engaging the protesters by men of the Nigerian Army was the most reprehensible.”
“It is unfortunate that this action which is not acceptable in any form in a civil society regrettably resulted in killing of armless protesters at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos. This ugly development no doubt, has inflamed passion among the people and thus escalated tension in all parts of the country at the moment,” it said. According to the coalition, “The resultant effect of this is the ongoing destruction of private and public infrastructures across the country today.”
“Having viewed the development closely, we wish to categorically condemned the action of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai. “We call on President Muhammad Buhari as the Commander-In- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to immediately order immediate suspension of Operation Crocodile Smile. We ask that he follows this up with the sack of the Chief of Army Staff in particular and all the current service chiefs in general to pave way for a new and efficient security architecture.
“Like we observe, for Nigerians to trust the president and believe him that the soldiers acted on their own, he must not only immediately sack the Chief of Army Staff and all the officers concerned but also immediately hand them over for prosecution. “We believe that taking this first step will calm frayed nerves and restore the peoples’ confidence once more in his ability to provide them the desired security,” it said.