“It is a criminal offence for the Police to shoot innocent protesters. The Police is supposed to be protecting them instead of shooting, likewise the Army too. The army is only relevant when you arrive at a standard enemy. We equipped the army and put uniforms on them with our money so that they can attack our external enemies and foreign contenders; that is what the army is meant for. They are not supposed to be used for citizens”.
By Daniel Njienue, News/interview, October 24, 2020
Speaking on a telephone conversation with Afrikanwatch Network during the weekend on the ENDSARS protest across the country and the request by the Nigerian youths for a better governance is Senator Femi Okurounmu, a founding member of the Yoruba Pan Social organization, Afenifere, who in a strong term condemned the alleged killing of innocent protesters at the Lekki toll gate by the Nigerian Army on Tuesday during the week in Lagos and, also the use of Police to shot protesters.
The Elder statesman noted that the Nigerian Police goofed, because it is their job duty to protect and guide demonstrators so that hoodlums will not take over protests. If the police do not protect them, there’s tendency for hoodlums to strike and then take over it. And that is why in all civilized democracy, demonstrations are allowed and the Police comes out to protect them and not to shot, because there are rules of engagement.
He noted that, it was sad that hoodlums could descend so bad by burning properties and looting, whiling blaming the Police for not taking advantage at the early beginning of the protest, reiterating that, it is the duty of the law enforcement agency to protect lawful demonstrators and not to allow hoodlums to take over and start burning down police stations. It’s because the police failed in its capacity.
Condemning the shooting of peaceful protesters, the fourth republic Senator said: “It is a criminal offence for the Police to shoot innocent protesters. The Police is supposed to be protecting them instead of shooting, likewise the Army too. The army is only relevant when you arrive at a standard enemy. We equipped the army and put uniforms on them with our money so that they can attack our external enemies and foreign contenders; that is what the army is meant for. They are not supposed to be used for citizens”.
Okurounmu however hinted that when an Army shoot and attack a citizen, it means there’s something wrong- that is not democracy. “It is an analog for any country to use the army to kill its own citizen. When any government uses the army to kill its citizen, it shows that government is not governing on behalf of the people. Can you imagine the US army going after the demonstrators while they are demonstrating to remove the President, agitating that the President must go, the army didn’t attack them?”
Commending the efforts of the peaceful Nigerian youths during the protests, the Senator stressed, it is good, the youths have decided to demand for their right, and advised them to do it legitimately. “My advice for the Nigerian youths is that, they should not get frustrated, they should not get discouraged, they should remain lawful and law abiding, when they have legitimate protest, they should protest legitimately and get more of the youth in the legitimate protest which is protected under the constitution, that is the only way to bring about good governance”, he concluded.
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