The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers in the Lekki area of Lagos State. The incident which occured on Tuesday evening involved series of protesters who were shot at by armed security personnel at the popular Lekki toll gate.
NBA President, Olumide Akpata, in a statement signed by him faulted the incident instructing the military to provide details of soldiers who shot at the protesters. His statement reads in part:
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‘The Military High command is hereby requested to immediately identify and name the officers involved in this gross professional misconduct for immediate prosecution and dismissal in line with extant laws.’
The NBA president also added that the legal body will kickoff proceedings against the military. In his words, ‘The NBA shall immediately commence legal proceedings at all relevant fore – both locally and internationally – against the Nigerian Military and other relevant authorities on behalf of the families of the victims for abuse of power, disregard of rules of engagement and the infringement of the fundamental rights (including the right to life) of the affected citizens.’
More so, Akpata disclosed that an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the NBA would be convened within the next 48 hours given the degenerating nature of the crisis. The meeting, he said, was to review the state of the nation and take other appropriate steps to decisively deal with the situation and prevent Nigeria from further going adrift.
Expressing displeasure over the event of what has now been tagged #BlackTuesday, the NBA president described the shooting as an act of recklessness and lawlessness by the security apparatus of the government.
He further stressed that based on reports available to the lawyers, it appeared to have been a carefully calculated and premeditated attack.
Akpata argued that even if the Lekki #EndSARS protesters were in breach of the curfew imposed by the Lagos State government, such an act did not warrant the use of live ammunition by the military to confront peaceful, unarmed and defenceless protesters.
He stated that Tuesday’s events should never be seen or considered as normal in any democracy in any country.
‘The NBA believes that the current situation in the country calls for dynamic leadership and, as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, invites the President of Nigeria and others in authority to show uncommon leadership in saving the situation, instead of deploying troops against defenceless citizens whom they swore an oath to protect,” the NBA president said.