…demands compensation for family of a 14-year-old girl killed by stray bullet
A group, Nigeria Consultative Front (NCFront), on Sunday, vowed to defend in court the agitators arrested by the police during Saturday’s Yoruba Nation Mega rally in Lagos.
NCFront also condemned “in the strongest terms the forceful disruption of the peaceful rally” organised by the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, Ilana Oodua in Lagos on Saturday.
The group reiterated that peaceful protests and rallies were constitutional rights of Nigerians.
NCFront is jointly led by a former Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ghali Na’aba and a former presidential candidate and renowned Political Economist, Prof. Pat Utomi.
NCFront National Secretary, Sir Olawale Okunniyi, in a statement on Sunday, also demanded compensation for the family of a 14-year-old girl, Jumoke, who was killed during the protest.
The group also demanded the immediate release of those arrested in connection with the protest.
On Saturday, a combined team of heavily armed security operatives had disrupted the Yoruba Nation mega rally in Lagos, firing teargas canisters and spraying hot water on the protesters, who were demanding self-determination.
It was in the process that stray bullets allegedly fired by the police hit the teenager identified as Jumoke. But the police denied the killing.
The state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, also paraded 47 protesters at the Command Headquarters in Ikeja on Sunday.
NCFront, in its reaction to the development, disclosed that its standing legal team had been mandated to stand in for those arrested in connection with the protests.
The group also vowed to challenge the “brute force” used by the Federal Government to quell the protests.
According to the group, “As a credible political alternative to the ruling powers in Nigeria, we wish to state unequivocally that the use of brute force to repress and quell self-determination agitations in the country, at this delicate period of Nigeria, is counter-productive and may lead to violent struggle and anarchy experienced in other climes, where popular agitations of the people driven underground by State forces have foisted civilian guerilla reactions and underground violence against the unprovoked brutality deployed by State agents against citizens’ popular aspiration.
“In the same vein, abduction of a fugitive, without extradition order properly prosecuted is unlawful and nothing but official banditry, a precursor for self-help and anarchy in Nigeria.”
NCFront said the use of live ammunition, which resulted in the killing of the girl, was “bestial, criminal and gross abuse of state power, which shall be taken up by our legal team in courts for the prosecution of the Police and to push for compensation and apology to the family of the girl slain by the Police…”
The group vowed to put up charges “against the various abuse of powers by the federal government, especially at the International Court of Justice, ICJ in due course as State security forces are not expected to act as bandits but protectors of citizens’ rights.
“Again, to the best of our understanding, Citizens do not require Police Permit to hold rallies and protests to express their aspirations and grievances but mere notice of protest to obtain police protection as done by the organizers of the Lagos rally on Thursday; as a copy of the letter of notification to Lagos State Commissioner of Police was sighted by our national secretariat.
“Finally, the NCFront will like the Buhari government to note that nothing could best restore peace and stability to the country as much as the immediate convening of a people’s constituents’ assembly and the conduct of a citizens’ referendum to democratically decide how Nigerians want to harmoniously coexist and constitutionally run their political affairs peacefully; as the ongoing constitution amendments by the national assembly can barely save the country from pervasive insecurity and anarchy rocking the nation’s stability without the fundamental agreement of the people of Nigeria.
“What Nigeria requires urgently is national equity and reconciliation to stem the growing political tension and pervasive insecurity in the country.
“The federal government will do well to support the ongoing process initiated by the NCFront to save Nigeria.”