Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Want ICC to Probe Buhari, Sanwo-Olu, Buratai over Killing of Protesters

  • Ask Buhari to resign

By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) on Wednesday canvassed for the trial of President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, as well as other alleged possible accomplices, including Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the International Criminal Court to answer charges for the killing of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate and other parts of the state on Tuesday night.

The Forum in a statement jointly signed by its leaders namely Chief Edwin Clark (South South), Chief Ayo Adebanjo (South West), Chief John Nwodo (South East) and Dr Pogu Bitrus

(Middle Belt) said it was devastated by the premeditated killings of Nigerian peaceful protesters with the kind of force that has yet to be seen even against terrorist Boko Haram by the regime of President Buhari.

In the statement titled, ‘Black Tuesday :Buhari And Co Must Pay for This Genocide’, the elder statesmen said it would be smack of cowardice for them not to have the courage to call on Buhari to step down as President of Nigeria after the wicked murders.

While sending condolences to all families who have lost their loved ones to the state killings, the leaders also said those who directly engaged in the killings must be fished out for punishment.

The statement read in part: ”The killings that claimed scores of lives across cities in Nigeria on Tuesday 20.10.2020 appeared orchestrated and fangs – baring in the most despotic manner aimed at smashing the #ENDSARS protests that have been in the order of constitutionally recognized right to peaceful protests.

”But Major General Buhari regime behaving like a junta that does not brook any opposition allegedly started sponsoring thugs against the protesters until Tuesday when it removed all gloves.

In Lekki tollgate in Lagos that was the Tianamen Square of the crackdown, soldiers openly opened fire on protesters killing them and carting away their bodies. Eyewitness reports say the solders allegedly switched off lights in the area as well as the CCTV Cameras before they started sporadic shootings. The gruesome killings was a reflection of what dictators do with ethnic militia which Buhari has turned our security forces to in the last five years which is part of his atrocities we are currently challenging in court.

”The police killed several other protesters in Mushin area and other parts of the state. 24 hours before the killings, former Governor of the state, Senator Bola Tinubu who was accused of backing the protest was invited to Abuja. Shortly after returning, his godson the governor, Mr Babatunde Sanwo – olu issued a few hours notice for a 24-hour curfew in the state in what now appears like a preparation for the crackdown.

”The Governor and his godfather now seem to have a replay of late Sir Michael Otedola as Lagos Governor who in collaboration with Abacha in 1993 mowed down peaceful protesters. In the Federal Capital Territory there were also reports of killings of protesters in alleged state-sponsored violence as miscreants from the President’s corner of the country were reportedly mobilized to kill protesters. Killings were reported in other towns and cities across Nigeria. We frown at the killings of unspecified number of people in state murders.”

”We totally reject the various panels set up in different parts of the country as there is no basis to get justice under this regime as all institutions that can give such are under its armpit. As such we demand a UN-supervised inquiry into this Genocide. The world should remember that it was the extra judicial killing of Mohammed Yusuf that gave rise to the violent Boko Haram which Nigeria has battled unsuccessfully for 10 years. We also need to confirm the allegation that Lt. Col S O Bello of 65 Battalion, Bonny Camp led the killer – soldiers and who gave the order to such a junior officer.

”We also appreciate all medical facilities that offered to treat the wounded free.

We salute the young people for their courageous action of breaking the culture of silence. This is a serious crime against humanity that must not go unpunished.”