By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) yesterday called for the investigation and 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, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the alleged killing of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate and other parts of the state on Tuesday.
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 killing of the protesters with the kind of force that has yet to be seen even against terrorist Boko Haram by the federal government.
In the statement titled, ‘Black Tuesday: Buhari and Co Must Pay for this Genocide,’ the group said it would be cowardice for them not to have the courage to call on Buhari to step down as president after the killings.
While condoling with all bereaved families, the group said those involved in the killings must be fished out for punishment.
”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 recognised right to peaceful protests,” it said.
It accused the federal government of setting up the protesters for a crackdown by sponsoring hoodlums to infiltrate the protest and attacking the protesters in Lagos and Abuja.
“Buhari’s 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,” it said, adding: “In Lekki Tollgate in Lagos that was the Tiananmen Square of the crackdown, solders openly opened fire on protesters killing them and carting away their bodies.”
It further alleged that the police killed several other protesters in Mushin area and other parts of the state.
It added: “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 mobilised to kill protesters. Killings were reported in other towns and cities across Nigeria. We frown at the killings of an 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 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.”