Politics

#EndSARS: Kill Protesters, Face International Criminal Court, Falana Warns

The Nigerian government has once against been warned to desist from its clandestine plan to use soldiers to disperse the ongoing #EndSARS protest against police brutality in the country.

This time, the warning came from the Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, a grouping of labour and civil society organisations led by radical lawyer and social critic, Femi Falana.

Falana stated this is a statement entitled in a statement ‘#EndSARS: Kill protesters, face International Criminal Court, ASCAB cautions Buratai’, which he issued in Abuja on Sunday.

He threatened to drag the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, to the International Criminal Court any soldier kills any of the #EndSARs protesters.

Nigerian Army said it would commence Exercise Crocodile Smile VI from October 20 to December 31, as part of its effort to enhance the safety and security of the country.

The Army had earlier stated that it would not abdicate its constitutional responsibility of protecting the integrity of the Nigerian state.

 “Buhari should not invite soldiers to resolve a purely democratic issue that calls for dialogue and constructive engagement,” Falana warned.

He stated that protests are a common phenomenon in the world today, citing examples of events in Hong Kong, United States, France, South Africa, Belarus and even in Sudan, and declared that nowhere had soldiers been deployed to suppress the protesters.

“Nigeria wants to set another ugly precedence in world history,” the group said.

Falana  reminded the Federal Government that Operation Crocodile Smile had been declared illegal by a Nigerian Court with competent jurisdiction following legal actions filed by Falana.

It added that efforts by the Chief of Army Staff to challenge the order by approaching the Court of Appeal met a brick wall.

The statement recalled that the Federal High Court in July this year granted a perpetual injunction restraining the Army from such an exercise, in Femi Falana SAN v Chief of Army Staff (FHV/L/CS/1939/19

The group said it was already monitoring and compiling lists of all extra-judicial killings associated with the protests and that Buratai or any soldier involved in any killings would be held personally responsible at the international court.

The statement added that peaceful protests remained the only way Nigerians are entitled under the Nigerian constitution to register their grievances against a system that suffocates them.

“The plan to deploy soldiers is dangerous. It will push Nigeria into the red light district of global reckoning.

“Sending soldiers after school children and leaders of tomorrow shows what future we anticipate for the teeming population of young men and women who have taken to the streets to protest against a system that buries their dreams and shatter their potentials and aspirations.

“Nigerian authorities said on Saturday that soldiers will be deployed this week to bring an end to the weeklong demonstration over police brutality.

“We urge President Mohammadu Buhari not to use soldiers to quell a peaceful, civil protest.

“The protesters have been lawful. The few cases of violence were associated with armed thugs disrupting the protests coupled with the shooting of protesters by security operatives.”

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