The streets of Nigeria are coursing with the blood of innocents felled by guilty bullets of state agents. The Nigerian flag has turned scarlet from being a sponge soaking up the living fluid of harmless citizens who thought that the murderers would respect the symbol of the nation and spare their lives. The bodies of citizens are broken, littering the alleys. Young Nigerians who only ventured out with nothing but the flag, their fist and voice to protest against police brutality became victims of the violence they are campaigning against.
Who gave the order for the killing of at least seven citizens at Lekki and the maiming of other protesters whose only offence is to demand an end to police brutality? Who gave the order for the bloody assault on defenseless Nigerians who are only demanding good governance? Who gave the order for the cameras and lights at Lekki tollgate, where the protesters converged, to be removed ahead of the slaughter?
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, the centre of the executions, has denied culpability. According to him, forces beyond his ken dispatched the deadly violence in the state he presides over.
The governor said: ‘’This is the toughest night of our lives as forces beyond our direct control have moved to make dark notes in our history, but we will face it and come out stronger.’’
But is this not an admission of incompetence and a testament to abdication of responsibility? The primary responsibility of the state governor is to protect the lives and property of his citizens. Why did he not raise the alarm on the impending doom? Why did he surrender his state to ‘’forces beyond his direct control’’?
Well, inasmuch as, Sanwo-Olu’s complicity cannot be discounted, the order for the martyring of citizens at Lekki tollgate emanates from the highest recesses of government. The order sprouts from Aso Rock. It comes from the one who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. President Buhari gave the order! The army and the police are his to command alone; nobody not even a governor, disputes these powers with him.
Buhari gave the order!
Nigerians had railed against the president’s decision to post soldiers into the streets nationwide amid the EndSARS protests, but the president was adamant – insisting on deploying brute force against a civil action. The army’s ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ kicked off on Tuesday – and just in its first day, there are already civilian causalities across the country.
Buhari’s hands have been made unclean by the blood of the innocents. The killing of citizens only exercising their inalienable rights is on him. He cannot wash himself off this tar even if he uses hyssop. History has taken note of this day, and the place of Buhari in it is already secured as the leader of one of the most brutal and incompetent regimes in Nigeria.
The Nigerian state under Buhari has been fashioned into a coliseum of oppression and repression. The Buhari regime only pales in comparison to the Abacha junta. Life has receded to becoming ‘’solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’’ in Buhari’s Nigeria. The regime has elevated violence above order, and evil divinations above ethics, principles and common sense.
The Buhari regime is one which deliberately creates anarchy to suppress dissent. It has metaphorically set up a ‘National Thug Corps’ (NTC) for the discharge of grimy state duties. The NTC is the quasi-security arm of the regime. They are always on reserve; ready to be deployed for mayhem. They escape accountability, identification, outrage and culpability. This is why they are deployed when police clampdowns will stir a storm. We have seen how they were deployed in Abuja and Lagos.
In Abuja, security agents were providing cover for hoodlums and bandits as they unleashed attacks on protesters and other citizens. Some of these bandits were freighted from neighbouring states to the nation’s capital. At least, five citizens have been killed by these state-sponsored vermin in the FCT. This is all because the president is skittish about citizens’ power; he is more concerned about securing his seat than the lives of Nigerians. Therefore, he deploys agents of death and anarchy to hack down dissenters and incite chaos so as to fasten his fascist grip on the state.
Really, if the president has any honour left in him; he must resign now and hand himself to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution over crimes against humanity.
Buhari must account for the killing of protesters in the FCT, Lagos, Kano, Jos, Edo, Ondo, and elsewhere in the country.
His hands are unclean.
•Nwabufo is a writer and journalist