The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has criticized last Tuesday’s attack on #EndSARS protesters at the toll gate in Lekki, Lagos.
TheNewGuru recalls that on Tuesday, men dressed in army camouflage had stormed the Lekki area of Lagos where youths protesting against police brutality had kept vigil.
In a statement issued in reaction to the tragic incident on Friday, Biodun Ogunyemi, the ASUU president, slammed the federal government’s approach to the protest.
“ASUU was shocked to receive reports of violent attacks on protesting youths under the aegis of #EndSARS, killing and maiming a number of them in Lagos and other states in the country,” he wrote.
“At the Lekki Toll Plaza on Tuesday, the light was switched off while armed security operatives swooped on the peaceful demonstrators who kept vigil at the venue.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the government’s handling of the incident. The repression and killing of any citizen for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to protest is unjustifiable and criminal.
“ASUU fully identifies with Nigerian youth in exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and non-violent protest.
“Cumulative reports attest to the reckless, unguarded, and anti-people activities of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) arm of the Nigeria Police Force.”
Ogunyemi, while commiserating with the families whose children were “cut short” in the shooting, charged the government to bring the culprits to justice.
“From all indications, SARS had become an instrument of oppression intimidating, extorting, and killing innocent youth and cities on trump up charges. Those who survived the SARS experience tell gory tales,” he added.
“ASUU commiserates with the families whose children and ward’s lives were cut short and other citizens who are still nursing various degrees of injury.
“In the immediate, the government should take measures to pick out the culprits and bring them to justice without further delay in order to come to all frayed nerves.
“Our ruling class should remember that only continuous engagements with the citizenry, especially the youthful population and the working class, would deepen Nigeria’s democracy and guarantee lasting peace in the country.”