A coalition of concerned Civil Society Organisations, DefendLagos, has expressed readiness to join Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, in the proposed “Walk for Peace” by the state government to bring harmony and healing of Lagos, aftermath of EndSARS, October 20, 2020 Lekki Toll Gate shooting incident.
DefendLagos Coalition is an amalgamation of over 60 civil society organisations and self determination groups formed following the wanton destruction of Lagos on Wednesday October 21, 2020.
Coordinator Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate, CPPM, Nelson Ekujumi, and Declan Ihekaire, Activists For Good Governance, made the remarks on Friday at a press briefing, held in Ikeja, Lagos.
Also in attendance include: Domestic Violence (CAIDOV), Gbenga Soloki; Coalition of Oodua Self Determination Groups (COSEG), Dayo Ogunlana and Grassroots Democratic Initiative, Razaq Obasola, among others.
The group also warned that any attempts to sabotage the economic activities of Lagos State through the narrative of #LekkiMassacre would be forcefully and legally resisted.
The group noted that it was unfortunate that the good intentions behind the 2020 #EndSARS protests were rubbished, when hoodlums hijacked the process to destroy significant monuments, lives and even various security posts in the country, especially in Lagos State.
They commended the Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the spirit of statesmanship displayed in reaching out to some of the leaders of the #ENDSARS Protest Movement during his broadcast on Tuesday 30th November 2021.
The group also appealed to Governor Sanwo-Olu to rally the Presidency, the National Economic Council (NEC), APC legislators, the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police amongst others to push for necessary reforms in the Police.
They also stressed that those bandying the massacre narrative have a bigger agenda, noting that with time, the truth would unfold.
The group also described the White Paper as a win-win for both the government and the genuine #ENDSARS campaigners and urged the government to begin the full implementation of all the recommendations that are within its remit without delay.
According to Ihekaire: “Let it be made clear here today again, we will defend Lagos using the PEOPLE POWER. It will be peaceful. It will be purposeful. It will be legal. But it will be stronger than the power of the vocal minority trying to super-impose their false narrative on the majority.
“It is important to state here also for avoidance of doubt that some of our leaders here today attended all the sittings of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution.
“We saw how the attempts to erect the false Massacre Narrative before the panel fell poorly like a pack of cards. This is why each time we have asked them, where are the families of these people “massacred” at the Lekki Toll Gate? They will respond with insults and curses. When we ask them, have you read the report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry?
“They will call the god of thunder and resort to threats. Law is not about emotions. It is about evidential facts that will constitute a body of weight of evidence.
“Murder is a serious offence. When you say somebody was killed you must say where, when, how, by who, with what and for what. All of your claims must be able to stand the test of forensics.
“Our strategy was simply to mobilize genuine peace-loving people of Lagos in their thousands to come out to protect Lagos from the forces of destruction.
“But in a desperate attempt to make their tales by moonlight believable, they went ahead to accuse some of our leaders seated here today as those behind the alledged attacks on EndSARS protesters last year and alledged attack on one of the witnesses who testified before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
“They all including some of the leading lawyers backing them today know us very well from way back, that, that is not our own modus operandi. That is not who we are.
“That is not how we do our struggle and win. We are peace advocates and practitioners, we are pacifists who fight the strength of numbers.
“Just as though to validate the credible intelligence in our possession that the plot to bring Lagos on her knees is still very much active, one of the #ENDSARS protest leaders at 10:50pm on Tuesday 30, November 2021, a certain Sarah Ibrahim tweeted as follows: “Sanwolu (sic) has denied the #LekkiMassacre in his White Paper Report. Youths ARE WE READY?? Are we heading back to the streets?? Are we going to get justice? Should we shut everywhere down.
“This is nothing but an act of economic sabotage by the same unseen forces to return to the streets of Lagos and finish the destruction of what they left behind in October 20202 like the Egyptian plagues. If they felt aggrieved, they should approach a court of competent jurisdiction for redress.
“It is in pursuit of this peace objective that the DefendLagos Coalition hereby accepts the invitation of Governor Sanwo-Olu to the planned Lagos Peace Walk.”