By Tunde Opalana
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to, without further delay, set up an independent National Truth Commission on the reported killing of peaceful protesters by security agencies during recent nationwide #EndSARS protest.
The party would also want the Commission to verify the alleged recruiting of hoodlums by agents of government to disrupt the patriotic demonstration by Nigerian youths against police brutality in the country.
The bemoaned the Buhari Presidency for remaining evasive and chose to push the responsibility of enquiry to the states, despite widespread allegations of involvement of federal government interests in the crime against humanity going on in Nigeria.
The PDP in a statement on Friday by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, said its call for a National Truth Commission is predicated “on the failure of the Buhari administration to come clean on the involvement of the military in the Lekki shooting as well as the recruiting of hoodlums to attack peaceful protesters in Abuja and other parts of the country.
“Nigerians remain alarmed by the contradicting claims by government on the Lekki killing.
It is recalled that in its first reaction, the military denied deploying troops to Lekki Toll Gate.
“This denial was followed by a strange claim by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who pointed accusing fingers to faceless hoodlums in military uniform as being responsible for the Lekki killing, only for the military to later inform the Lagos enquiry panel that the military was invited to the Lekki Toll gate by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
“In the same vein, Nigerians are disturbed by the contradicting claims by Governor Sanwo-Olu, who earlier asserted that there was no causality at Lekki Toll Gate, only for him to admit afterwards that one person died and later changed his figure to two.
“Besides, the Federal Government has failed to make any clarifications on the viral video showing armed hoodlum being brought in vehicles belonging to security agencies and openly coordinated to unleash violence on unarmed and peaceful protesters in Abuja and other parts of the country.
“The global community has been in distress over graphic videos of the night shooting at Lekki Toll Gate as well as the gory pictures of Nigerians killed while waving our nation’s flag and singing the national anthem in protest against police brutality and myriads of injustices under the Buhari administration.
“Nigerians are yet to be told who ordered the deployment of soldiers to Lekki Toll Gate and how police vehicles where used to bring in armed thugs to attack and kill protesters in Abuja.
“In all of these, the Buhari administration had been paying lip service without addressing the core issues of killing of civil and peaceful protesters in our country”.
The party said instead, the Federal Government is desperately plotting to gag Nigerians, stifle the press and shut down the social media among other desperate measures, including threatening CNN for carrying out an investigative report on the killings of protesters.
It insisted that the attack on the media, hounding and persecuting of protesters as well as alleged harassment of Nigerians who are willing to testify at the enquiry panels in some states, raise apprehensions of desperation for cover up.
“The PDP, standing with millions of Nigerians, particularly the voiceless victims of these injustices, therefore insists that President Buhari must immediately establish an independent national truth commission, on the manifest crime against humanity going on in our country today”, concluded the party.