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Nigeria’s Human Rights Activist Mr. Femi Falana has warned the government of President Muhammadu Buhari against using the military or any form of force to suppress the #EndSars protests across Nigeria.
“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,” he said.
Falana who is chairman of a leading coalition of labour and civil society groups, the Alliance for the Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, said the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, risk facing the International Criminal Court in the Hague if any of the protesters were killed.
He said, “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.
He cautioned the APC-led government to avoid another ugly situation similar to what happened in a few countries where soldiers were deployed to silence peaceful protesters.
“Nigeria wants to set another ugly precedence in world history. The Federal Government should be reminded that Operation Crocodile Smile has been declared illegal by Nigeria court with competent jurisdiction following legal actions filed by Mr Femi Falana and efforts by the Chief of Army Staff to challenge the order by approaching the Court of Appeal met a brickwall.”
The statement read, “ASCAB 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.
“Every bullet that goes out from the barrel of the gun, is owned by the people of Nigeria adding that it is a crime under international law to release these bullets with the hope of taking human life.”
His statement is coming barely 24 hours after the Nigerian military announced its plan to launch Exercise Crocodile Smile across the country amid #EndSars movement.