- JAF Insists on System Change
THE Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has demanded of the federal to immediately produce those behind the killing of multiple #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday in Lagos or face possible industrial action from the union.
A statement by the union, signed by Comrades Lumumba I. Okugbawa and Festus Osifo, President and General Secretary respectively, also demanded of the federal government to provide adequate security for protesters in line with democratic norms while urging President Buhari, as Commander in Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces, to “seize this opportunity to provide uncommon leadership and stir the ship of this nation to safety.”
The union said it viewed the images of shootings of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate with sadness, heavy heart and deep concerns for the nation.
“Without mincing words, we vehemently say that this unfortunate incident falls short of any standard of civilization globally of handling peaceful protest in any democratic system.
“Our hearts bleed for innocent Nigerians who lost their lives or got injured in this senseless and inhumane action of the armed security agents of the government.
“Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go to the families of the victims as well.
As an institution that indulges in peaceful protest on a regular basis, there is a renewed sense of insecurity with the new tactics employed by the men of our armed forces. We are not against government arresting any hoodlum who may want to hide under the guise of the peaceful protest to perpetuate violence but to unleash this level of cruelty on peaceful and harmless protesters who were holding the National flag, singing the National Anthem in demonstration of their belief in the cause of the country by killing and injuring them is highly condemnable,” PENGASSAN stated.
JAF Insists on System Change
Meanwhile, the Joint Action Front in a statement on Wednesday evening insisted that the ‘masacre’ of protesters brings to the front burner its persistent call for systemic change in the country.
JAF, in a statement signed by its chairperson, Dr Dipo Fashina, and Secretary, Comrade Abiodun Aremu, stated that under the current system, only a tiny group of Nigerians has cornered what belongs to all.
The statement reads in part: “The latest act of massacre of Nigerians brings to fire once more the point we in JAF have consistently made that: “… there is a very tiny group of Nigerians who has cornered the wealth that belongs to the working people and the poor, who are in majority.
“They loot the Treasury and use their stolen wealth to sustain themselves in power through their political parties. They use their power to get richer and richer while the poor get poorer and poorer.
“This is the system of exploitation and oppression. It is the system that brings out the army and the police to kill poor people when they protest against exploitation and oppression.
“We want to change that system and replace it with a system where the working people and millions of people who are suffering under the system of exploitation will win power and ensure that the wealth of Nigeria is used to ensure a good life for the majority of the people who are now exploited and oppressed.
“Therefore, system change is not replacing one exploiter’s government by another exploiter’s government. It is replacing an exploiter’s government by a people’s government to reorganize Nigeria and put an end to exploitation and oppression …”
JAF condemned in its entirety the killings which it also described as “mass murder and genocide” stating that the day will go down in history as a sad day.
“October 20, 2020 will go down as a SAD DAY in which the Nigeria Army committed one of its worst atrocities when it unleashed genocidal venom on patriotic Nigerian youths and women [at the Lekki Toll Gate] in Lagos Nigeria using the guise of curfew imposed by the Lagos Government and in which scores of peaceful and defenceless Nigerians were injured and several murdered for daring to continue the #EndSARS Protest,” JAF stated as it commiserated with the families and relations of victims of the state murder.