The Lagos Peace Walk : A Public Disgrace To LASUSU Leadership

By Adedamola Adedayo

Last week, it was in the news that the leadership of Lagos State University students Union promised to join Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in the peace walk scheduled for this month. The news, inevitably, was condemned among and beyond the majority of the youth across Nigeria. Before then, the Lagos State Governor had invited major actors in the last year brutally concluded #Endsars protest to join him in a peace walk to commiserate those innocent comrades who were killed and at Lekki tollgate during the protest. This movement attests to the government admittance of the massacre of the bright and unfulfilled Nigerian youngstars unjustly killed. It is now obvious that truth is like a smoke. No matter man tries to conceal it, the flame will always find its way out to the day. Despite government denial. Despite the army contradictory claims. It is now certain that the truth has been admitted.

Actually, the proposed peace walk is a good move. However, nevertheless, aside that the government is putting the lives of its citizens at the risk of the o

Omicron COVID-19 variant by organising crowd gathering at this critical time when the virus is ranging. It is also disappointing that the government has failed to address the issues surrounding police cruelty and their uncivil activities in the state particularly. And, still worrisome that the eleven recommendations out of the 33 submitted by the Lagos State Judicial Panel set- up to investigate police brutality and Lekki massacre are yet to be implemented by the government up to this moment. Apart from this, the assurance of the implementation is not vivid. If the government needs to be told these are what are germane at this time.

You could recall that in October last year, Nigerian youth took over the social media and the centre streets across the country to protest against police brutality and for government accountability. At first, one could presume that the protest would be fruitful and perhaps those in political authorities would succumb to good governance as clamoured by the youth. Rather, it was disheartening that what was meted our to those young patriotic Nigerians was brutal carried by the Nigerian federal government security agents. It was ironically that what was campaigned against was only the response the government could use to disrupt the peaceful protest. And the hell loose on the 20th of the year October at the Lekki tollgate around 7pm. While the young and non- violence protesters were singing, yearning for good governance, the Nigerian government through the Nigerian army came upon them and fired live bullets on the protesters who were helplessly singing national anthem, waving the national flag to depict their peacefulness. As it was reported, before the unfortunate incident, some suspected government workers had earlier removed the CCTV cameras installed at the tollgate. And the cut-off of the billboard and street lights at the tollgate was also reported. All these evidences showed government involvement and masterminded in the Lekki Massacre. According to Lagos State Judicial Panel reports, a number of young protesters were killed by the Nigerian military personnel. Up to this time, no one has been arrested, let alone prosecuted.

In any very serious climes, the failure of government to protect its citizenry is strong enough for its resignation. Unfortunately, here in Nigeria, the government is rather planning peace walk when the perpetrators of the heinous act have not been brought to justice. Maybe, we need to remimd the government that justice comes before peace. There can never be everlasting peace and healing without treating what and who caused the wounds and injuries.

The leadership of Lagos State University Students Union has, unarguably, put itself to public disgrace by assuring governor Sanwo-Olu that they would come out en masse to join the governor in the whatever peace walk. I hope the leaders of the Union know that victims of Lekki massacre were youth like them. They were comrades agitating for better Nigeria for everyone before their lives were cut short by government apparatus. The agony of Lekki tollgate massacre has not left the hearts of the parents and families of the victims. The pains and sorrow is unforgetful memories for the people concerned. And until when justice is appropriately served. And when the accused criminals are well prosecuted. And when crucial Lagos State Judicial Panel's recommendations have been implemented, then the government can call for any peace walk whatsoever.

To round off, If they also believe that there cannot be a peace without justice, the Badmus Uthman led admistration must retract his earlier statement and also join the public outcry for justice for the sake of posterity.

©Adeleye Damilare

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