Tuesday, September 27, 2022

#LekkiMassacre: One month after, Ahmed Lawan’s Senate still quiet on military onslaught

Mr. Lawan’s silence could play into the hands of his critics, who have long ridiculed his leadership as a ‘rubber stamp’ of the Buhari administration.

• November 20, 2020
Nigerian Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. [CREDIT: Senate Twitter handle]
Nigerian Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. [CREDIT: Senate Twitter handle]

The Nigerian Senate has remained tight-lipped on the military’s massacre of citizens at Lekki Toll-Gate one month after the carnage.

Leader of the upper chamber Ahmad Lawan has failed to issue a statement on the October 20 massacre, despite the furore it ignited — coupled with global condemnation from world leaders. Mr. Lawan’s silence could play into the hands of his critics, who have long ridiculed his leadership as a ‘rubber stamp’ of the Buhari administration.

Members of the upper legislative chamber were locked in a fierce debate on the Senate’s WhatsApp group on October 25 about how to immediately respond to the incident, Peoples Gazette reported, based on testimony from some senators who took part in the discussion.

The Gazette learnt that while a former deputy senate president Ike Ekweremadu and chairperson of the red chamber’s committee on women affairs Betty Apiafi later issued separate statements condemning the army’s shooting of unarmed protesters who were singing the national anthem, the Lawan-led Senate has kept mum ever since.

A spokesman for the Nigerian Senate did not return a request seeking comments about the chamber’s silence on the massacre, despite worldwide outrage.

The Nigerian Army has yet to be indicted for its role in the Lekki killings despite credible video evidences pieced together by both local and international news networks.

Military authorities have continued to exonerate the service, insisting that its personnel acted professionally on the night of the carnage. The Gazette reported that the world crimes tribunal ICC has, however, commenced its preliminary investigations into the army’s role, as well as that of Buhari government officials in the shootings.

The UK Parliament has also scheduled November 23 to debate a petition seeking urgent sanctions against Buhari administration officials for the tragic incident.

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