A former deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Thursday, called on the Police Service Commission (PSC) to urgently dismiss and prosecute the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Hakeem Odumosu, for illegally ordering the teargassing and arrest of youths who protested peacefully to mark the first anniversary of #EndSARS on Wednesday.
Frank, who is the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Ambassador to East Africa and Middle East, in a statement in Abuja, lauded Nigerian youths, celebrities, artistes and activists who in spite of the draconian orders of the police marked the #EndSARS first anniversary with protests across several states in Nigeria and the FCT, with the slogan: “We Will Not Forget 2010 20 Lekki Massacre.”
He condemned the use of brutal force, pepper spray and teargas against protesters by security personnel at the Lekki Tollgate following what he called the illegal, wicked and anti-people order by the Lagos CP.
He also condemned the harassment, intimidation, manhandling, battering and arrest of journalists including Legit.ng online reporter, Abisola Alawode; PM News correspondent, Taiwo Okanlawon, and the AriseNews crew comprising Adefemi Akinsanya and Ope Adenihun, while carrying out their legitimate assignment during the protest.
He called for the immediate release of all #EndSARS detainees held over a year ago and those who were arrested during the memorial procession in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said the police have failed to learn lesson from the #EndSARS which was triggered by their atrocities against law abiding and innocent citizens but have continued to treat Nigerians like slaves.
Frank insisted that the police are only up and doing when it comes to arresting, teargassing, and pepper spraying peaceful protesters but become hesitant when it comes to challenging and arresting bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements making life unbearable for Nigerians across the country.
He also condemned the silence of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in the face of brutal police aggression against innocent Nigerians exercising their democratic rights to protest against ills in society.
The political activist reminded Buhari that police were never used to stop him and members of his party from protesting during his days as an opposition leader.
He lamented that despite the nation’s democratic dispensation, the Buhari administration has become increasingly dictatorial and intolerant of lawful dissent which is a major ingredient of participatory democracy.
He called on members of the international community to sanction the Inspector General of Police for superintending a police force that has become notorious for gross human rights abuses, extra-judicial killings and corruption in the country.
He urged the police to perform their duties in line with the laws of the land and equally borrow a leaf from the diligence, courage, comportment and civility of their counterparts in other countries.
Frank also called on the National Assembly to investigate the cases of assaults against peaceful protesters and the media in Lagos by men of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies and bring all erring operatives to book.