The Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), a coalition of labour and civil society groups led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has warned the Federal Government against deploying soldiers to disperse the #EndSARS protesters from the streets.
The group in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, also declared it would drag the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratao, to the International Criminal Court, in The Hague if any of the #EndSARS protesters were killed by the soldiers.
The statement titled, ‘#EndSARS: Kill protesters, face International Criminal Court, ASCAB cautions Buratai,’ urged the Federal Government to discard plans to use soldiers to send the protests off the streets of Nigeria’s main citizens.
The Next Edition reports that youths have for almost two weeks been on the streets of major cities across Nigeria protesting police brutality and seeking justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings by operatives of Police Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS).
The Next Edition had also reported that the Nigerian Army said it would commence its yearly Exercise, Operation Crocodile Smile VI from October 20 to December 31, as part of its effort to enhance the safety and security of the country.
Falana, who is the Chairman of ASCAB, in the statement warned that President Muhammadu Buhari should not invite soldiers to resolve a purely democratic issue that calls for dialogue and constructive engagement.
According to him, the protests have common features across the world as seen in Hong Kong, United States, France, South Africa, Belarus and even in Sudan and in none of the places were soldiers deployed to suppress the protesters.
ASCAB reminded the Federal Government that Operation Crocodile Smile had been declared illegal by a Nigerian Court with competent jurisdiction following legal actions filed by Falana.
ASCAB said peaceful protests remained the only way Nigerians are entitled under the Nigerian constitution to register their grievances against a system that suffocates them.
The statement further read, “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.
“Nigerian authorities said on Saturday that soldiers will be deployed this week to bring an end to the weeklong demonstration over police brutality.
“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.”