Panel’s chairman describes killings as ‘massacre’

THE LEADER of a Nigerian Judicial Committee on Justice has condemned the killing of human rights workers in a toll gate in Lagos state as a “massacre.”

In a statement on Thursday, the Committee’s Chairman, Ezeani Ezekwesili condemned the ongoing shootings targeting the security of the Lagos Judicial system at the Lougheru toll gate in Lekki,

In an open letter, the Committee wrote: “This is a massacre against men of the Nigerian judiciary and the soft targets of the men of the Lagos Legal profession.

“It is a war against the rule of law, against Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

“It is a war against the rule of law, against justice.”

Mrs. Ezekwesili added: “It is an assault on the lives of every man, woman and child. There is a war against every Nigerian. The Nigerian Constitution which is the foundation of our nationhood and the promise of every citizen makes the prevention and prosecution of all crimes compulsory, and that includes commercializing robbery.

“It gives the right to respond effectively to threats and aggression. It provides for public order, public safety and the maintenance of law and order.

“There is a war against Boko Haram and all others who commit terrorism. The rule of law is violated in Nigeria when any illegal act is permitted and condoned.”

She stated: “Private security is contractually required to be designated by the operator, at a distance of 3,000 meters or 3.5 kilometres, below the driver’s height, or stay outside the limiter.”

“We cannot tolerate anarchy at the Lagos Judicial Road,” Ezekwesili said.

She said a key function of the judiciary in Nigeria was to protect Nigerians’ fundamental human rights.

“Nothing can undermine the rule of law and judicial independence like this attack at the Lougheru Toll gate in Lekki, the capital of Lagos State,” she said.

She wondered who will decide when or if human rights are to be violated, when governors and other public officers commit such contempt to the right to life.

The Committee also made a veiled reference to the fact that Nigerians who dared to criticize, which the Committee referred to as “your speech,” were detained for days.

“We live in an unsafe country. Since 2013, at least 14 persons who have criticised, commented on or quoted from newspapers and other media outlets have been detained.

“We appeal to you to send a strong signal that any attempt to undermine the judiciary and counter the rule of law and the Constitution will be resisted,” Ezekwesili said.

She urged the president to investigate the involvement of his security aides in the shootings.

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