Pastor Tunde Bakare, the Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to unravel the killers of the #EndSARS Protesters in the Lekki area of Lagos State.
The young protesters had converged at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night when they were shot by security operatives shortly after the Lagos State Government declared curfew in the state.
Bakare, who spoke on Sunday during his sermon in church, asked President Buhari to prosecute the soldiers who sent many young Nigerians to their early graves and left other with varying degrees of injuries.
“I strongly recommend that President Buhari should ensure that those who ordered armed soldiers to fire on innocent citizens are fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law,” he said.
The senior pastor admonished Nigerians to be wary of ethnic colorations, religious differences and other divisive means designed to distract them from the real issues of governance.
He also urged the citizens to keep their hopes alive, adding that the New Nigeria everyone yearned for is within reach.
“This is not the nation we hope to bequeath to our children. We will build this nation, not upon the altar of the blood of our young people, but on their visions and aspirations,” Bakare said.
Speaking further, he said that no degree of brutal repression of protesters can overcome the desire of protests in the hearts and minds of the people.
To Bakare, any attempt to resolve the issues must go beyond the surface to excavate the underlying factors that led to the protest.
“Your bullets may drive them off the streets, but your bullets cannot pierce their spirits or puncture their resilience.
“Our overarching challenge is systemic governance failure which, over the decades, has worsened the living conditions of Nigerians. As a result, although the Special Anti-Robbery Squad has been disbanded, the spirit of SARS continues to prowl unchecked,” he said.
His remarks come five days after several people were killed and others injured after security operatives opened fire at #EndSARS protesters in Lekki.
Security operatives had stormed the scene of the protest on Tuesday night hours after the Lagos Government announced a 24-hour curfew and opened fire.
The action drew global condemnation both within the country and outside of Nigeria with the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS calling for a thorough probe into the tragic shooting.
On Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called for an end to police brutality in Nigeria, condemning violent clashes that claimed multiple lives and caused many injuries.
According to a communiqué issued by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief has been following recent developments in Nigeria and has called for an end to police brutality and abuses.
Similarly, Chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, offered his sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
Mr Mahamat appealed to all political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law.