A former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has denied any involvement in the Tuesday shooting of #EndSARS protesters by some soldiers in Lagos.
The shooting of the protesters at the Lekki Toll has since attracted global outrage against the Nigerian authorities.
It would be recalled that following the shooting, several allegations were been made against Mr Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, regarding the incident, with some people saying he ordered the shooting, despite lack of evidence
Some businesses linked to Mr Tinubu, including The Nation newspaper and a television station, TVC, all in Lagos were set ablaze by hoodlums.
In a telephone interview with Channels Television reporter, Olu Philips, Mr Tinubu cleared and dissociated himself from the inhume attack on Tuesday night.
Speaking on how he felt after he first heard of the shooting, Tinubu said:
“I was shocked. Knowing fully well that I have a history of being an activist and a protester in the past. I am appealing to the conscience of all Nigerians and protesters. What the protesters were demanding is right. They have the right to freedom and I am appealing to them to call off the protest.
“I got a call tonight that the army had attacked Nigerian children. I was shocked. I began picking calls and making enquiries because human lives were involved and in democracy, you hear suddenly that people are being attacked by people in military uniform with live bullet attack, you will be shocked. I am shocked and ready to complain to the highest level.”
Beyond being shocked, Tinubu says he condemns the act and that there are other ways of resolving this issues instead of using live ammunition. He said it was a painful occurrence because they are parents too.
In reaction to being linked to the toll gate attack as there are rumours that he has stakes in the toll gate revenue which stopped coming in because the protesters gathered there for 14 days, Tinubu said:
“When this protest started, I was accused and reported to the Presidency. They said I was behind the protest and a sponsor. I even spoke to the governor to do something and that was why he set up a judicial panel of inquiry. He arranged N200 million Naira as restitution and compensation for those affected.
“I will never, never, be part of any carnage. The use of live ammunition (against the protesters) is condemnable in totality.”
When asked if he ordered the shooting of unarmed Nigerian youths waving the Nigerian flag honourably, he said:
“I said no, capital no. How can I be part of that remotely or otherwise? It is not possible. I am an unapologetic protester and I saw people being killed during the Abacha regime and condemned it. I have gone to detention and even exile and condemned it. The protest that tolerated for 12/13 days, how can we shed innocent blood to end the protest. There are other means like tear gas, pepper spray or rubber bullets, not live ammunition.
“I don’t believe the president himself will authorize this.”
Speaking on how the government should handle the black Tuesday issue, Mr Tinubu said:
“My advise to the government is to fish out those behind the crime and prosecute them. The government is slow in fishing out SARS operatives who excised brutality and killed innocent people that caused the protest in the first place. I expected that they ought to have arrested one or two of them and taken them for trial and suspended them.
“Now whoever ordered the attack of tonight (Tuesday) should be brought to book. It is only the Chief of Army Staff or the President who can give such an order.”
Asked what he would do if he was in place to take some drastic decisions concerning the incident, Mr Tinubu said:
“I will let go of some people, fire them and appeal to Nigerian youths and ask the commission to look into what caused the demonstration. Equally, I will look into the welfare of the police as well as the Army and reprimand the officers to find out who gave the instruction to kill innocent children.”
“I am not sure if the soldiers are from the Nigerian Army. I’m not sure yet. I’m not sure how the uniforms of the Army are controlled,” Tinubu said while responding to if he smelled a conspiracy.
Responding to if he thinks this government has failed Nigerian youths, Tinubu said:
“I won’t pass that judgment now. That’s why I have been taking telephone calls to educate the people. There is a limitation here, I can only control my personal security guards.”
Watch the full video here: