Since the terrible Lekki saga, in which some EndSars protesting youths were reported to have lost their lives after some deployed soldiers were alleged to have fired live ammunition at them during their agitation against the unprofessional conduct of operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been at the centre of controversy of the perception of Nigerians on his involvement in the execution of the military operation.
Nigerians, home and abroad, have not hidden their utmost displeasure at their perceived complicity of the former Lagos governor in the deployment of soldiers to the venue of the peaceful protest.
Tinubu, however, has debunked all rumours linking him to the incident while insisting Nigerians are wrongly accusing him.
Speaking in a phone conversation with a Channels TV correspondent, Tinubu condemned the action of the soldiers who carried out the gruesome act and reiterated his innocence in the whole saga.
In his words, “They (the protesters) have the right to free speech, freedom of association and freedom to complain”.
Tinubu stated he was shocked when he learnt that the protesters, who had conducted themselves very peacefully for the past 13 days, were suddenly attacked by the military. He wondered why teargases and rubber bullets were jettisoned for life ammunition. He asked, “Why would they use life bullets? There are rubber bullets: we are parents. I condemn this act in no supporting manner”.
He denied any vested interest with the revenue generated from the Lekki toll-gate, Bola Tinubu responded, I don’t own the business, it is a public business owned by Lagos State government.” He says, “I have no dime, no kobo in respect to the toll-gate”.
He advised the government to ensure whoever gave the orders for the deployment of the military operatives against the protesting youths be fished out and put on trial. Speaking further, Tinubu said although it is only the Chief of Army Staff and the President who has the power to give such an order, he doubted if Buhari had any knowledge of it.
When asked if he believed there was any conspiracy in play, Tinubu responded in the affirmative. He said, “I’m not even sure if those were Nigerian soldiers”.
Since reports started circulating on the shooting of peaceful protesters on Tuesday night, violence has broken out in all parts of the states with the streets almost completely taken over by hoodlums amidst reported cases of vandalism, lootings, killings, extortion, and destruction of properties.
Some business outlets, assumed to have direct or indirect interest link to the ex-governor, were razed by the rampaging hoodlums. Amongst these were Television Continental (TVC), Oriental Hotel, The Nation’s Newspaper and many others.
Also, the Palace of the Oba of Lagos was not spared.