We of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemn in strong terms the burning of mass transit buses by soldiers of the Nigerian Army in Lagos on Friday, July 4, 2014. We see this barbaric action as the continuation of attacks on democratic rights by security operatives. In the last few months we have witnessed brutal repression of press and protesters as well as killing of innocent citizens by soldiers and police officers with impunity.
According to media reports, all hell was let loose when the soldiers were protesting the killing of their colleague, one Matthew Ishaya by a BRT bus driver. Scores of the BRT buses were burnt and many people were left injured. We consider appalling the unashamed denial of the involvement of soldiers in this mayhem by the army authorities in spite of overwhelming evidence. The CDWR calls for the identification of the soldiers responsible for this madness and their immediate prosecution.
We also condemn reckless driving by some BRT drivers who have caused many injuries and deaths. We however blame this on the law enforcement agents like Police and the Lagos state owned LASTMA who usually turn a blind eye to the infraction of traffic rules by some BRT drivers. We note that these enforcement agents readily pounce, albeit in most cases for self-serving purpose, on private motorists and commercial bus drivers for offences of even lesser degree than what some BRT drivers commit with impunity.
We equally condemn the attack by these uncouth, rampaging soldiers on journalists and curious citizens taking photographs of the arson. We consider this as an attack on the democratic rights of the working people.
We call on labour leadership not only to condemn this barbarism but also begin to build mass resistance against the growing relapse into military brutality and despotism.