The World Council of Churches (WCC) is shocked by the violence perpetrated against unarmed protestors at Lekki toll gate, Lagos, on the evening of 20 October 2020 by security force personnel in military camouflage using live ammunition, resulting in a reported 20 deaths and 50 injured. We join the rising chorus of condemnation in Nigeria and around the world against this atrocity.
We note that the Vice-President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, has responded by promising justice for all those killed or wounded in the attack on Tuesday night. We call on the government to deliver on this promise without delay and with full transparency, and to fulfil its fundamental duty to protect the lives and properties of its people. Further, we urge the government of Nigeria to act decisively to address the legitimate demands of the protesters.
The protests, which began two weeks ago, initially focused on police brutality – a point tragically underscored by the unconscionable violence against peaceful unarmed demonstrators on Tuesday night – but have widened to address a range of issues of national concern requiring governmental action and reform.
Nigerian church leaders and national ecumenical councils – the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) – had expressed their support for the peaceful protests and the demands being made, and have reacted to the recent bloodshed with outrage and demands for accountability. The WCC conveys its solidarity and support to the churches of Nigeria as they seek to fulfil their essential ministry for justice, peace and human dignity and rights at this difficult and dangerous moment in the life of the nation.
Geneva 22 October 2020
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Interim General Secretary
World Council of Churches