Garaku protest, 14 years after

It is now 14 years since the Garaku 2009 protest which led to the death of some citizens in Garaku, Nasarawa state.

On that fateful day youths across Garaku town organised a peaceful protest in an effort to avert the carnage on their roads orchestrated by over-speeding vehicles within Garaku metropolis. The protest was aimed at drawing the attention of the Nasarawa state government to seek to intervene in the situation.

The protest was on course as the activities of the peaceful protesters resulted to a heavy traffic jam, which led to the deployment of security personnel to the scene. The security agents were to facilitate protest management, to minimise and de-escalate conflict and negotiate and mediate or possibly engage in dialogue to come to a mutual understanding with the protesters. But instead, they attacked and fired at the peaceful protesters.

The most disheartening and annoying part of it, was the fact that; most of the victims were pedestrians, children, women and innocent citizens who were not part of the protest. This resulted to a lot of chaos and casualties as some were some killed. Yet, the then Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma’s administration neither compensated the affected families nor paid for the properties that were destroyed. To date, nobody has been punished for the crime against humanity and peaceful protesters that took place 14 years ago.

On behalf of the law abiding citizens of Garaku in Kokona local government area of Nasarawa state who strongly condemn the barbaric and evil act orchestrated by security agents on its citizens, we are appealing to the Nasarawa state government to bring the perpetrators of this heinious crime to book. The state government should as well compensate the victims as it’s still not too late.

Nigeria practices a democratic system of government; as such, citizens have the right to conduct peaceful processions, rallies or demonstration. It’s a right guaranteed by sections 38, 39, 40 and 41 of the 1999 constitution, as amended.

Conclusively, I sympathise with those directly or indirectly affected by the sad, unexpected outcome of the protest. And for the deceased, I convey my heartfelt commiseration to the families and loved ones and pray their souls will continue to rest in peace. Their sacrifices will forever be indelible in our memory.

Nasiru Abubakar,

Nasarawa State University, Keffi