A former presidential aspirant, Oby Ezekwesili, has called on Nigerian women to speak up for their children.
In several tweets on Wednesday, Mrs Ezekwesili noted that events had changed since armed soldiers opened fire on the peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate, Tuesday evening.
“Sisters, we must arise and do as we do as moms when someone harms our children,” she wrote.
“With the Nigeria military’s cold-blooded massacre of our children who were tenaciously fighting to restore the value and dignity of the Nigerian life, the fight has totally changed sisters. Sisters, we must now do what we usually do when anyone hurts our children.
“We cannot let the blood of our children wailing out there in the land be in vain.
“Buhari the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigeria Army who alone could have instructed last night’s operation has to send hear us in one accord. Arise and declare #RatherUsThanOurChildren, #NigeriaWomenArise.”
Several protesters were killed and many more wounded after the soldiers fired at them, shortly before a state-wide 24-hour curfew was slated to begin.
Several prominent local and international figures had condemned the shootings. Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, said the incident was reminiscent of the “Abacha days.”
In her statement on Wednesday, Joe Okei-Odumakin, the president of Women Arise Foundation, described the shooting of the mostly young protesters as “barbaric.”
“Government’s strong-arm tactics against them will, therefore, not only backfire but leave it reeling from its new status of a dictatorial regime,” she said.
“We should watch it lest this country relapse into a pariah state that it was under Abacha. The Lagos State government cannot wash its hands clean of this massacre.
“It must, therefore, immediately move to send the soldiers back to their barracks, allow access to medical treatment to the injured, and ensure the release of arrested youths.”
Mrs Okei-Odumakin called for the families of the dead to be compensated and also to get justice, and the wounded treated free of charge.
“And laws must now be made to, henceforth, prevent the use of soldiers in civil protests. Never again must the guns we procured for our safety and the soldiers we pay to protect us be unleashed on us and our children.”