Group wants Nigeria push for end to 50 years of dictatorship in Togo

WorldStage Newsonline– A group called Togolese Civil League (TCL) has appeal to Nigeria government to exercise it influential power in the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS), for a democratic transition of power to end 50 years of dictatorship in Togo.

The Executive Director of TCL, Farida Nabourema said at a press conference in Abuja on Friday that the Republic of Togo since 19 August 2017 had experienced an unprecedented socio political crisis marked by street protest, strike and a shutdown in economic activities.

According to her, “In aftermath of the government’s violent response to these protests, dozens of people have lost their lives, hundred have been injured or thrown in jail and many more have been displaced. Nevertheless, the people of Togo continue to relentlessly protest against the government and are demanding political reforms that can lead to a democratic transition.

“In October 1992, following a referendum, the people of Togo approved a new constitution by over 97% of the votes. This ushered in a new republic that was supposed to end 25years of military rule by the late Gnassingbe Eyadem family. Unfortunately, through political maneuvering and violent repression, President Eyadema and his ruling party managed to modify the constitution in 2002.

“These modification remover terms limit and instituted a single round ballot along with giving power to the president and weakening the legislative and the judiciary arms of government.

“In 2007, Faure Gnassingbe, succeeding his deceased father through a bloody ascent to power, entered into an agreement with the opposition parties to conduct a set of political reforms including terms limit. 10 years after the agreement, the promises are yet to be fulfilled.”

Nabourema said this had led people of Togo into street protests to demand for the reinstatement of the original 1992 constitution that was unilaterally modified.

On the expectations of the Togolese Civil League from Nigerian government, Nabourema said, “Nigeria is the largest country in the region and the most powerful country in ECOWAS. Nigeria has a lot of influence in ECOWAS and it has used that in the past to help other countries overcome dictatorship like the cases of Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

“So we believe that Nigeria has a lot of power and influence and if they do put pressure on the Togolese government to stop restricting people freedom of association and respect people freedom of expression, then we will have the liberty to continue our protest peacefully and we will be able to obtain from our government what we demand from them.

“We are not asking for Nigeria to send military to come and remove the government, we are taking matters into our own  hands, but we do believe that as citizen of the ECOWAS region we desire to have the consideration that any other citizen of the ECOWAS have.”

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