Tag Archives: #EndSARS

EndSARS Frontliners Hold Babajide Sanwo-Olu Responsible for Brutal Attacks on Lagos State Panel Testifiers

November 25, 2021
Lagos, Nigeria

In a bid to instil fear in #EndSARS testifiers and silence the movement’s supporters, suspected paid thugs have begun coordinated attacks and threats, including attempted murder, against testifiers from the recently concluded Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other Matters.

On Sunday, November 21, 2021, Miss Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, a testifier at the Panel, was ruthlessly attacked by three men and left for dead at the bus stop. In her words, “Last night I was attacked on my way back home by three guys whom I thought were passers-by. But as I was standing at the bus stop waiting for a vehicle, only for one of them to shine light on my face and said: ‘Is that not the girl from the panel?’ Saying if dem kill me make I see as I go take continue dey agitate for justice.”

Ibe, who sustained grave injuries, as depicted in the video she shared online, is said to be regaining some form of stability but there is no telling how deep the emotional and psychological scars of this dreadful encounter will run.

On Monday, November 22nd, only hours after Ibe shared the chilling video of her attack wounds, Ms Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka Honey Ayuku, one of the lead witnesses who also testified before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry, found the attached flyer on her car. It is assumed that the warning is tied to her role in unraveling the bloody happenings of 20.10.20.

On the same day, another female testifier at the Panel, Serah Ibrahim, who went to visit Miss Ibe in the hospital found the same flyer on her car.

Both ladies shared images of the poster-like threat online; what looked like a well lettered plot, marking them as next on the list of EndSARS testifiers to be taken out, with the impunitive phrase “game on.”

It would be recalled that the Okwuobi-led Panel found “… that the testimonies of Miss Serah Ibrahim, Miss Dabira Ayuku, Mr. Onileowo Legend and Miss Kamsichukwu, vividly captured the protest, especially at the Lekki Toll Gate. Protesters had three drones flying around on October 20, 2020, and they were able to capture graphic details of the events and occurrences on the said day.”

As frontliners in a move that seeks the interest and progress of not just Lagos State but Nigeria as a whole, we are appalled at the audacity of these unscrupulous elements. We are further outraged by the seemingly weak security apparatus of the state that allows these assaults to take place with no form of rapid response from state security agents. In a nation where witness protection is a mirage, what will be the fate of innocent Nigerians and residents of Lagos State, who, having witnessed and survived the horrors of 20.10.20, now have to worry about their safety?

We jointly call upon Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other state agencies responsible for the security of lives and property, to rise to the occasion, provide adequate security support and investigate the attack and threats on its citizens. It is significant to note that four days after the incident and its media coverage, there has not been a statement from the Lagos State Commissioner of Police or the Lagos State Government to communicate clearly that these citizens appeared before a lawful panel and any attack on them will be seen as an attack on the State.

We state unequivocally that Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the Governor and Chief Security Officer of Lagos State will be held responsible for this attack and any other attack on testifiers and panel members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other Matters.

We will not be silenced!

God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Signed: #EndSARS Frontliners

EndSARS

PRESS RELEASE ON ENDSARS MEMORIAL

PRESS STATEMENT

“The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” – Section 14(2) (b) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protest, Global Rights calls on the government and citizens of Nigeria to introspect on the definition of nationhood, citizenship and democracy. The events which reached tipping point right after the marking of the nation’s 60th anniversary in 2020, was a watershed moment in the nation’s history and must not be forgotten by both the demand and supply sides of governance.


We remind all Nigerians that at the crux of the #EndSARS protests is a simple cry by citizens for DIGNITY. The right to live without oppression in their own country. A right to fair hearing. A right to freedom from discrimination. A right to life. All rights guaranteed by the nation’s constitution. Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’; while Section 17(2)(c) instructs that “governmental actions shall be humane”. If the Nigerian government had simply followed the injunctions of the Constitution, it is very doubtful, that the throes of a global pandemic young Nigerians mainly in their 20s and 30s, would take to the streets no longer fearing the pandemic or the brutal treatment meted on protesters.


Global Rights notes with dismay that while 28 of the 31 Judicial Panels on SARS had completed their assignments (most as far back as July), their recommendations for punitive measures against the erring officers have been implemented. Also as importantly, we note with dismay the blatant impunity that followed the protests, has resulted in an upward turn in the numbers extra-judicial killings across the country rather than a reduction. We noted that between October 2019 and September 2020 there had been at least 135 extrajudicial killings in Nigeria, excluding the number of persons killed during the #EndSARS protest. However, in spite of the government’s promise to end impunity and reform the security forces to respect the right to life and dignity of all persons as ensued by the Constitution, between October 2020 and September 2021, there was an unconscionable rise in extrajudicial killings to at least 187.
Global Rights therefore calls on the government of Nigeria to live up to its constitutional mandate of ensuring the security and welfare of all citizens, by investigating and indicting the hoodlums and security agents that disrupted the peaceful protests, implementing the recommendations of the Judicial Panels on Police, and institute reforms to ensure that security forces respect the rights of citizens.


Again, we remind the government that the right to hold dissenting opinions and the right to protest are constitutionally protected rights for all persons. The threats by the Nigerian Police Force to disallow protests related to the anniversary of the protest is unconstitutional and unbecoming of a government that professes democratic ideals. Governance will be a more productive venture when citizens feel listened to and heard by the elected representatives and public officers.

Signed

Abiodun Baiyewu
Executive Director, Global Rights Nigeria.

PRESS RELEASE: REMEMBERING #ENDSARS 2021:

October 14, 2021
Lagos, Nigeria

#ENDSARS Delegates

For Immediate Release

Remembering #EndSARS: Lingering Socio-political Unease Calls for Government-Citizen Reconciliation

“NPF’s excessive use of force has remained unchanged because many of the abuse cases have not been investigated. The inability of the state to investigate and hold perpetrators to account for their acts of terror on citizens have helped to build public distrust and resentment towards the men and women of the criminal justice institutions and state more generally.”
— Chris M A Kwaja, Ph.D
Policing, Police and the Feasibility of Their Reform in Nigeria

The call by Nigerian citizens at home and in the diaspora to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was a legitimate demand. This demand was informed by the apparent silence of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the federal government in dealing authoritatively with the inhumane and brutal actions of operatives of the SARS unit towards Nigerians, particularly the youth.

EndSARS was and remains a call from Nigerians and well-meaning people globally who were tired of being abused and traumatized by the people empowered to protect them. It ignited an awakening in young Nigerians to their civic duty of demanding accountability from the government. The protest was a peaceful convergence of young Nigerians for two weeks across cities in the country until criminals took advantage of the national outcry and decided to rob, rape, attack people and police officers, and destroy property. This informed the immediate suspension of the protest by protesters who also became victims of these criminals. It is important that the efforts of patriotic Nigerian youths exercising their civic rights and duties in demanding an end to police brutality are not defined or undermined by activities of criminals. The right to peaceful assembly remains a fundamental human right and Nigerian youths still seek justice for lives lost, citizens maimed and properties destroyed.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was established in 1992 to fight crimes associated with robbery, car theft, kidnapping and firearms whilst keeping citizens and neighborhoods safe. It eventually became an integral part of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID).

However, due to alleged (and confirmed) extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, extortion, torture, framing, blackmail, kidnapping, illegal organ trade, armed robbery, home invasions, rape of men and women, child arrests and other unprintable deeds, SARS came under heavy public scrutiny and was investigated several times in response to waves of public outcry.

All the reforms promised by the federal government in 2016, 2017 and 2018 failed to produce any meaningful outcome. Particularly in 2018, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo ordered a complete overhaul of the dreaded unit and the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Kpotun promised the nation a new security unit under the name, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS). It seemed like a glimpse of hope, however, nothing changed!

Consequently, 2019 saw a far more terrifying SARS, targeting young, innocent Nigerians without respite. The tech community was especially hit, when young men with laptops and dreadlocks became easy targets for SARS operatives. These young people were subjected to unjust profiling leading to arbitrary arrest, detention, extortion and in some cases death. This was done under the guise of fighting internet-fraud, which was clearly out of their scope of operations.

Last year’s #EndSARS protests were triggered by the alleged killing of a youth in Delta State; a gory incident that was caught on camera. The video which was circulated on social media platforms brought back the conversation on the brutality of SARS operatives with young people sharing their experiences on social media. The online protest swiftly turned into major protests across cities in Nigeria with Nigerians, particularly young people, consistently taking to the streets for a period of two weeks.

A week into the protest, on October 12, 2020, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu disbanded the unit assuring the public of a new order in the federal security agency. They were renamed the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), an already existing unit within the Police. Unfortunately, the renaming simply reinforced the perception that the government was only interested in cosmetic change, nothing structural.

One year after the start of a series of events that would significantly change police-citizen relationships in Nigeria, it is evident that #EndSARS became a platform for young people to express their frustration with a security architecture that had failed in its primary purpose—protecting the lives and property of Nigerian citizens. However, this socio-political outburst was not to negate the hard work of members of our security agencies – police and military officers – who are constantly on the frontlines, protecting citizens and the integrity of Nigeria’s borders.

Indeed, it was in recognition of this that one of the #5for5 demands focused specifically on erring police officers—calling for the instituting of an iIndependent body to oversee prosecution of officers and the immediate suspension of all officers indicted in previous panels while prosecution commences. They include officers such as Yusuf Kolo (Abuja) and CSP Sola Aremu (Oyo) among several others whose negligence or direct action led to the death of protesters and bystanders. Two of the 5 demands focused on the welfare of the police officers, financial and psychological: (1) regulations for the Police Act 2020 to implement improved welfare for police officers and (2) psychological evaluation of disbanded officers before redeployment and ongoing psychological evaluation of police officers.

However, when bad apples are not removed from a basket, they invariably spoil the whole basket. Citizens felt that the leadership of the Police Force and the various government bodies responsible for them: the Ministry of Police Affairs, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Police Trust Fund and the Police Service Commission were not doing enough to discipline its erring officers and thus, show a zero tolerance for abuse and extra-judicial killings. This was also demonstrated during the protests as the morning SARS was disbanded, the police shot at and water bombed protesters in Abuja.

In the aftermath of the protests, the National Executive Council agreed that all state governments will set up Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extrajudicial killings. Only 29 of the 36 states set up Panels. Of the 29 states: (1) Kogi was inaugurated but has not had any sittings; (2) 3 states have concluded sittings and submitted reports; (3) 18 states have completed sittings but did not submit their reports; (4) Lagos was extended until October 19th.

As different activities are being organised to mark one year since the protests, including the solemn commemoration of #LekkiKilling – October 20, Nigerians ask that the federal government take a step of reconciliation towards citizens:

First, by providing an update on what has been done to ensure victims get justice and due compensation.

Secondly, by providing an update on what the government has done over the past year to improve the welfare of police officers and ensure that our police force is equipped psychologically to enable civil interaction with citizens.

Thirdly, provide an update on how the government is equipping the Nigeria Police Force with the appropriate tools to carry out their delicate task of securing lives and property alongside a concrete plan for consequence management when such a need arises.

This anniversary is an opportunity, to foster dialogue on justice and peace, so we invite the state governments and the federal government to engage with citizens and protect them from violence in the fulfillment of their mandate as stated in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) in Section 14 (2b) which states that the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of government.

The demand remains for a Nigeria that is equitable and just.

EndSARS!

“The present generation has no other country except Nigeria. Let us salvage it together.”
Muhammadu Buhari
(President, Federal Republic of Nigeria)

‘Yemi Adamolekun
Executive Director, EiE Nigeria

Idayat Hassan
Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)

Cynthia Mbamalu
Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa

Osai Ojigho
Country Director, Amnesty International

Kemi Okenyodo
Executive Director, Partners West Africa- Nigeria

Nelson Olanipekun
Team Lead, Gavel

Joshua Olufemi
Executive Director, The Interactive

Mahmud Yusuf
Programs Manager, NULAI Nigeria

Enough is Enough Nigeria (www.eie.ng) is a network of individuals and organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through active citizenship. EiE’s #RSVP – Register | Select | Vote | Protect is a key voter education campaign. EiE was an integral part of the #OccupyNigeria movement in 2012 and is very active in the #OpenNASS and #OfficeOftheCitizen campaigns.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (www.CDDWestAfrica.org) is an independent, not-for-profit, research training, advocacy and capacity building organisation. CDD was established to mobilise global opinion and resources for democratic development and provide an independent space to reflect critically on the challenges posed to the democratisation and development processes in West Africa. The goal is to serve as the ultimate catalyst in the transformation of the West African sub-continent into an integrated, economically vibrant and democratically governed community that assures holistic security to the population and is capable of permanent peaceful conflict management.
Yiaga Africa (www.yiaga.org) is a civic hub of changemakers committed to promoting democracy, human rights and civic participation through advocacy, movement building, research and capacity building. With a vision of a people-driven democratic and developed Africa, Yiaga Africa Yiaga Africa works to build democratic societies anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, transparency and accountability.
Gavel (www.gavel.ng) accelerates the pace of justice delivery through access to justice, digital technology and citizens’ engagement.
Amnesty International Nigeria (www.amnesty.org.ng) is a human rights organization, part of a global movement of over ten million people. Amnesty International Nigeria campaigns for meaningful human rights change, enables effective human rights activism and works to persuade governments and other actors to uphold universal human rights standards. We mobilize the humanity in everyone and campaigns for change so we can all enjoy our human rights.

PWAN (www.partnersnigeria.org, info@partnersnigeria.org, +234 8091257245) The Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative is also known as Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN)/ is a non-governmental organization dedicated to enhancing citizens’ participation and improving security governance in Nigeria and West Africa broadly, achieved through its Rule of Law and Citizens Security program areas. PWAN works to ensure inclusive and transparent governance as the underpinning of a democratic and prosperous society by facilitating important conversations for security sector stakeholders, strengthening the capacity of women to participate in democratic processes, ensuring credible elections through capacity building for state and non- state actors, and developing creative ways to prevent/counter violent extremism.

The Interactive Initiative for Social Impact (www.theinteractive.org) is a civic technology organization using interactive media and technological tools to influence practices and policies that empower vulnerable and underserved groups. The Interactive was established with the mission to stimulate practices and policies that empower vulnerable and underserved groups and give voice to their experiences through impact narratives, collective advocacy and civic technology.

Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI) Nigeria (www.nulai.org) is a non-governmental, non-profit and non-political organization committed to promoting clinical legal education, legal education reform, legal aid and access to justice with a mission to build a network of cohesive university-based law clinics providing pro-bono legal services to the indigent and underserved; while training a new generation of skilled law students committed to public service and justice.

234 (0) 708 778 4788
info@eienigeria.org

234 (903) 800 7744
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234 (809) 799 9944
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234 (809) 086 6666
info@amnesty.org.ng

234 (810) 284 2542
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