“Nigeria has played a constructive role in peacekeeping in various parts of West Africa. But unless and until Nigeria itself is democratic and respects human rights, it too may well be a source of much greater instability as political repression limits the ability of the people of Nigeria to achieve their full potential.”
— Susan Rice
(Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, United States of America)
The right to protest is fundamental and not a privilege. It is a right guaranteed by the grundnorm of the land; the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which affirms that a citizen of Nigeria does not need the approval of any governmental agency or public official to express their grievance.
Thus, to find protesters being brutalized, illegally shot at, and arrested for exercising their fundamental rights is a complete breach of their human rights.
These were some of the disturbing encounters of Nigerians who participated in the October 2020 #EndSARS protest, where citizens came out en masse to bemoan the societal ills of police brutality, indiscriminate arrests, and the excesses of rogue police officers and operatives of different police units, especially the now-renamed Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Peaceful protesters are not criminals; neither is peacefully protesting a criminal offense.
Through our networks, we have observed, monitored, and amplified the search for incarcerated protesters and provided prompt legal support for victims as well as relatives of victims arrested during and after the October 2020 nationwide protests.
Sadly, almost one year after the nationwide protests, we can authoritatively confirm that there are still #EndSARS protesters who are incarcerated and languishing in various correctional centers.
We hereby call on members of the public, friends, or relatives of victims with reliable information about incarcerated protesters to reach out to Citizens’ Gavel or EiE Nigeria for prompt legal intervention via any of our social media platforms or contact details below.
EiE Nigeria: 0708 778 4788 | firstname.lastname@example.org | @eienigeria on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter
We remain committed to the release of all incarcerated protesters and will continue to do all within our power to drive active citizenship, public accountability, and justice delivery in Nigeria.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Gavel (www.gavel.ng) is a not-for-profit/non-governmental organization with the aim of increasing the pace of justice delivery through access to justice, digital technology, and citizens’ engagement.
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.