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#EndSARS: CSOs condemn violence, demand transparent prosecution of erring police officers

A Coalition of Civil Societies Organisations (CSOs), has condemned the acts of thuggery, vandalism, hate speeches, fake news and the attacks on security personnel and security facilities by some hoodlums that followed the #ENDSARS protest across the country. 

“As we continue to condemn the use of ‘live bullets’ on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, on October 20, 2020, we also join our voices to condemn acts of thuggery, hate speeches, and fake news,” said the coalition, in a joint statement obtained by The ICIR .

“We particularly condemn the hoodlums that attacked security facilities and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force as two wrongs never make a right.”

The group said  that the Federal Government must expedite speedy and transparent prosecution of officers of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) indicted for extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses in the country in order to build public trust.

“We still maintain that the 5-for-5 demand by the #EndSARS movement should be urgently met in the interest of the Nigerian state.”

“One of the demands is the transparent prosecution of the officers responsible for the brutality against citizens. In order to build trust in government, we immediately request the prosecution of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers who have been identified in the killings, torture, and rapes of citizens.”

It also commended the request of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, to ensure speedy prosecution of 35 operatives of the defunct SARS.

“These officers were accused of human rights violations and abuse of office in a report by the presidential investigation panel.”

The organisations, which called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute the governing council of the NHRC, said they have already started tracking court cases and proceedings against officers of the disbanded unit of the Nigerian Police Force.

“As a Civil Society Collective, we have begun tracking initiated court cases, particularly in Lagos and Ogun, this in addition to the panels of inquiry/restitution set up by the states; so far we are reviewing the 27 of the 36 states that already announced these measures.

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We have also begun to document shreds of evidence with a view to track and underscore the various human rights abuses, following the End SARS protests; this includes the launch of the Missing Persons Portal and tracking of cases specific to violence against women. In addition, we are ready to provide live streaming and tech support to the Panel setup, in order to enhance the credibility of the investigative process.”

The coalition expressed displeasure over attacks on public and private properties by hoodlums especially in search of warehouses, and the looting of COVID-19 palliatives, which were supplied by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID).

“We have watched with disdain the impunity, and outrightly denounce the assault on public and private properties by hoodlums. The attack in many states of the federation on warehouses, and the looting of COVID-19 palliatives, which were supplied by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID), has thrown up another worrying dimension and exposes the rot and corruption in our governance system.

“We unequivocally condemn these attacks and call on the Governors’ Forum to tell Nigerians why they (Governors) intentionally hoarded food items supplied in good faith by the Coalition. We have read various official statements from some of the state governments and an unofficial statement attributed to the CA-COVID. Some of the statements raise some credibility questions.”

The CSOs includes Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Enough is Enough (EIE), Partners for Electoral Reform, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Centre for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD), Yiaga Africa, Global Rights, Project Alert, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Paradigm Initiative (PIN), Rule of Law and Accountability Centre (RULAAC) and HEDA Resource Centre.

Others are African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Community Life Project (CLP), Protest to Power, Social Action, Right to Know, Lawyers Alert, International Press Centre (IPC), Private and Public Development Centre, South Saharan Social Development Organisation, Partners West Africa- Nigeria, Centre LSD, Connected Development (CODE), Stakeholders Development Network (SDN), BUDGiT, CWCW Africa, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), Invictus Africa, Alliance for Credible Election (ACE), Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Resource Centre for Human Rights (CHRICED) and Reboot Design.

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