THREE survivors of shootings that occurred at Lekki Toll Gate, on October 20, 2020, have dragged the Nigerian government before the ECOWAS court, seeking the enforcement of their fundamental rights.
The applicants’ lawyers, Bolaji Gabari, Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Gaye Sowe and Nelson Olanipekun, in a statement made available to The ICIR on Thursday, said that the survivors who asked to remain anonymous because of victimisation were suffering untold psychological trauma and threat to life from the day of the shootings.
“The Applicants seek amongst others, the declaration that the Nigerian State has violated her obligations under the Nigerian Constitution, International laws and most especially the African Charter; failed and fails to protect the lives of the Applicants and citizens; protect its citizens from extrajudicial killings, police brutality and to promote and provide security for its citizens.
“That the State persistently tolerates and promotes a climate of impunity in the Country as a result of its systemic failure to condemn, effectively identify and secure accountability for a series of grave attacks against the Applicants and people of Nigeria and failure to convict perpetrators of human rights violations in the years preceding the 20th and 21st of October 2020 Lekki Tollgate Shooting and till date.”
The lawyers also said that the online and offline attacks on human rights defenders, the arrests and illegal detention of protesters, the deregistration of organisations and blanket tag of terrorism on bank accounts belonging to protesters were some tactics the government and its agencies employed, presumably to silence the dissenting voices.
“All of these constitute a gross violation of fundamental human rights guaranteed by Sections 38 and 40 of the Nigerian Constitution and Articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
“Given this disregard for the rights of Nigerian people, we are commencing litigation against the Federal Government of Nigeria at the ECOWAS Court of Justice to seek redress for the victims and accountability against the Government who through her agents were involved in the rights abuses that led to the #EndSARS protests and its aftermaths.”
They added that they would pursue the demands of the survivors through the ECOWAS court to ensure that the government of Nigeria was held to account for the killing of Nigerian citizens and the abuse of their rights as enshrined in the Nigeria Constitution, the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights and other International Human Rights instruments that Nigeria was a signatory to.