The Federal and State governments have been urged to use the planned #EndSARS anniversary to address youths on its plan to ensure justice.
This was contained in a statement signed by ‘Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, EiE Nigeria; Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development; Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa; Osai Ojigho, Country Director, Amnesty International.
Others are Kemi Okenyodo, Executive Director, Partners West Africa- Nigeria;
Nelson Olanipekun, Team Lead, Gavel; Joshua Olufemi, Executive Director, The Interactive and
Mahmud Yusuf, Programs Manager, NULAI Nigeria.
They noted that the call by Nigerian citizens at home and in the diaspora to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad was a legitimate demand.
“This demand was informed by the apparent silence of the Nigeria Police Force 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.
“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: Kogi was inaugurated but has not had any sittings; three states have concluded sittings and submitted reports; 18 states have completed sittings but did not submit their reports; 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.”