A hundred days since the Lekki shooting in Nigeria which resulted in the death of at least 12 people, Nigerian authorities have failed to bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the brutal crackdown, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
Since the assault by security forces against peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate and Alausa in Lagos in October 2020, Nigerian authorities have targeted supporters of the protests against police brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“Instead of bringing suspected perpetrators to justice and prioritizing genuine police reforms, Nigerian authorities have been abusing their powers by subjecting those who supported the protests to intimidation, harassment and smear campaigns,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria .
Reports indicated that some of the movement’s supporters have had their bank accounts frozen.
Reports from across Nigeria indicate that police violence is still widespread despite government promises of change.
Amnesty International is concerned that the Nigerian authorities will continue their current ban on protests and reminds the government of its obligations under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 and international human rights treaties to – which the country is a state party – to allow those who gather peacefully to express their views without fear of arrest or intimidation.
International human rights law also requires the Nigerian authorities to carry out prompt, thorough, independent, impartial and effective investigations into violations of human rights of the protesters including the right to life, such as those committed at Lekki and Alausa, as well as in other parts of the country, and to identify and bring suspected perpetrators to justice in fair trials.
Those suspected to be responsible for the killings should be brought to justice in accordance with international fair trial standard.
Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian government to suspend accused officials, pending investigations, and to ensure that victims access justice and effective remedies.
The Nigerian government has set up a panel of inquiry in Lagos State to investigate complaints against SARS and the incidents at Lekki and Alausa on October 20, 2020.
However, government officials and the military continue to deny that anybody was killed during the protests while restating their resolve to punish leaders of the #EndSARS movement against police violence.
Investigations by Amnesty International indicate that since the #EndSARS protests were violently dispersed several of the movement’s leaders have been arrested, tortured and their bank accounts frozen. Many others have fled into exile. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)