From Adedapo Adesanya
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has reached out to a federal court in Abuja to force President Muhammadu Buhari to secure the arrest of security forces involved in the shooting and cases of peaceful # EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll booth involved in police brutality.
SERAP said in a statement signed on Sunday by its deputy director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, that the lawsuit was filed in collaboration with 116 affected Nigerians, noting that young Nigerians met at the Lekki toll booth on October 20, 2020 and a good one Governance in the country and an end to police brutality before they were reportedly shot at by security agents.
A year later, a leaked report by the Lagos Judicial Committee on police brutality used by the Lagos State government to investigate the incident accused security guards of shooting “unarmed, helpless and defenseless demonstrators without provocation or justification”.
The group demands that the court “order and force President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps to secure the arrest of soldiers and police listed in the Lagos #EndSARS panel report for the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki and the Police accused of brutality are cases. “
In case number FHC / ABJ / CS / 1482/2021, filed last Friday, SERAP also called on the court to “order and force President Buhari to bring anyone suspected of being responsible for the shooting of peaceful protesters to justice and ensure access ”. Justice and effective remedies for victims, including adequate compensation. “
“It is in the interests of justice to grant this motion as it would improve respect for Nigerians’ rights, the rule of law and public trust in government institutions, and diminish the growing culture of impunity among perpetrators,” the statement read.
“The security of protesters in Nigeria remains precarious and impunity for crimes against them is increasing. Impunity encourages the perpetrator. Failure to bring those charged with shooting peaceful demonstrators to justice is a violation of the right to life and human dignity.
“The blatant lack of accountability for past violations of protesters’ rights has created a growing sense of powerlessness and resentment not only among victims and their families, but among the general public,” it said.
The group said the failure to promptly arrest and bring to justice those suspected of being responsible for the shooting of peaceful protesters, and to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for the victims and their families, constitutes a farce of justice Because justice is delayed, justice is denied.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, is involved as a defendant in the lawsuit.
While SERAP is moving to force Mr Buhari to ensure that those who are still detained for the peaceful exercise of their human rights are released immediately and unconditionally and that all charges against them are dropped, SERAP also wants the President to take full and effective respect for the human rights of all throughout the country, including the right to life, dignity, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
“The Buhari government has a constitutional responsibility to enable victims of human rights abuses to learn the truth about acts committed, to know who are the perpetrators of such acts, and to receive justice and fair compensation.
“The right to life is an inherent, fundamental and not to be despised human right regardless of the circumstances and even during times of armed conflict or a state of emergency. Summary, extrajudicial or arbitrary executions are clearly prohibited under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and international law.
“The UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions affirm that ‘extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions’ should not be carried out under any circumstances.
“According to the Principles, governments prohibit orders from superiors or authorities that authorize or encourage other persons to carry out such extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions. All persons have the right and the duty to object to such orders.
“International law requires that the use of lethal force, such as firearms, is an ‘extreme measure’ that should only be considered if absolutely necessary to protect life or prevent serious injury from an imminent threat .
“Articles 2 (1) and 2 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Nigeria is a State party, require States parties to undertake, undertake to respect and ensure effective legal remedies for Violations of rights in the Covenant provide.
“The remedies must be accessible and effective and take into account the particular vulnerability of certain groups of people.
“The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a set of principles relating to the obligations of states to victims of serious human rights violations, which clarify that states are obliged to investigate violations of international human rights thoroughly and impartially and, where appropriate, against alleged violations To proceed with those responsible.
“States also have the duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, the duty to prosecute those allegedly responsible for violations.
“President Buhari, as Chief Executive Officer of the Federation and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, has a constitutional duty to ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims, and that there is no impunity for allegations of human rights.” Explanation.
The lawsuit follows the submission of the Lagos # EndSARS panel report on the incident of Lekki shootings and police brutality to Babajide State Governor Sanwo-Olu. The leaked report allegedly charged some soldiers and police officers with “shooting demonstrators who caused serious injuries and deaths”.
The panel reportedly found that “the shooting of protesters at the Lekki toll booth on October 20, 2020 was unjustified, exaggerated, provocative and unjustifiable in the circumstances of the peaceful and orderly protests”.
A date for the hearing of the lawsuit has not been set.