Nigeria: #EndSARS - CSOs Demand Transparent Prosecution of Erring Officers, Condemn Looting

27 October 2020

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, the CSOs condemned the use of military against protesters. They also condemned acts of thuggery, hate speeches, and fake news.

A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has demanded transparent prosecution of transparent prosecution of the security officers responsible for the brutality against citizens.

The group consisting of 33 organisations said in order to build trust in government, the authority must immediately prosecute the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers who have been identified in the killings, torture, and rapes of citizens.

Members of the coalition include 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

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, the group condemned the use of military against protesters. They also condemned acts of thuggery, hate speeches, and fake news.

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

The coalition also 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 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."

Speaking on the panel set up to look into the activities of the disbanded SARS, the CSOs expressed worry, saying "the NHRC which announced its constitution of an independent investigation panel into the activities of the dissolved SARS does not have a constituted Governing Council."

"We immediately call on President Mohammadu Buhari to grant the Commission the needed capacity to conduct this investigation by inaugurating the Commission's Governing Council without further delay. In Section 7 (3) of the National Human Rights Commission Act, the Executive Secretary lacks the power to act without a Governing Council, thus invalidating any action taken by the Anthony Ojukwu led Commission."

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