Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, a human and environmental rights group wishes to, in a commemorative manner, mark the one year anniversary of the nationwide protests led by the youth of Nigeria against police brutality perpetrated in large part by the once dreaded and now disbanded police specialized unit known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
The protest which began online via various social media platforms before the tragic October 20, 2020 Lekki Tollgate Shootings aimed at ending all forms of brutality meted out to the Nigerian youth ranging from wrong profiling for wearing dreadlock or tattoo to all manner of exploitation by men of the disbanded SARS unit. FENRAD, having done a survey of the factors leading to the massive protests regrets that not after one year of the protests had a single improvement been recorded in the police sector.
FENRAD condemns the fact that after over twenty-five panels were set up by state governments to look into issues of police brutality leading to the massive protests nothing has been done in terms of restorative justice, neither has any indicted officer been summarily tried and prosecuted by the federal government or the Force itself nor has implementation of panel reports begun in earnest. The question of police reform is still farfetched, to say the least.
The most irksome in all this, to FENRAD, being that the 5 for 5 demands of the protesters have neither been considered, halved nor achieved. It is still status quo ante! This represents the greatest injustice of the 21st century against the youth in Nigeria, especially against those who died as a result of police brutality and other forms of violence from state actors and custodian of arms. That after all the forensic analyses by Lagos State Government, including that on Lekki Tollgate where bullet casings and other gadgets were studied, nothing in the form of justice has been done after a year shows how unwilling the government is to inaugurate a regime of justice, or better still, how the same government lacks the resolve to travel the road of justice. This is sad.
Today, FENRAD will hold activities to mark the greatest protest in the history of the fourth republic carried out by the youth in Lagos and other parts of the country. The event features press conference, talks and appraisal of the security situation in the Southeast and as well a look at the Security Playbook from Action Group on Civic Spaces. Time is 10:00 am and venue is Number 15 Margaret Avenue opposite Enitona Hotels, Aba.
FENRAD calls on the general public to attend the event while urging governments – at all levels – to ensure that an incremental energy is devoted towards unravelling the issues and circumstances leading to the protests and that justice is done and reforms in the police sector inaugurated so that victims of police brutality shall not have died in vain.
Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Barr. Akande Femisi
Head Corporate Accountability and Human Rights Enforcement