Accuses FG of not  being sincere on reforms

Demands releasing of activists from jail

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As protesters storm parts of the country to mark one year remembrance of EndSARS protest on Wednesday, a Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Yiaga Africa, decried the Nigerian Police Force to prevent youths in the country from protesting and demanding accountability from those in government.

Speaking with Vanguard on the issues yet to be addressed, Programme Manager, Governance and Development, Yiaga Africa, Ibrahim Faruk.  

Faruk said: “We must remember that the protests turned bloody because state agents deployed the use of force and cut short the lives of young Nigerians who were affirming their rights to peaceful protests and assembly.

“It is wrong for the Police to prevent Nigerians youths from demanding accountability from the government after one year.”

 Also he accused the Buhari-led Federal Government of not being sincere on promised reforms as part of demands from Nigerian youths on several issues raised during the protest in 2020.

READ ALSO: EndSARS: Protesters lack uniformity — Lagos Police boss

“The government has not been sincere in its commitment to reforms made in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests. Recall that after the protests, Nigerian youth put together a 5-pronged list of demands, tagged #5For5.

“One of the five demands was a call for establishing independent Judicial Panels in all states of Nigeria to investigate police brutality cases and recommend appropriate compensation for victims.

“In response to the demands, the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the Vice-President had on 14th October 2020 directed the establishment of Judicial Panels of Inquiry (to include representatives of youths, students, civil society organisations and would be chaired by a retired judge) by State governors in Nigeria to investigate complaints of police brutality and extra-judicial killings.

“In compliance with the directive, 29 states and the FCT set up Judicial Panels of Inquiry. Citizens’ observers deployed by Yiaga Africa and Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria across all the panels report that over 2791 petitions have been submitted across the 29 states and the FCT where the Judicial Panels of Inquiry were established.

“However, despite the directive, seven states – Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara States – consistently refused to establish the Panels.

“While these seven states were part of the collective NEC decision, their actions reinforce the notion that the need to engage in meaningful security sector reform is not a national concern. In states where the Panels sat, none of the erring police officers have been prosecuted”, he stated.

He also pointed that, “It is not enough to pay compensation, justice must be served fully in order to serve as a deterrent from future cases of police brutality. The other demands include disbanding the SARS unit, but also releasing activists from jail-many of which are still in jail after one year; prosecuting poor police conduct- remains undone; evaluating and retraining officers-remains undone; and increasing the salary for agents-remains undone.”

However, Yiaga demanded and called on government to direct judicial panels to resume hearings, and also to carry out full implementation of ‘5to5’ demands before it.

“As we mark one year of the #EndSARS protest this October, we call on the State Governments where panels have been suspended to resume sitting and conclude the hearings.

“We also call on both the Federal and State Government to ensure the full implementation of the 5 for 5 demands which includes key proposals demanding immediate police reform critical to ensuring that police brutality is eliminated”, he added.

Demands releasing of activists from jail

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As protesters storm parts of the country to mark one year remembrance of EndSARS protest on Wednesday, a Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Yiaga Africa, decried the Nigerian Police Force to prevent youths in the country from protesting and demanding accountability from those in government.

Speaking with Vanguard on the issues yet to be addressed, Programme Manager, Governance and Development, Yiaga Africa, Ibrahim Faruk.  

Faruk said: “We must remember that the protests turned bloody because state agents deployed the use of force and cut short the lives of young Nigerians who were affirming their rights to peaceful protests and assembly.

“It is wrong for the Police to prevent Nigerians youths from demanding accountability from the government after one year.”

 Also he accused the Buhari-led Federal Government of not being sincere on promised reforms as part of demands from Nigerian youths on several issues raised during the protest in 2020.

“The government has not been sincere in its commitment to reforms made in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests. Recall that after the protests, Nigerian youth put together a 5-pronged list of demands, tagged #5For5.

“One of the five demands was a call for establishing independent Judicial Panels in all states of Nigeria to investigate police brutality cases and recommend appropriate compensation for victims.

“In response to the demands, the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the Vice-President had on 14th October 2020 directed the establishment of Judicial Panels of Inquiry (to include representatives of youths, students, civil society organisations and would be chaired by a retired judge) by State governors in Nigeria to investigate complaints of police brutality and extra-judicial killings.

“In compliance with the directive, 29 states and the FCT set up Judicial Panels of Inquiry. Citizens’ observers deployed by Yiaga Africa and Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria across all the panels report that over 2791 petitions have been submitted across the 29 states and the FCT where the Judicial Panels of Inquiry were established.

“However, despite the directive, seven states – Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara States – consistently refused to establish the Panels.

“While these seven states were part of the collective NEC decision, their actions reinforce the notion that the need to engage in meaningful security sector reform is not a national concern. In states where the Panels sat, none of the erring police officers have been prosecuted”, he stated.

He also pointed that, “It is not enough to pay compensation, justice must be served fully in order to serve as a deterrent from future cases of police brutality. The other demands include disbanding the SARS unit, but also releasing activists from jail-many of which are still in jail after one year; prosecuting poor police conduct- remains undone; evaluating and retraining officers-remains undone; and increasing the salary for agents-remains undone.”

However, Yiaga demanded and called on government to direct judicial panels to resume hearings, and also to carry out full implementation of ‘5to5’ demands before it.

“As we mark one year of the #EndSARS protest this October, we call on the State Governments where panels have been suspended to resume sitting and conclude the hearings.

“We also call on both the Federal and State Government to ensure the full implementation of the 5 for 5 demands which includes key proposals demanding immediate police reform critical to ensuring that police brutality is eliminated”, he added.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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