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October 11, 2023
For Immediate Release:
Denied Justice: EiE Nigeria Partners with National Human Rights Commission, Yiaga Africa and SBM Intelligence to Launch Report on #EndSARS Judicial Panels
“In the pursuit of a just and fair society, it is imperative that we hold our law enforcement agencies to the highest standards of conduct. Instances of police brutality are a stain on our collective conscience, and we must work tirelessly to eradicate this blight.”
– Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu
(Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
This is the third year memorial of the historic #EndSARS peaceful protests, and we stand in solemn remembrance of the bravery and determination exhibited by Nigerian youths who rallied together in October 2020 to demand justice and an end to police brutality.
Reflecting on this milestone, EiE Nigeria’s Executive Director, ‘Yemi Adamolekun, underscores the significance of this anniversary, stating, “The #EndSARS movement exemplified the power of collective action and highlighted the urgent need for reform within our law enforcement agencies. It is imperative that we continue to advocate for accountability and justice for victims of police brutality.”
The establishment of judicial panels of inquiry in 29 out of the 36 states was a crucial step towards investigating cases of police brutality, providing a platform for victims to seek justice, and rebuilding public trust in security agencies. However, the position and outcomes of these panels remain unclear, and in some states, their progress is yet to be heard three years later.
On Tuesday, October 31st, we will launch a comprehensive research report to illuminate instances of denied justice and policy gaps, serving as a vital tool in reinforcing accountability and transparency within the process.
The case of 20-year old Pelumi Onifade, an intern with a private online broadcaster, Gboah TV, serves as a poignant reminder of the gravity of the issue at hand. Pelumi’s life was tragically cut short by a stray bullet fired by the police during the protests in 2020 at Abattoir, Oko Oba area of Agege, Lagos. Eyewitnesses recount that Pelumi’s lifeless body was taken away by policemen, leaving his family bereaved and without closure. Until this day, justice eludes them, and his remains are yet to find their final resting place.
CSP James Nwafor, the notorious former Anambra SARS official, continues to roam free, despite the litany of atrocities attributed to his name during his time in service. This glaring impunity underscores the urgency for systemic reform and accountability within our security agencies.
There are still so many unresolved issues stemming from the 2020 protests – lives lost at the Lekki toll gate and in other parts of the country, properties destroyed, and families still grappling for closure.
As we commemorate the third year since the peaceful #EndSARS protests, let us remember the resilience of our youth, evaluate the impact of the judicial panels, and reiterate the call for sustained efforts to address police brutality and ensure accountability.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Enough is Enough Nigeria (www.eie.ng) is a network of individuals and organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through active citizenship. EiE’s #RSVP – Register | Select | Vote | Protect is Nigeria’s longest-runing get-out-the-vote campaign. EiE was an integral part of the #OccupyNigeria movement in 2012; co-leads the #OpenNASS campaign and launched the #OfficeOfTheCitizen campaign to mark its 5th anniversary in 2015. It publishes a collection of essays to mark its decade plus of impact in 2022 – Footprints: Past | Present | Future.
National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria (nigeriarights.gov.ng) serves as an extra-judicial mechanism which safeguards the human rights of the Nigerian population. It monitors human rights in Nigeria, assists victims of human rights violations, and helps in the formulation of the Nigeria’s policies on human rights. NHRC has championed police reforms. It is also committed to accountability for police brutality and for sexual and gender violence. NHRC is known to have paid over N430 million as compensation to victims of police brutality during 2020 SARS Protests.
SBM Intelligence (www.sbmintel.com) is an Africa-focused consulting firm that provides geopolitical, security, economic, market intelligence and communications analysis. SBM Intelligence’s reports and analyses have been cited numerous times by international news media such as Al Jazeera, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and many others.
Yiaga Africa (yiaga.org) is a non-profit civic hub of change makers committed to the promotion of democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement.