Two years after the #EndSARS protests, over 40 protesters are still languishing in prisons, according to Amnesty International.
The human rights said this on the second anniversary of the shooting incident at Lekki tollgate in Lagos.
The tollgate served as a point of convergence for the protesters before they were forcefully dispersed by soldiers.
In its statement, Amnesty said panels set up to investigate police impunity failed to deliver justice to hundreds of victims of police brutality.
It said the vast majority of #EndSARS protesters arrested in October 2020 are still being arbitrarily detained without trial.
“The fact that nobody has been brought to justice over the torture and killings of #EndSARS protesters is a stain on Nigeria’s human rights records. Meanwhile, human rights violations by the police continue unabated. The authorities must ensure that suspected perpetrators of the deadly crackdown on #EndSARS protesters are brought to justice in fair trials and address impunity for police brutality,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“Two years ago, the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 people at Lekki toll Gate and in Alausa, Lagos State, while pro-government armed groups deliberately instigated violence at many #EndSARS demonstrations in other parts of the country to serve as a pretext for the police to use of lethal force on peaceful protesters. Rather than bringing those responsible for the attacks on protesters to justice, the authorities have engaged in series of bizarre denials and cover ups.”
Since the #EndSARS protests, many people who have attempted to exercise their right to peaceful protest have repeatedly faced threats, harassment, and intimidation.
Prolonged detention without trial
“Oyewole Olumide, Rasheed Tiamiyu, Moruf Adekunle, Taoreed Abiodun, Ikenna Amechi, Afeez Ariyo, Ikechukwu Eze, and Adesina Ademuyiwa were among those arrested in Ibadan for participating in #EndSARS protests in October 2020. Despite reportedly suffering from ill health, they continue to be held without trial in Agodi Correctional Centre, having previously been detained at a SARS facility in Ibadan and Abolongo Prison in Oyo Town.”
“Ayodeji Oluwasegun, Andoh Immanuel, Yakubu Olayiwola, Olaogun Ismail, Uba Chukwuma, Dosunmu Taiwo, Daniel Joy-Igbo, Yusuf Rafiu, Olawale Marcus, Muyiwa Onikoyi, Shehu Anas, Suleman Saidu, Rasheed Wasiu Bolaji, Adigun Sodiq, Sunday Okoro, Akiniran Oyetakin, Ogidi Isah, Ibrahim Adesanya, and Faruk Abdulquadri have also been detained without trial in Kirikiri Medium Security Prison in Lagos since 2020.
“The Nigerian authorities have attempted to justify the ongoing detention of #EndSARS protesters by resorting to trumped-up charges including theft, arson, possession of unlawful firearms, and murder.
“A further twenty-one #EndSARS protesters were held incommunicado for 15 months at Afaraukwu Correctional Service in Umuahia in Abia state for participating in the protests. On Friday 4 February 2022, they were released without charge following an intervention by Amnesty International.
“All detained protesters must be immediately and unconditionally released. The Nigerian authorities must urgently respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right to peaceful protest including by publicly directing security and law enforcement agencies to stop infringing on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Authorities should also ensure that victims of police brutality and their families are provided with access to justice and effective remedies, including adequate compensation, and guarantee of non-repetition.”