#EndSARS: Group Calls For Accountability On Victims Of 2020 Protest

A not-profitable organisation, Global Rights has demanded the probe and accountability into the alleged killing of over 246 Nigerians, murdered in 2020 during the #EndSARS protests.

The group said it was disheartening that few states made efforts to implement the recommendations of the Panel of Inquiries set up to investigate the alleged rights abuses of Nigerians.

The group alleged that the authorities were paying lip service to the demands of the nation’s youths, after the 2020 tragic incident.

Global Rights Executive Director, Abiodun Baiyewu, said this on Friday in a statement.

According to the group, “approximately 352 individuals were arrested in connection with the peaceful demonstrations.

“Furthermore, the bank accounts of several individuals and organizations who had made financial donations to the #ENDSARS the movement was extra-judicially frozen by the government.

“The currency of transaction in a democracy is TRUST. Trust that the people elected by citizens would fulfil their governance role of ensuring the welfare and security of all citizens as stipulated by the Constitution. The Nigerian people and its government have been running on its bare minimum for years, and the tragic events of 20.10.20 ran it into a deeper deficit.

“To ensure that Nigeria regains its stability and fulfils its aspiration of becoming a state where peace and justice reigns, there must be accountability for the lives that were extra-judicially lost during the #EndSARS protest, and a reconciling of the Nigerian government to its responsibility of ensuring the health and independence of its civic space.

“The facts that led up to the killing of unarmed protesters kneeling and holding the Nigerian flag on October 20, 2020, must be kept fresh in the minds of all, and citizens’ demand for accountability must not be lost in the conundrum of “we move!”. While it is important to move on, we must NEVER forget – even after justice is served.

“In October 2020, Nigerians, deeply dissatisfied with the conduct of their country’s government and its institutions, took to the streets to voice their frustration, particularly to protest the brutality of police unit-the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The movement, spearheaded by young Nigerians, began on social media with the hashtag #ENDSARS and spontaneously spilled to the streets across major cities in Nigeria and even internationally.

“The demands of the protesters were clear and compelling as they mainly asked for: Immediate release of all arrested protesters; Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families; Establishment of an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reported police misconduct within 10 days;

“Implementation of psychological evaluations and retraining for all disbanded SARS operatives, subject to verification by an independent body; and Improved police salaries and adequate compensation for their role in safeguarding the lives and property of Nigerian citizens. The protests which began and remained peaceful for the most part took a dark turn when sponsored counter-protestors and thugs attacked peaceful demonstrators, causing mayhem and achieving their aim of disrupting the protests.”

“The most tragic incident occurred on the night of October 20, 2020, when armed Nigerian military personnel shot at unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State. This horrifying incident resulted in the loss of at least 123 lives and left more than 32 people injured.

“By the end of the protests, a devastating toll of at least 246 lives were taken, and approximately 352 individuals were arrested in connection with the peaceful demonstrations. Furthermore, the bank accounts of several individuals and organizations who had made financial donations to the #ENDSARS
the movement was extra-judicially frozen by the government.

“Fast forward three years and accountability remains elusive. Frustration at the slow wheel of
justice appears to have given in to a cloud of despondency. Law enforcement brutality and extra-judicially killings have not stopped and there has been no accountability for the events of October 20, 2020.

“In July 2023, a letter emanating from the Lagos State Procurement agency revealed that the Lagos State Government had contracted a private firm to quietly bury 103 bodies tagged as “EndSARS victims”. A fact that the state government had initially admitted and thereafter vehemently denied.

“The Judicial panels of Inquiries set up across 30 states of the Federation to investigate alleged human rights abuses committed by the defunct SARS and other units of the Police received around 2,888 petitions. Most of the Panels completed their assignments and made recommendations to the government. However, most of the reports presented to state governments were not released to the public.

“In instances in which they were made public, we have noted the regrettable lack of political will to implement them. Only a handful of states, such as Lagos, Ekiti, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have taken steps to compensate a few of the victims as recommended by the panels,” it added.


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