Enough is Enough, EiE Nigeria and Citizens’ Gavel have condemned continuous imprisonment of Endsars protesters arrested for protesting police brutality during the October 2020 Endsars against the now rebranded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The Civil Society Organizations made the call in a press statement made available to our correspondent on Friday, adding that the right to protest is fundamental and not a privilege.
“It is a right guaranteed by the grundnorm of the land; the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which affirms that a citizen of Nigeria does not need the approval of any governmental agency or public official to express their grievance.
“Thus, to find protesters being brutalised, illegally shot at, and arrested for exercising their fundamental right is a complete breach of their human rights.
“These were some of the disturbing encounters of Nigerians who participated in the October 2020 #EndSARS protest, where citizens came out en masse to bemoan the societal ills of police brutality, indiscriminate arrests, and the excesses of rogue police officers and operatives of different police units, especially the now-renamed Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). ” They said.
The groups added that peaceful protesters are not criminals; neither is peacefully protesting a criminal offence.
“We have observed, monitored, and amplified the search for incarcerated protesters through our network and provided prompt legal support for victims as well as relatives of victims arrested during and after the October 2020 nationwide protests.”
The CSOs expressed concern over the continuous incarceration of #Endsars protesters in various correctional centres and called for citizens’ support to ensure legal interventions are provided for their release.
“Sadly, almost one year after the nationwide protests, we can authoritatively confirm that there are still #EndSARS protesters who are incarcerated and languishing in various correctional centres.
“We hereby call on members of the public, friends, or relatives of victims with reliable information about incarcerated protesters to reach out to EiE Nigeria or Gavel for prompt legal intervention via any of our social media platforms or contact details below.”
“We remain committed to the release of all incarcerated protesters and will continue to do all within our power to drive active citizenship, public accountability and justice delivery in Nigeria.” They said.