The Elixir Trust Foundation, ETF, has observed that three years after the gallant youths of Nigeria came out enmass under the #Endsars protest to speak out against police brutality, extra-judicial killings, extortion, inhuman treatment in the country, respect for human right and rule of law is very scarce resource in Nigeria.
Making its position known in a statement signed by Emmanuel Ikule, the organisation juxtaposed the gains of the #endsars protest against the losses, to know where the country is now in terms of respect for human rights and rule of law.
According to the group, three years after the #endsars protest, respect for human rights is still a scarce resource in Nigeria. It noted that the situation continued to grow through out the Buhari Administration (Regime) and became worse in 2020 such that Nigerians now see Nigeria as a militarised and totalitarian country, not a democracy as it has traits of tyranny.
It insisted that despite the call for accountability of the government during the #EndSARs, human right is still a tall dream, as can be seen during the second protest in 2021 (#EndSARS Memorial), where many persons were brutalised, packed in trucks like sardines, despite COVID-19, tortured and detained and some protesters are still in detention centres in Nigeria till date.
See text of the release:
It’s been 3 years since the gallant youths of Nigeria came out enmass to speak out against police brutality, extra-judicial killings, extortion, inhuman treatment of citizens by security agents in the country and it would be wise to check the gains and losses of this fight for police reforms, criminal justice reforms, security reforms, respect for human right and rule of law.
Three years after, where is Nigeria now in terms of respect for human rights?
Respect for Human Right is scarce resource in Nigeria since the Buhari Administration (Regime) started and it grew worse at @2020. Nigerians see Nigeria as militarised, totalitarian country not a democracy as it has traits of tyranny.
Despite the call for accountability of the government, the gains of #EndSARs, human right is still scarce as can be seen during the second protest in 2021 (#EndSARS Memorial) where many persons were brutalised, packed in trucks like sardines, despite COVID-19, tortured and detained and some protesters are still in detention centres in Nigeria till date.
Post #EndSARs (Within Three Years)
Some #EndSARs protesters still in police custody
Attack on Police Institutions/Stations & Officers
Attacks on Peaceful Protesters in Lagos again
Cramping down on Protesters in Abuja in October, 2021
Arrest of Nnamdi Kanu & Igboho
Oyigbo Massacre, in Port Harcourt by Nigerian Army
Destruction of communities in Konshisha, Benue State by Nigeria Army
Increase in displacement and vulnerability of Benue citizens in IDP camps without government support
Attacks and displacement on Tiv Tribe in Taraba State in the presence of Army and their refusal to intervene or allow the Tivs to defend themselves. 2021
Attacks on South-East (Army, IPOB & Unknow Gunmen) citizens. Youths are being killed daily in the name of them being IPOB members. (Nigeria does not have a law authorising military to murder citizens, we have courts let them use it) till date
Freeing of Murderers and terrorist “Boko Haram” members by the Nigerian government instead of having them prosecuted.
Mass Abduction in the North (East & West)
Attack on Kaduna Airport & Railway Station as well as attacks in Southern Kaduna 2022
Poor recruitment of constables 2021/22
Killing of Deborah. No one has been held to account till date
Murder of Citizens (Jafaru and Lawyer) by Police in Lagos 2022
Electoral malpractice by the Police in 2023
Religious prayers on federal, state roads especially in Abuja, Nassarawa and Lagos to mention but a few.
Would you regard the protest as a successful one, three (3) years after?
The protest was a successful to an extent because it brought to fore, issues that have been plaguing the country, the culture of human right abuse gained National recognition and enabled the government to be more responsive despite its unlawful Nature.
The following as a result of #EndSARs
More persons can now stand for their right as a departure of what was before #EndSARs.
The Passage of Police Act 2020
Formation of the Board of Nigerian Police Trust Fund (NPTF 2019)
Public Hearing on Police Service Commission Act 2020
Establishment Act of Police Training Institute
Compilation of all police reform reports in Nigeria.
Formation of the Board of Trustees of the NHRC
Formation of Judicial Panel of Inquiry in about 30 States in Nigeria including Abuja
Release of Protesters without bail money as has been the case before
Decongestion of correctional centres (Some petty offenders were released in some states)
Increase of the Passage of VAPP Act, Anti-Torture Act & ACJA in some States to curb impunity etc
Passage of Compulsory Treatment and care of gunshot victim in some States Electoral Act 2022
Training of Nigeria Police Force (NPF) by State and Non-State Actors
Appointment of IGP (S)
Resignation of old Chair and Appointment of new Chair of Police Service Commission (PSC)
Increase in the Discipline of erring Officers
Activation of Police Complaint Response Unit (P-CRU) and the expansion plan by the Current IGP
Have our uniform men stopped being brutal towards innocent citizens?
Community-Police relationship has not been cordial before #EndSARs and it worsened immediately after #EndSARs. After #EndSARs Police institutions were attacked as a response to attacks, citizens have been getting from security personnel, ranging from brutality, unlawful arrest & detention, raids & extortion, confiscations of equipment/cars/houses, torture and extrajudicial killings. During these attacks, the security personnel were also carrying similar attacks also which led to loss of lives and property of both security agents & citizens. The situation now, the relation now is worse as can been seen in the South East, Benue State, Lagos (Attacks in Market on spare part seller), Murder of the lawyer on Christmas day, videos of torture of citizens in all parts of the country.
So, the men in Uniform have not stopped being brutal coupled with the militarised regime and the lack of accountability in security agencies have not helped as these erring officers are usually not punished especially during the Buhari Administration. The Judicial Panel was set up in about 30 States in Nigeria after #EndSARS but up till date no compensation for victims of these police abuses, these shows that the government is not really interested in police accountability only lip Service and the new administration has not improved anything either
What’s the way forward after #ENDSARS?
There is need to entrench justice, fairness and equity in our systems in Nigeria absence of these, it would be same old stories without solution.
The is need for proper recruitment especially of Police Officers by the Police Service Commission to ensure inclusion, credibility and transparency with an NGO been part of the process to flag up any abnormally as well as offer technical assistance when needed.
There is need for re-orientation of all security agents on their roles, duties, Nigerian laws and need for clear emphasis on respect for rule of law for and on everyone especially the Poor (There is need to decriminalise poverty in Nigeria). Mostly the poor suffer at all aspects in Nigeria as it relates to access to resources and they are the ones in detention, police custody etc.
The is need for all erring officers to be punished as well as erring citizens who actually also violated the law in destruction of public property, police institutions.
There is need to release all peaceful protesters still in security custody and compensation of families of affected citizens & security Officers.
There is need for presentation of the recommendation of the panels of Inquiry in States, for acceptance by the people and implementation of the recommendation by the States.
There is need to bring to book all terrorist organizations like Boko Haram, Miyeti Allah, Fulani Herdsmen, check the activities of Hisbah, as well as the conduct of sitting and former executives who are sponsoring the activities of hoodlum and terrorist organizations in maiming the lives of citizens.
There is need to also check the activities of overzealous religious, traditional and opinion leaders who have been consistent in misleading the people, causing crises and building hatred for certain sections of the country. There should be more emphasis on patriotism, developing the Country than promoting political party, religion or tribalism, sectionalism, ethnicism, etc. The Federal and State government should address this new trend of blocking of roads in the name of prayer, pray in your church, Mosque etc.
Audit of Security Training Schools and gaps should be addressed especially their curriculums which are outdated.
There is need for Technology. There are series of solutions that tech can provide especially as to tracking, data on crime, forensics as this would reduce the culture of torture inherent in our security system for confessional statement.
Welfare of law enforcement officers both those in service and retired should be looked into to address the need the unnecessary wrong ways to support self and live better lives. Entitlements of late personnel should be given to their families; Widows of Officers should be supported at least with shelter.
Selection of IGP should be based on competence and with the years for work and impact.
A call for replacement of people appointed to head Youth Ministries or MDA with Youths. Positions like Minister for Youth, Commissioner for Youth Affairs etc should be occupied by Youths. #Youthlead
There is need to audit the Police Trust Fund and appoint persons who can be able to implement the act as expected. That is the training and retraining of Officers, refurbishment of police institutions, purchase of armoury, state of art equipment for the Nigeria Police force. There should also be audit on budgetary allocations and funds given to security agencies.
If the above is done, it would enhance accountability, improve community-policing, youth inclusion in governance, improved welfare, it would end the culture of impunity, torture, extortion, incommunicado detentions, extra-judicial killings of citizens.
Emmanuel Ikule/ Elixir Trust Foundation/www.elixirtrustfoundation.org