SERAP seeks court injunction to stop ‘police from harassing #EndSARS protesters’

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available to all.  

Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police Muhammed Adamu “over ongoing intimidation, harassment and attacks on peaceful protesters campaigning against police brutality and corruption across the country.”

The suit followed widespread protests demanding reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Joined as Respondents in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN and Commissioner of Police Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu.

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1451/2020 filed this morning at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order to protect and secure the fundamental rights of peaceful protesters across the country participating in the #EndSARS/#SARSMustEnd protests or any other peaceful protests, to wit: their rights to life, dignity, personal liberty, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

SERAP is also seeking “an order of injunction restricting the Federal Government and the police whether by themselves, their officers or agents, from stopping the protests and from harassing, arresting, detaining, or violating in any other ways the fundamental rights of Nigerians participating in peaceful protests across the country.”

SERAP said: “The right to protest constitutes the very foundation of a system of participatory governance based on democracy, human rights, the rule of law and pluralism. Failure to respect and ensure the right to peaceful protest is typically a marker of repression.”

SERAP also said: “In a democracy, people must be given the freedom to come together to express their opinions on issues they care deeply about. The role of government is to facilitate that democratic participation, and not to restrict or criminalize it.”

The organisation is asking the court for “an order directing the Federal Government and Nigeria police to identify all perpetrators of brutality and human rights violations against peaceful protesters across the country, and bring them to justice without further delay.”

SERAP is also asking the court for “an order compelling and directing the Federal Government and Nigeria police to disclose the total number of protesters in the #EndSARS/#SARSMustEnd protests arrested across the country, their places of detention and details of allegations against them.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “The fundamental human right to protest enables individuals to express themselves collectively and to participate in shaping their societies. The right of peaceful assembly is important in its own right, as it protects the ability of people to exercise individual autonomy in solidarity with others.”

“A protest is a form of expression of views on current issues affecting government and the governed in a sovereign state. It is a trend recognised and deeply entrenched in the system of governance in civilized countries. It will not only be primitive but also retrogressive if Nigeria continues to stifle or cripple this right.”

“Peaceful assemblies can play a critical role in allowing participants to advance ideas and aspirational goals in the public domain and to establish the extent of support for or opposition to those ideas and goals.”

SERAP is seeking “an order for the immediate and unconditional release of all those still being detained across the country solely for peacefully exercising their rights. The court should direct the Federal Government and Nigeria Police to immediately identify all victims of police brutality during the protests and adequately compensate each of the victims [and their families] by paying each the sum of N200,000,000:00.”

“SERAP is also seeking a declaration that the action of the Federal Government and Nigeria Police to intimidate, harass, threaten, arrest, beat, shoot, kill and detain unarmed peaceful protesters in the #EndSARS/#SARSMustEnd protests since 7th October, 2020 to date is wrongful, unlawful and constitutes gross violation of the protesters’ human rights.”

“SERAP is seeking a declaration that the response by the Federal Government and Nigeria Police to protests across the country since 7th October, 2020 to date is wrongful, unlawful and constitutes gross violation of the protesters’ rights to life, dignity, personal liberty, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly guaranteed under Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40 and 41 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 [as amended.”

“Paragraph 3[e] [i]-[v] of the Preamble to the Fundamental Rights [Enforcement Procedure] Rules 2009, provides that the court shall encourage and welcome public interest litigations in the human rights field and no human rights case may be dismissed or struck out for want of locus standi.”

“The Rules also provide that the applicant in a case like this may include any of the following: anyone acting in his own interest; anyone acting on behalf of another person; anyone acting as a member of, or in the interest of a group or class of persons; anyone acting in the public interest, and association acting in the interest of its members or other individuals or groups.”

“The fundamental right of citizens to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and freedom of association are guaranteed by Sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right. These provisions are clear, direct and unambiguous.”

“These rights are formulated and designed to confer on every person the right to assemble freely, protest, and associate with other persons.”

“The right to protest on matters of public concern are rights which are in the public interest and that which individuals must possess and which they should exercise without impediment as long as no wrongful act is done.”

“In a democracy, it is the right of citizens to conduct peaceful processions, rallies or demonstrations. It is a right guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.”

“The obligation to respect and ensure peaceful assemblies imposes negative and positive duties on States before, during and after assemblies.”

“The negative duty entails that there be no unwarranted interference with peaceful assemblies. States must also protect participants against possible abuse by non-State actors, such as interference or violence by other members of the public, counterdemonstrators and private security providers.”

According to Amnesty International, “at least 10 people have died in the ongoing protests over police brutality. The excessive use of force by the police in response to the protests reveals the longstanding disregard for the right to life by Nigerian security forces.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

[/read_more]

Today News Africa
Today News Africahttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

Anxiety in Africa as Johnson & Johnson conceals critical details about COVID-19 vaccine illness

Anxiety continued to mount across Sub-Saharan Africa on Monday over COVID-19 vaccine trials by Johnsons & Johnson, as the company continued...

Joe Biden wins last presidential debate against Donald Trump

Joe Biden was surprisingly aggressive, it was perhaps the best debate he has had in 2020.Republicans...

Many shot, many killed, blood everywhere, as Africa’s most populous country slips into chaos

Nigeria, Africa's most populous country with more than 200 million people, is slipping into chaos. In the commercial city of Lagos,...

South Africa launches $6 billion COVID-19 employment stimulus

South Africa has launched a $6 billion (R100 billion) COVID-19 employment stimulus to be implemented over the next three years.

Nigerians in USA to hold ‘mother of all protests’ against police brutality and bad governance in their home country

Nigerians in the United States would hold the 'mother of all protests' on Saturday against police brutality and bad governance in...

Trump says Sudan to be removed from terrorism list if it pays $335 million in compensation

President Donald Trump on Monday said Sudan will be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism once it...

Finally, Nigerian President confirms killing of peaceful protesters

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday confirmed the killing of peaceful protesters in the country last week by security forces.

African Union calls for immediate and unconditional end of sanctions against Zimbabwe

The African Union on Sunday called for an immediate and unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.In...

57.4 million Americans have already voted representing 41.7% of total votes counted in 2016

At least 57.4 million Americans have already voted, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project website, putting the 2020 elections on track to...

Pope names 13 new cardinals including Rwandan and first African American

Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including a Rwandan and the first African American prelate to earn the coveted...

As election season nears end, new Amnesty International USA ad raises alarm about the future of the United States

In a new full-page ad in The Washington Post, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) is sending an open letter to all U.S....

African Union welcomes signing of permanent cease-fire between rival forces in Libya

The African Union on Sunday welcomed the signing of a permanent cease-fire between rival forces in Libya.

Videos and satellite imagery confirm security forces fired live bullet at protesters in Guinea

Witness testimonies, satellite imagery and videos analyzed and authenticated by Amnesty International confirm that defense and security forces in Guinea have...

Leader of Nigerian Shi’ites Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is not dead, spokesperson dispels rumors by ‘mischief makers’

The leader of Nigerian Shi'ites Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is not dead, his spokesperson Ibrahim Musa said in a statement on Sunday, blaming 'mischief makers' for the rumors about his passing.The spokesman wrote: "The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has found it necessary to dispel the rumors currently making waves of the passing away of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky....

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Tweet
Share
WhatsApp
Reddit
Share