Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the United Nations to end violent attacks on peaceful protesters and to take urgent measures to respect and protect the rights of all Nigerians to protest anywhere in the country.
In a petition signed by the group’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare and addressed to UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Clement Voule, SERAP alleged that “Nigerian authorities and police yesterday morning in Abuja failed to stop attacks on peaceful demonstrators by young men apparently armed with sticks and sharp objects. The police officers who were present did not intervene decisively to stop the attacks or arrest any attackers.”
The group urged UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Clement Voule to “publicly express concerns about the growing human rights violations and abuses in Nigeria and call on the authorities to end violent attacks on peaceful protesters and to take urgent measures to respect and protect the rights of all Nigerians to protest anywhere in the country.”
SERAP said, “The wave of protests against repression by both the Federal and State authorities illustrates a broken social contract between the authorities and Nigerians. The authorities have been failing to meet the demands of Nigerians to respect human rights, end restrictions on civic space, obey court orders and ensure the rule of law.”
The petition copied to Ms Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,also urges Mr Voule to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to immediately and thoroughly investigate the attacks, identify the perpetrators and ensure the prosecution of anyone found to be responsible for the violent attacks.
“SERAP is seriously concerned that the Nigerian authorities have so far failed and/or neglected to address or redress the attacks on peaceful protesters, despite growing calls on the authorities to investigate the attacks and bring perpetrators to justice.
“We urge you to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to take all feasible measures to protect peaceful protesters demanding the release of all prisoners of conscience, and full respect for the rule of law.
they ask the UN to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to make clear that they will not tolerate violent attacks on protesters. The authorities have a responsibility both to respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to protect protesters from violent attacks.
“The demonstrations have taken place against a backdrop of the failure by the Nigerian authorities to respect human rights, release prisoners of conscience including Omoyele Sowore, Olawale Bakare, and Agba Jalingo, obey court orders and respect the rule of law.