Lagos-based civil rights group, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), has petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights to act immediately and open an international inquiry into the massacre of peaceful #EndSARS protesters by the Nigerian Army at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos on October 20, 2020.
CAPPA also advocated for a stop to the Nigerian government’s continued clampdown on #EndSARS promoters, unlawful restrictions and flagrant abuse of court process targeted at protesters and organizations that identified with peaceful protests. In address in Lagos on Friday titled, “We Insist on Justice for Lekki #EndSARS Victims,” CAPPA Executive Director,
Akinbode Oluwafemi, lamented that many individuals, who participated in the protests were being whisked away from their homes by the police, stressing that many had been denied access to their families, lawyers and even seizing their international passports. While appealing to the Nigerian government to also compensate families of the law enforcement agents, who died during the backlash of the Lekki massacre, the CAPPA boss explained that the group sought justice from the international body because Nigerians might not get justice from the panels setup by the government going by the current victimization of “suspects” by the government. He wondered why media organizations that the public rated highly for giving unbiased coverage of the protests would suffer backlash from the government.
“We find it very shocking that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) slammed a N3 million fine on Arise TV, Africa Independent Television (AIT), and Channels TV, describing their reports as ‘unprofessional’. Nothing can be farther from the truth,” he said.
Curiously, he said, the obnoxious Social Media Regulation Bill, which was widely debated in the 8th National Assembly and criticized by Nigerians had been resurrected in the Senate by lawmakers, whom he said, had spoken openly against the #EndSARS protests.
“As if these are not enough, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) obtained an order from a Federal High Court in Abuja to freeze 20 of accounts of #EndSARS protesters domiciled in Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank. These things are most unacceptable,” he said.
Recall that on October 23, 2020, CAPPA began collating signatures for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to institute an inquiry into the brutal deployment of firearms against peaceful protesters at Lekki and other acts of human rights abuses that had happened across the country, especially since October 8. Already, 10,027 individuals have signed the petition as well as 154 organizations from over 75 countries around the world. Besides, a dozen notable international figures have voiced their solidarity with the movement for justice happening in Nigeria today. Among the signatories are two former UN special rapporteurs, several members of the United States Congress, and Cornell and Harvard University professors. They joined CAPPA in demanding an end to police brutality and want justice for victims of the Lekki shooting.