Activists, at the weekend, have petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights seeking an international inquiry into the killing and maiming of #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020, in Lekki, Lagos.
The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Joint Action Front (JAF), Peace and Development Project (PEDEP), Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), and Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-Hope), among others, endorsed the petition.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, they said over 10,027 individuals and 154 organizations from 75 countries signed the petition, disclosing that two former UN special rapporteurs, several members of the United States (U.S.) Congress and Cornell and Harvard University professors also signed the document.
Other international figures also expressed solidarity with the movement for justice in Nigeria. CAPPA revealed that it started the petition on October 23, 2020, following what it expects would be “unlikely outcomes” of the judicial panels set up to investigate cases of rights abuses linked to SARS and the government’s initiatives supposedly aimed at addressing corruption in the system.
Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said that events after the shootings had been most disturbing with daily reports of police arresting identified protesters from their homes and denying them access to their families and lawyers.
He also frowned on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for intimidation of the #EndSARS protesters through a Federal High Court order in Abuja to freeze 20 accounts of #EndSARS protesters in commercial banks.
Also speaking, Associate Director of CAPPA, Aderonke Ige, said righteous anger motivated the organizations to toe the path of the ICC petition in view of the failure of the Nigerian judiciary to defend the murdered protesters and democracy in Nigeria.
Executive Director, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Debo Adeniran, noted that the police service in Nigeria was getting worse and more brutal, and had reached a point where the police see themselves as a force to be dreaded and not respected.
Comrade Soweto of the Youths Rights Campaign (YRC) said the violation of the rights of citizens had escalated after the October 20 killings and evidence abound that the civic space is now shrinking.
He restated the belief that the events leading to the 13-day protests were still evident and that Nigerians were tired of panels set up by the government whose recommendations are swept under the carpet, insisting that the petition to the ICC was the right decision.