EndSARS: Release Protesters Still in Detention and Compensate all Victims
The agony of #EndSARS victims and their families has continued to linger. Many protesters are still in detention while there has not been compensation for many among those killed or maimed by security operatives during the October 2020 nationwide protest against police brutality. This is in spite of the recommendation of different panels set up in Lagos and across the country that support justice for the victims. While Lagos state government and a few other state governments claimed to have obeyed the panels’ recommendations, evidence shows that only a few victims of police brutality have been compensated while those brutalized or killed during the #EndSARS revolt have neither been acknowledged nor compensated. In Lagos, the “Lekki tollgate massacre” is still officially denied despite evidence of victims.
By Francis Nwapa National Secretary, YRC
In a report released by Amnesty International “At least 40 protesters remained in detention without trial in Agodi Prison, Ibadan, and Kirikiri Prison, Lagos, two years after participating in #EndSARS protests.
Some of those in prolonged incarceration in various police detention facilities across the country are: Oyewole Olumide, Rasheed Tiamiyu, Moruf Adekunle, Taoreed Abiodun, Ikenna Amechi, Afeez Ariyo, Ikechukwu Eze, and Adesina Ademuyiwa. They were among those arrested in Ibadan for participating in #EndSARS protests in October 2020. Despite reportedly suffering from ill health, they are continued to be held without trial in Agodi Correctional Centre, having previously been detained at a SARS facility in Ibadan and Abolongo Prison in Oyo Town.
Ayodeji Oluwasegun, Andoh Immanuel, Yakubu Olayiwola, Olaogun Ismail, Uba Chukwuma, Dosunmu Taiwo, Daniel Joy-Igbo, Yusuf Rafiu, Olawale Marcus, Muyiwa Onikoyi, Shehu Anas, Suleman Saidu, Rasheed Wasiu Bolaji, Adigun Sodiq, Sunday Okoro, Akiniran Oyetakin, Ogidi Isah, Ibrahim Adesanya, and Faruk Abdulquadri have also been detained without trial in Kirikiri Medium Security Prison in Lagos since 2020.
The government has attempted to justify the ongoing detention of #EndSARS protesters by resorting to trumped-up charges including theft, arson, possession of unlawful firearms, and murder.
The report also stated that a further twenty-one #EndSARS protesters were held incommunicado for 15 months at Afaraukwu Correctional Service in Umuahia in Abia state for participating in the protests. However, on Friday 4 February 2022, they were released without charge following an intervention by Amnesty International.
LAGOS JUDICIAL PANEL REPORT
On November 15th 2021, the panel submitted two reports – one on police brutality cases and another on the Lekki toll gate massacre investigation. The panel listed nine fatalities from the shooting at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020. However, the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led APC government has rejected the report through its released ‘White Paper” and rather called for a peace walk with some of the prominent figures of the #Endsars protests, something that was turned down by those invited.
CALL FOR JUSTICE
We demand an immediate and unconditional release of all those still being incarcerated in various detention facilities across the country and adequate compensation for them and other victims. We also demand immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of inquiry on restitution for victims of SARS. We demand an end to police brutality/state repression and the continuous attacks on democratic rights by the government at all levels.
We call on the labour movement, civil society organizations and youth groups to support and fight for the above demands alongside building a mass movement and a political alternative to end capitalism – a corrupt, oppressive and inequitable socio-economic system that requires repressive state apparatuses like the police, the DSS and the army to flourish. Only under a democratic Socialist Nigeria can police brutality and state repression truly end.