3 YEARS AFTER THE #ENDSARS PROTEST AND BRUTAL STATE REPRESSION, POLICE BRUTALITY CONTINUES IN NIGERIA
WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF LEKKI TOLL GATE MASSACRE AND OTHER INCIDENTS OF KILLINGS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
WE CALL FOR AN END TO POLICE BRUTALITY, STATE REPRESSION AND ALL ANTI-POOR ECONOMIC POLICIES
3 years after the #EndSARS protest, police brutality has continued unabated while the political class continues to clampdown with brute force on the democratic rights of youths and working people including their rights to freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly.
The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) find this worrisome especially in a country that claims to be a “democratic state”. Unfortunately, the unrelenting onslaught on democratic rights, extortion, illegal arrest and extra judicial killing by security agencies, clampdown on trade unions, students unions and activists and the overall condition of shrinking civic space that has become the norm in Nigeria over the past two decades show that the so-called democracy that came into being in 1999 is nothing but a civilian capitalist dictatorship robed in democratic disguises.
Therefore, on this occasion of the three year anniversary of the #EndSARS struggle and the Lekki tollgate massacre, not only do we call freedom for all political prisoners and all students, youth and workers activists being politically victimized on campuses and workplaces across Nigeria, we also demand justice for all victims of the Lekki toll gate massacre and other victims of police and army killings across the country. Today we demand compensation for those brutally killed and maimed across the country. Notably the Obi-Igbo killings by the military ordered by former Governor Nyesom Wike. We demand immediate release of any #EndSARS protester still held in any facility across the nation and adequate compensation for unjust incarceration. We demand that all ranking political, military and police officers either retired or still in service, involved in the killings and brutality be tried and brought to justice.
So far the Federal Government and the Lagos State government have continued to deny the outcome of the #EndSARS panel which found unimpeachable evidence of the military and police role in killing tens if not hundreds of peaceful protesters on October 20, 2020. The report of the Lagos State Panel has been dismissed by the State and recommendations yet to be implemented. This denial is an insult to the collective intelligence of Nigerians and a dishonour to the souls of those who perished on this day. For as long as we breathe, we shall continue to remember these martyrs neither are we going to tire in our call for justice no matter how long it takes.
The #EndSARS struggle of October 2020 is a watershed in the history of Nigeria. The Nigeria ruling elites were shocked to their bones with the massive protest of young people across the country to demand an end to a rogue unit of the Nigeria Police Force called SARS. Despite state sponsoring of thugs to attack protesters and shooting of protesters by the police in various locations, for two weeks young people demonstrated resilience and unity of purpose. The #EndSARS protest itself broke out about a week after the Nigerian trade unions on September 28, 2020 had once again prematurely suspended the plan for a nationwide general strike to protest the increase in fuel price and the deplorable poverty that the mass of Nigerians were suffering from. In a sense, the #EndSARS revolt was an indication of the anger of young people and their frustration at the way Nigeria is being run by the corrupt capitalist ruling elite who use the police and the army to keep the victims of their system in check.
Three years after, things have only gone from bad to worse economically and politically for Nigeria and Nigerians.
Interestingly, we now have in power as Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who in October 2020 in response to the Lekki toll gate massacre asked journalists “what were they doing there?” We do not need any soothsayer to predict that unless challenged with a solid mass movement, similar bloody repression is entirely possible under the President Tinubu regime. This is exactly one of the reasons all radical and progressive youth groups as well as civil society organisations need to come together to launch a new campaign involving protests and demonstrations to begin to resist all the anti-poor policies of the Tinubu regime while also piling pressure on the leadership of the trade unions to call a general strike. We call on Nigeria youths to join the YRC and unite against all forms of oppression, hike in school fees, falling living standard, police brutality and looting of public resources by the ruling elites and ultimately begin to demand Socialist change to end all forms of oppression.