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CALS and Right2Protest condemn attack on #EndSARS protesters

- Busisiwe Zasekhaya

The Right2Protest Project hosted at CALS raises concerns over the brutal treatment of protesters in Nigeria calling for an end to police brutality

The Right2Protest Project and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies have over the past few weeks watched protests in Nigeria unfold with a mounting call to end police brutality in the country. We write this letter with growing concern on how the situation has been handled. 

Whilst the constitution of Nigeria provides for freedom of assembly, we have witnessed how those exercising this constitutional right have been met with excessive violence and have experienced exactly what they have been protesting against: police brutality. We are appalled by how the Nigerian authorities have continued to use the police to suppress the voices of activists and to shrink the space for dissent. The right to peaceful assembly is essential to the proper functioning of a democratic state and it provides a platform for public participation for the betterment of the livelihood of citizens. This right is one which is internationally recognised and ought to be respected. 

The Lekki massacre is a gross violation of the rights to life and human dignity and has highlighted the Nigerian government’s failure to be responsive to the demands of its people. If anything, it has subjected its people to even more trauma. The responsibility of the government is to protect its people, not to kill them when they voice their dissent.  

We condemn the actions of the police in Nigeria and we call for the government to take further action against those responsible for the Lekki massacre. 

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From Right2Protest