Amnesty International, Nigeria, Tuesday, called on Nigerian authorities to launch a thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the firing of live ammunition and tear gas at protesters, which caused damage and endangered the lives and property of staff members of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Maitama, Abuja, on Monday, March 23.
Responding to police attack on National Human Rights Commission Headquarters Abuja, Osai Ojigho, Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, said this reckless and horrific incident happened while supporters of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) were holding their usual protest by the headquarters of NHRC.
“Nigerian authorities must launch a thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the firing of live ammunition and tear gas at protesters which caused damage and endangered the lives and properties of staff of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Maitama Abuja on Monday 23 March.
“This reckless and horrific incident which happened while supporters of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) were holding their usual protest by the headquarters of NHRC, once again, shows Nigerian Police’s total disregard for human life and brutal violation of freedom of assembly.
“We condemn this violation of human rights and frequent resort to lethal force by the police whenever they are handling peaceful protests. Live bullets fired by the police put lives at risk, damaged some parts of the building and some staff vehicles parked in the office premises of the commission.
“Our findings show that this is not the first time police are targeting the offices of NHRC with live bullets and tear gas. On many occasions, some staff of the commission investigating human rights violations were threatened and intimidated by the police.”
“The unlawful attack and intimidation of the NHRC by the police is unacceptable, and those responsible for the violence and damage that occurred must be brought to justice.
“As a legal entity charged with defending human rights in Nigeria, the NHRC must be free to perform its functions as assigned by law. Resorting to lethal force against peaceful protesters is a violation of Nigerian and international human rights law and must immediately end.” Ojigho said