Fomer Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Amnesty International (AI) on Friday strongly condemned any disproportionate use of force on protesters calling for an end to Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) across the Nigeria.
Atiku commended the tenacity of the nation’s brave youths who have stayed out on the streets all day and night to make their voices heard, adding that protests were an essential part of any democracy.
His words: “I woke up to the peaceful #EndSARSProtests going on in Lagos and other cities in the country. First, I would like to commend the tenacity of our brave youths who have stayed out on the streets all day and night to make their voices heard.
“I stand with you all.
Protests are an essential part of any democracy as we have seen the world over, and should be seen as an opportunity for dialogue between our people and our leaders.
“Thus, it is essential that the fundamental rights of Nigerians to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression must be protected at all costs.
“I strongly condemn any disproportionate use of force on protesters across the nation.
“I also call on the relevant authorities to ensure our youths are heard, and all incidents of excessive use of force by security agencies against protesters are investigated,” Atiku said.
The former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the aggression meted out to young Nigerians, protesting the high-handedness of rogue units of the Nigerian Police Force was deeply disturbing.
He called on the leaders to listen to and engage with the youth on matters concerning their wellbeing.
“The reports of the aggression meted out to young Nigerians protesting the high handedness of rogue units of the Nigerian Police Force are deeply disturbing.
“Leaders of our nation ought to listen to and engage with our youth on matters concerning their wellbeing. I hope this approach changes soon,” Saraki said.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) also called on the government of President Buhari to immediately take action against all security agents who had reportedly, violently attacked peaceful protesters across the country, demanding an end to police repression and brutality.
The group said Nigerian authorities should publicly commit to standing by the victims of police brutality, and ensure that justice was no longer denied or delayed.
It added that President Buhari government should promptly investigate all reports of attacks on protesters and ensure that those suspected to be responsible for crimes against protesters were brought to justice without delay.
SERAP said victims must receive effective remedies, including compensation, satisfaction and guarantee of non-repetition.
Also Amnesty International condemned the arrests and attacks on #EndSARS protesters in Abuja and other cities across the country.
The group said protest was a constitutionally-guaranteed right and no one should be arrested or attacked for exercising that right. #EndSarsProtests
“We have disturbing reports of Lagos police @rrslagos767 violating #EndSarsProtests. Protest is a human right. Police must stop abusing their power to deny Nigerians the freedom of assembly,” Amnesty International said.