Just days after winning the American election as the Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris was urged by an American-based Nigerian lawyer to wade into the current human rights violations in Nigeria.
Oluwabukola Nelson penned a lengthy letter dated November 7, to Kamala Harris; explaining the current crackdown on #EndSARS protesters which led to a nationwide outcry.
1st News had reported protests organized around #EndSARS—the mass action; calling for a complete ban of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian police force—has rocked cities across Nigeria.
Set up in the mid-1990s to combat incidences of armed robbery, SARS has over the years metamorphosed into a force associated with harassment of innocent citizens, extortion at gunpoint, and extrajudicial killings of suspects.
The protesters’ demands were straightforward: The federal government should abolish SARS, provide justice to victims of police brutality, and reform the police.
In addition to calling for law enforcement agencies to respect the rule of law, youth are demanding more respect for human rights and a deepening of democracy.
However, the #EndSARS in Lagos turned bloody on Tuesday, October 20, despite a state-wide curfew, with eyewitnesses revealing that multiple demonstrators have been shot by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate.
Amnesty International said that it has received “credible but disturbing evidence” of “excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters.”
“While we continue to investigate the killings, Amnesty International wishes to remind the authorities that under international law; security forces may only resort to the use of lethal force when strictly unavoidable; to protect against an imminent threat of death or serious injury,” Amnesty stated.
In his letter to Kamala Harris, Nelson revealed how “the Nigerian Government committed several crimes; while refusing to facilitate a transparent investigation into the Lekki shootings.”
The lawyer further revealed “the FG has doubled down on arrests and brutalisation of prominent #EndSARS voices. The FG also used the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze their accounts; while seizing their international passports.
“Furthermore, the Police IGP, Mohammed Adamu has ordered the police to kill any Nigerian that comes out for protests.”
Nelson appealed to Kamala Harris to ensure President Muhammadu Buhari is held accountable for these abuses; while reiterating the need for sending special envoys to the country in order to foster a sustainable democracy.
I am seeking the urgent intervention of the US government on the pressing matters of wanton constitutional violations and human rights abuse by the Nigerian govt.
cc: @OgbeniDipo @AishaYesufu @obyezeks @PoliceNG pic.twitter.com/pdUkav6FNm
— Bukola Michael Nelson, MBA, RTBMA,ETBMA (@BMichael_Nelson) November 8, 2020