OCTOBER 12, 2020
The Building Blocks for Peace Foundation (BBFORPEACE) welcome the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police Force and support calls for an end to all forms of police brutality and human rights violation especially of young people in Nigeria. We condemn the extra-judicial killings, frequent victimisation and harassment of hard-working Nigerian youths, as well as the unlawful policing by some members of the Nigerian Police Force.
As a youth-led peacebuilding organisation in the country, we have always challenged the negative stereotypical perception of youth and maintained that young people are responsible agents of peace and development. The recent killings by policemen of #ENDSARS protesters exercising their right to protest in Ogbomosho, Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country is uncalled for and highly unprofessional. The high-handedness of security forces and the callously silent response from the Nigerian federal government violate several international conventions and treaties, including the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2250, 2419, and 2535 which recognise young people as critical partners for peace and security and request the protection of young men and women by all UN member states.
While we acknowledge the Inspector-General’s announcement of the disbandment of the SARS element, we insist that a lot more needs to be done to end the scourge of police brutality and human rights violation in the country once and for all. We therefore call on the Nigerian government, including the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, as well as all relevant stakeholders to urgently take the following actions:
I. Immediate and unconditional release of all #EndSARS protesters detained by the police across the country.
II. Policemen involved in the extortion and human rights violations of Nigerians should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
III. All police officers should undergo psycho-social training to transform their negative perception of young people as perpetrators of violence.
IV. There is a need for a total overhauling of the Nigeria Police Force investing in training and funding for the force.
V. Mainstream youth voices into the Citizens and Strategic Stakeholders Forum to ensure that youths do not become the scapegoats of future security arrangements.
Every Nigerian youth deserves the right to life, fair hearing and protection from violence, particularly in his/her own country. #EndSARSNow #EndPoliceBrutality
Stephanie E. Effevottu,
Acting Executive Director,
Building Blocks for Peace Foundation