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SERAP petitions UN over alleged police ‘repression’ in Nigeria

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said it has petitioned the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, in Geneva, over alleged repression of citizens by the Nigerian police.

“We have sent an open letter to all member and observer states of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva,” SERAP said in a tweet.

SERAP said it is urging the UN to “urgently convene a special session on Nigeria over arbitrary arrests and repression by police of ‘RevolutionNow’ protesters, organizers, journalists.”

SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare in the letter dated August 8, 2019, also accused the Nigeria Police of suppression of freedom of expression, attacks on human rights defenders and intimidation and harassment of Amnesty International in Nigeria.

Operatives of the Department of Security Services (DSS) Saturday arrested Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore at his Lagos residence for spearheading the #RevolutionNow movement protest in most Nigerian states planned for Monday, August 5.

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Nigeria’s police inspector general Mohammed Adamu accused of Sowore, presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general election and the #RevolutionNow movement sponsors of using the protest to force a regime change in the country.

Despite Sowore’s detention, members of the movement at different states of Nigeria went ahead with the planned protest but were restrained by the presence of security operatives who arrested and detained journalists, and about 10 protesters at the scenes of protest in the country.

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But SERAP director disagrees with the police declaration.

“There are serious violations of the rights of Nigerians to liberty, personal security, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and media freedom and a Special Session is urgently needed to help stem the attack on human rights and contribute to UN efforts to prevent further abuses including arbitrary detention and excessive use of force,” Oluwadare said in the letter.

SERAP director said human rights have drastically deteriorated in Nigeria through authorities at the federal and state levels.

He asked the Human Rights Council to be consistent with its mandate to prevent human rights violations and respond promptly to human rights emergencies in Nigeria.

Oluwadare urged the Human Rights Council delegation to actively support the holding of a Special Session of the Human Rights Council without delay and adopt a resolution that ensures urgent attention to the situation with a view to ‘stemming the abuses and ending impunity’ in Nigeria.

He said failure to assume its responsibility and give voice to the victims in Nigeria, the perpetrators of impunity will continue to fuel further abuses.

Oluwdare urged the Council to tell Nigerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained in and stop harassing citizens of the country.

“The Council should condemn in the strongest possible terms the attacks on ‘RevolutionNow’ protesters, journalists, and bloggers by the Nigerian authorities at both Federal and State levels, as well as the ongoing impunity enjoyed by perpetrators,” Oluwadare said.