Haunting Memories And The Pains Of Unfulfilled Promises – One Year After The #ENDSARS Protests

ENDARS Protests – The FG is failing to learn from history.

It is now one year since the historic #EndSARS protests rocked the already wobbly foundations of our nation. It was a resounding call to end police brutality, improve the welfare of officers of the force and respect the rule of law.

The protests organised by young Nigerians had five clearly articulated demands:

1. Immediate release of all arrested protesters.
2. Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensations for their families.
3. Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reported police misconduct within a period of 10 days.
4. In line with the new Police Act, carry out psychological evaluation and retaining of all disbanded SARS operatives before they can deployed (this should be verified by an independent body).
5. Increase Police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of the citizens.

The peaceful protests were however hijacked by thugs believed to have been sponsored by the government or their sympathizers. Mayhem was unleashed, and in the chaos that followed, law enforcement agents killed and maimed hapless citizens, while criminals unleashed terror on policemen and police stations.

Despite the promises made by the government to meet the demands of the protesters and while the notorious SARS/FSARS was disbanded, to this day, not much has changed. There has been no accountability for several cases of extra judicial killings, torture, extortion and other forms of brutality.

Brutality, unlawful detention, extortion is still widespread within the Police and acts of police violence is continuing to this day.

In the face of this failure, citizens’ attempts to remind the government of its promises by the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression is being repressed by the Police under various guises.

Access to Justice, Therefore:
1. Reminds the government of its promise to reform the police, and to take determined steps to do so now. The police force still functions with impunity and lawlessness and there are continuing reports of widespread abuses perpetrated by officers of the force on a daily basis. No institutional and political efforts have been undertaken to transform the operational system of the force in order to address the root problems.

2. Strongly urges the government to ensure that the reports of the States Investigative Panels into police violence following the #ENDASARS protests in October 2020 are fully implemented, and that victims or families of victims – in cases of unlawful killings- are compensated. Government must also ensure the immediate prosecution of all those indicted by the Panels as having acted unlawfully and abused their offices.

3. Charges the government to put in place mechanisms that will make reportage and tracking of complaints easy and accessible, as well as provide feedback of actions it has taken in cases of police misconduct or violence to the public.

Joseph Otteh- Convener. Deji Ajare- Project Director


About Access To Justice

Access to Justice is a non-profit, non-governmental organization working to promote integrity, transparency, accountability and independence in legal and judicial institutions and to protect the rights of individuals and groups to justice. A2Justice is the 2009 recipient of MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and also the 2010 recipient of the first- ever Nigerian Bar Association’s Gani Fawehinmi Award for Human Rights and Social Justice.