A coalition of 32 civil society organisations (CSOs) has accused the federal government of clamping down on #EndSARS campaigners rather than addressing demanded reforms.
The coalition, in a statement on Tuesday, expressed concern about the attacks targeted at human rights activists and pro-democracy campaigners especially since the start of the #EndSARS protests.
The coalition said they are of the view that the #EndSARS protests focused on legitimate demands of the Nigerian youth.
“Unfortunately, instead of focusing squarely on the necessary administrative reforms to meet the short and long term demands of the protesters, the authorities have begun resorting to underhand tactics to coerce and clamp down rights activists, pro-democracy campaigners and other voices of dissent calling for systemic reforms, which will promote good governance,” the statement read.
The coalition said they have documented several “illegal” steps taken by the government which infringe on the fundamental rights of citizens.
“Increasingly, protest organisers are being intimidated and coerced by various state institutions,” the CSOs said.
“There have also been situations in which travel bans, which have no basis in the rule of law, have been slammed on individuals for their alleged roles in the #EndSARS protests.
“Our Coalition strongly condemns the resort to acts of intimidation, profiling and coercion of citizens who have done no wrong.”
The coalition said it is unacceptable that the Nigerian authorities resorted to targeting the bank accounts of individuals who are said to have supported the protest.
“The reliance on ex parte applications to freeze accounts of citizens is antithetical to the principle of fair hearing and proper judicial oversight,” they added.
The coalition called on the international community to take measures to ensure that the Nigerian authorities act according to the rule of law.
The CSOs listed in the statement are: Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Enough is Enough (EIE) Nigeria, Partners for Electoral Reform, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), Centre for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD), Yiaga Africa, Global Rights, Project Alert and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC).
Others are Paradigm Initiative (PIN), Rule of Law and Accountability Centre (RULAAC), HEDA Resource Centre, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Community Life Project (CLP), Protest to Power, Social Action, Right to Know, Lawyers Alert, Private and Public Development Centre, South Saharan Social Development Organisation, and Partners West Africa- Nigeria.
Also included are Centre LSD, Connected Development (CODE), Stakeholders Development Network (SDN), BUDGiT, CWCW Africa, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), Invictus Africa, Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Resource Centre for Human Rights (CHRICED), and Reboot Design.
Source: The Cable