UN calls for investigation into Lekki shootings

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United Nations (UN) human rights experts have demanded a comprehensive probe into the Lekki shootings by soldiers.

In the statement released on Tuesday, they noted that “the recent illegal killing of at least 12 peaceful protestors by soldiers” requires credible investigation stating that the federal government must set an independent inquiry.

The experts are Agnès Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association; Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression.

Others are Leigh Toomey (Chair-Rapporteur), Elina Steinerte (Vice-Chair), José Guevara Bermúdez, Sètondji Roland Adjovi, and Seong-Phil Hong of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

They noted: “we have had 15 years of government promises, but nothing has changed. Governments come and go, but police brutality is as intractable as ever. Nigerians need justice” stressing that the excessive use of force on October 20 in Lagos were “disturbing because demonstrators were precisely calling for accountability for previous police brutality”.

The statement further requested clarification on the part of authorities as to why the military was deployed and who gave the order.

It read: “any investigation must aim to identify lines of responsibility, deliver accountability and justice, provide remedies and reparations, and recommend structural and systemic changes.”

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The Rapporteurs called on the government to release the reports of previous investigations into human rights violations by the security forces.

These include the 2019 report by the National Human Rights Commission report on SARS and the 2018 report by the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement.

“Hundreds of victims and relatives of those who died have testified and sent petitions, but they never received any remedy, not even the acknowledgement that their rights were violated. It is crucial that the government releases all these reports to the public before they start new investigations”, the experts added.

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