Explain to Nigerians why palliatives were not shared, CSOs tell governors

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Kayode Fayemi

A coalition of 33 Civil Society Organisations has called on state governors to explain to Nigerians why palliatives meant for citizens were not shared.

The CSOs include Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Enough is Enough (EIE), Partners for Electoral Reform and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).

Some of the others are Centre for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD), Yiaga Africa, Global Rights, Project Alert and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) among others.

The CSOs in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja expressed worry at the attacks on warehouses in many states.

“The looting of COVID-19 palliatives, which were supplied by the Coalition against COVID-19 (CA-COVID), has thrown up another worrying dimension and exposed the rot and corruption in our governance system.

“We unequivocally condemn these attacks and call on the Governors’ Forum to tell Nigerians why they (Governors) intentionally hoarded food items supplied in good faith by the Coalition.

“We have read various official statements from some of the state governments and an unofficial statement attributed to the CA-COVID. Some of the statements raise some credibility questions.”

The CSOs also condemned the use of ‘live bullets’ on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, on Oct. 20. The group also condemned acts of thuggery, hate speeches and fake news.

The group said it particularly condemned the hoodlums that attacked security facilities and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force as two wrongs could never make a right.

It maintained that the 5-for-5 demand by the #EndSARS movement should be urgently met in the interest of the Nigerian state.

“One of the demands is the transparent prosecution of the officers responsible for the brutality against citizens.

“In order to build trust in government, we immediately request the prosecution of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers who have been identified in the killings, torture, and rape of citizens.”

The CSOs applauded the request of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami.

It said this would ensure speedy prosecution of 35 operatives of the defunct SARS.

The group said that the officers were accused of human rights violations and abuse of office in a report by the presidential investigation panel.

It said that as CSOs, the members had begun tracking initiated court cases, particularly in Lagos and Ogun in addition to the panels of inquiry and restitution set up by the states.

It said that so far, it had reviewed 27 of the 36 states that already announced such measures.

The CSOs also said that they had begun to document shreds of evidence with the view to tracking and underscoring the various human rights abuses following the #End SARS protests.

The group said that this included the launch of the Missing Persons Portal and tracking of cases specific to violence against women.

It said that its members were ready to provide live streaming and tech support to the panels setup in order to enhance the credibility of the investigative process.

It expressed concern that the NHRC which announced its constitution of an independent investigation panel into the activities of the dissolved SARS did not have a constituted Governing Council.

The CSOs, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to grant the commission the needed capacity to conduct its investigation by inaugurating the Commission’s Governing Council without further delay.

“In Section 7(3) of the National Human Rights Commission Act, the Executive Secretary lacks the power to act without a Governing Council, thus invalidating any action taken by the Anthony Ojukwu-led Commission.” (NAN)

– Oct. 27 2020 @ 17:59 GMT |

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