Nigeria: Activists beaten and jailed for protesting
In Nigeria, the right to freedom of expression has come under attack. The younger generation of Nigerians have activated the power of peaceful protests in demanding justice for police brutality, extortion and extra-judicial executions while authorities continue to respond with violence. Civil rights activists, human rights defenders, and civil society are now left with few alternatives channels of expression to demand accountability from the government. Those who attempt to exercise their right to freely protest on the street face arrest, detention, torture and trumped-up charges.
The past few months have witnessed a crackdown on peaceful protesters across the country under the #EndSARS movement. In October 2020, at least 12 persons were killed, and several others injured at Lekki toll gate and Alausa when security forces opened fire on the EndSARS protesters. Instead of bringing suspected perpetrators to justice and prioritizing genuine police reforms, the Nigerian authorities have been abusing their powers by subjecting those who supported the protests to intimidation, harassment and smear campaigns. The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), and human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.