Press Release: A Call to End Police Brutality, and Uphold and Protect Human Rights in Nigeria

The arm of the Law must be strong for the People – not against them.

It is with much-aggravated concern, that the Global Compact Network Nigeria has followed the ongoing events in the Nigerian polity which began with protesters demanding the abolition of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in particular, and has since grown to include calls for a complete overhaul of the policing and governance systems in the country.

Despite pledges from the government to disband SARS and institute broader police reforms, the protests and civilian response to ongoing police brutality have sparked national and global calls for a stronger rule of law that ensures accountability, stability, and equal access to justice for all. Unfortunately, these demands for basic human rights have been met with violent attacks around the country against protesters and more reports of police brutality, especially against our youth.

We deeply commiserate with all families of persons killed over the course of the last two weeks, as well as in previous months and years, by members of the defunct SARS and other law enforcement and the Armed Forces.

We share the valid and grave concerns of Nigerian youth, and fully support the demands for positive change which completely align with our Which completely aligns with our values and the 20 youth-related targets spread across the Sustainable Development Goals; particularly Goals 8, 10, and most significantly, 16.

In line with these Goals, the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact provide a universal framework for the business community to embed human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption deep into strategies and operations. Rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the human rights principles specifically call on business to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses. The corporate responsibility to respect and support human rights is critical to ensure the fundamental freedoms of every Nigerian citizen and resident.

The Global Compact Network Nigeria hereby unequivocally supports the calls to end police brutality in all its ugly forms. We join the calls for the Presidency to go beyond mere lip-service and promises, to actually follow through on their speeches with swift and concrete measures to ensure not only the complete disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, but also the thorough investigation of any and all human rights abuses.

In the same vein, we abhor violence in all its forms, and call for all parties to pursue an amicable – yet thorough and lasting resolution of the issues which stare our nation in the face. We totally condemn the looting and destruction of businesses in Lagos and other parts of the country, and call for Government to step up efforts to better protect the lives and property of all citizens and bring criminal perpetrators to book.

God bless Nigeria.

Naomi Nwokolo

Executive Director,

The Global Compact Network Nigeria

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