#EndSARS: ASCAB urges Nigerians to submit complaints to its independent panel
The Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has called on Nigerians to submit to its independent panel tagged: the Citizen Tribunal, complaints of human right violations encountered, witnessed or heard during the #ENDSARs protest which rocked the country last October 2020.
ASCAB led by Nigeria’s foremost civil rights defender, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), is the country’s leading coalition of some 80 civil society groups, including but not limited to the country’s leading labour movements.
The coalition made the call at the weekend in a statement titled: “Call for complaints of Human Rights Violations by Police, Military and Other Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria,” and signed by the panel’s chairman, Mr Chino Obiagwu (SAN).
ASCAB, however, stated that its call was not restricted to victims who already submitted to panels set up by the government since outcomes and investigations might defer in form or content, assuring that the Citizen Tribunal would enrich the investigations into the agelong abuses suffered by Nigerians in the hands of the SARs.
It posited that this was so because ASCAB’s panel is backed by eminent resource persons drawn from different backgrounds, including labour, civil society and a retinue of experts from the international community.
“The panel is to receive complaints from the general public of violations, before, during and after the #EndSARS protests across Nigeria. To this end, the panel hereby calls on the general public, especially families of those who lost their lives or who suffer one form of human rights violation or another,” ASCAB stated.
According to ASCAB, the complaints are expected to contain the names of the victim(s), date, time and place of violations, type of violation suffered, name of the perpetrator (if known), name of agency of the perpetrator and any action already taken in the matter.
ASCAB said the Citizen Panel is open to all Nigerians including the media, adding that the panel would employ best global practices to unravel the misery encountered by many victims of the disbanded anti-crime outfit.
Besides, the coalition said it would employ litigation where necessary to enforce justice which may include compensation for victims.
“All interested victims regardless of whether they have approached the official commissions of inquiry set up by the State Governments or not can submit memos to the Citizens Tribunal. To this end, all victims that have submitted a petition to the official commissions of inquiry should indicate if they have, and specify which of the commissions they submitted their petitions to. This will enable us to follow up and track petitions at the official commissions,” ASCAB said.
Speaking further, the coalition said the panel would hold public sittings at various locations across the country to hear oral testimonies of complainants and demand accountability from the concerned law enforcement agency.
“Where it is not possible to have physical meetings with any victim and his or her family, the panel will arrange a virtual meeting,” it said.