The Social Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the violent crackdown on unarmed protesters by security operatives across the country.
In the petition sent to Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, SERAP said the violent attacks on peaceful protesters in Lekki, Alausa, and other parts of the country suggest the lack of political will by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to respect people’s human rights.
The group wants Bensouda to focus on Nigerian authorities, military, and some politicians, who may have used thugs, soldiers and security agents to intimidate, harass, attack and kill #EndSARS protesters in Abuja, Lagos, Edo, Osun, Plateau, and Kano states.
Particularly, the group says “the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly failed to address these grave human rights violations, which amount to crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC.”
SERAP urges Bensouda to “push for those suspected to be responsible for these crimes, mostly security officials, soldiers, some politicians and other actors who directly or indirectly have individually and/or collectively contributed to the attacks, deaths and injuries, and are therefore complicit in the crimes, to be tried by the ICC.”
In the petition dated 21 October 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said the repeated attacks on peaceful protesters suggest the misuse of the military and security agents by the Nigerian authorities and the failure to apply criminal sanctions to suspected perpetrators.
The petition, read in part: “Ending impunity for attacks on peaceful protesters would improve respect for human rights in the country, and empower the citizens to hold their leaders to account. Unless the citizens are freely allowed to exercise their right to protest, the pervasive culture of impunity will continue to flourish in the country.”
The use of thugs and soldiers against peaceful protesters have resulted in several deaths and injuries.