Gbenga ABIODUN 

Amnesty International  is  60 years old. In a statement marking the anniversary, Amnesty International noted that incessant killings and failure of the authorities to end them and bring suspected perpetrators to justice had been and continued to be a threat to the right to life in Nigeria.

“Amnesty International started working on Nigeria on 1 June in 1967 with an intervention on the Nigerian civil war which ended in 1970. Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka was declared a prisoner of conscience, for being detained solely for his dissenting opinion.

Between 1968 and 1969 the annual report documented and expressed concern over suspension of human rights in the context of the civil war. “Not much has changed about human rights in Nigeria since 1967 and the concerns remain flagrant disregard for human rights, failure of authorities to protect the people, threats to human rights including the right to freedom of expression, suppression of dissenting voices and lack of accountability.

In the signed statement by the Director, Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho, Amnesty said, “Incessant killings and the stunning failure of the authorities to end them and bring suspected perpetrators to justice have been and continues to be a threat to the right to life in Nigeria. 

“From the days of military’s heavy-handed rule to the years of civil rule and up to today violation of human rights by both state actors and abuses by non-state actors continue to be matters of concern.”

Ojigho further stated that on April 10, 1978, six Nigerians students were killed, while many were detained for protesting staggering increase in student fees. “From then on, Nigerian youths continued to face violent crackdown for exercising right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

‘’From the June 12, 1993, pro-democracy protests, occupy Nigeria protest of 2012, to the #EndSARS protest of 2020, Nigerian authorities continue to violently repress peaceful protests.

“While facing violations or policies that undermine people’s rights, Nigerians always resort to protest – and other peaceful means of seeking change. But violent clampdown on protests remains a major area of human rights violation. ‘’Protest is not a crime and Nigerians must be able to assemble peacefully and express themselves without fear,” said Ojigho.

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