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Statement on the situation in The Federal Republic of Nigeria

African Union (AU) Download logo

Political Affairs Cluster

The African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), the civil society organ of the African Union with a mandate to promote the principles and ideals of good governance and Human Rights in the continent:

Noting with grave concern events unfolding in the Federal Republic of Nigeria following reports of the use of deadly force by armed military officers against unarmed civilian protesters calling for action by the government of Nigeria to end police brutality under the hashtag #ENDSARS;

Further noting that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is an integral part of the African Union; and thus has a significant role to play in the fortification of the founding principles of a people-centered and people-driven African Union as elaborated in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and other regional and global human rights instruments;

Recalling the inalienable responsibility of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pursue amicable solutions to disagreements with citizens in the interest of peace and stability in the nation;

Emphasizing the rights of citizens to peacefully protest in Nigeria, a member of the African Union and international community, as enshrined in the national constitution and international law;

Hereby:

  1. Call for an urgent de-escalation of the current unrest in Nigeria with a view to protecting the lives of citizens.
  2. Urge the governing authorities to restore conditions allowing for citizens to peacefully protest and express themselves on issues affecting the safety and wellbeing of Nigerians; and to do so without fear of retribution, confrontation, or violence that could lead to the loss of life and destruction of property.
  3. Encourage all parties, including the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and protesting citizens, to come together around the table of dialogue and to act, in good faith, to swiftly and peacefully resolve the current impasse in order to prevent any further fragmentation of the national fabric.
  4. Urge the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to reinforce and expedite the work of the various committees of inquiry established to look into the issue of police brutality in order to restore the confidence of citizens in the institutions of state;
  5. Call for a thorough, fair, and independent investigation of reports and video footage appearing to show the shooting of unarmed protesters by uniformed personnel; and to ensure justice for victims and perpetrators alike.

Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai Chairperson Political Affairs Cluster 22nd October 2020 Lusaka, Zambia

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union (AU).