Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Amnesty International (AI), has told the Lagos State Government to first disclose the full identities of the 103 unidentified corpses of #EndSARS protesters before proceeding with the proposed mass burial for them.
AI warned Lagos Government not to carry out any secret mass burial for the affected casualties.
Amnesty International spoke on the heels of a statement by the Lagos State Ministry of Health on Sunday, that it was proposing mass burial for the protesters who were killed in 2020 during the uprising against police brutality.
The position of the international body was contained in a statement signed by Media and Communication Assistant, Amnesty International Nigeria, Michael Christian.
The statement obtained by Ikengaonline read: “Responding to a leaked government memo dated 19 July 2023, which was addressed to the Lagos State Ministry of Health and indicated that the state government had approved more than N61 million Naira for the mass burial of 103 persons identified as victims of the #EndSARS protests in October 2020,” Isa Sanusi, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said.”
“The Nigerian authorities must urgently halt their plans to carry out a secret mass burial of #EndSARS.”
It further asked the Government to instead conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the killings and ensure that those suspected to be responsible are brought to justice in fair trials.
“They must also carry out transparent coroner inquests and autopsies on the 103 #EndSARS victims and publish their identities and the circumstances of their deaths,” AI added.
AI wondered why Lagos State Government never admitted it was keeping 103 bodies of #EndSARS protesters since 2020 until now.
“It is appalling that the Lagos state Government has not even mentioned that it has held the bodies of 103 #EndSARS victims in its custody since October 2020.
“All those detained because of their role in the #EndSARS protests must be immediately released.
“The Nigerian authorities must also ensure that victims and their families are provided with access to justice and effective remedies, including adequate compensation.”
The statement said that Amnesty International has been monitoring developments across Nigeria since the #EndSARS protests began on 8 October 2020.
“In October 2020, an on-the-ground investigation by Amnesty International confirmed that Nigerian security forces opened fire on thousands of peaceful protesters, who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality, killing at least 12 protesters at Lekki toll gate and in Alausa.”
But Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has consistently denied that protesters were killed at Lekki Tollgate.