Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Nearly four years after the nationwide uprising against police brutality popularly known as#EndSARS, the United States of America, has urged the Nigerian Authorities to implement the recommendations of the#EndSARS report.
Recall that the various states of the federation had after the uprising, set up a Panel of Inquiry to investigate the matter, and make recommendations.
Meanwhile, ever since the panels submitted their reports, Government is yet to take any action on the reports.
The US made the call at the United Nations Human Rights Council 4th cycle Universal Period Review of Nigeria in Geneva, Switzerland.
US also asked Nigeria to amend the Nigerian Press Council Act to remove restrictions on freedom of expression; and review the standard operating procedure of the armed forces to protect human rights.
A representative of the US Government who addressed some human rights concerns in Nigeria, asked the Federal Government to take steps to implement the #EndSARS report.
The US diplomat said: “Our main concern is on certain restrictions on Nigerians on the enjoyment of human rights. In the spirit of constructive engagement, we recommend that Nigeria implement recommendations from state level investigations panel report on security forces response to the #EndSARS protests including prosecution as appropriate of the individual implicated in the reports.
“Amend the Nigerian Press Act of 1992 to remove restriction on the freedom of expression specifically as it applies to online and citizen journalists. End the arbitrary arrest and prosecution of LGBT persons and amend the armed forces standard operating procedure to ensure the protection of human rights and fundamental freedom of all Nigerians.”
Responding, the Attorney General of Federation, AGF, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, appreciated the UN Human Rights Council’s interest in the affairs of Nigeria and the recommendations that had been made.
Fagbemi restated that the issues of credibility of elections in Nigeria do not arise, noting that election was a process which starts from nomination, adding that until the Supreme Court made a pronouncement, the election cannot come to an end.
“The issue of credibility of any election in Nigeria does not arise. Election is a process and until the Supreme Court makes any pronouncement, it cannot be regarded as having come to an end. A pronouncement has been made in respected of the Presidential election and just last week, the last pronouncement was made in respect of governorship elections. The issue of credibility does not arise at all. It has been confirmed to be in conformity with the laws guiding the conduct of elections in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, a member of the Nigerian delegation, Abdulraman Yakubu, who also spoke, listed measures Nigeria has adopted since the last review, to ensure the protection of human rights.
Yakubu said there had been remarkable improvement in election management processes since 2019.
“Our election management body has been strengthened to be independent to manage electoral process in open and transparent manner.”