…By for TDPel Media.
Amnesty International Nigeria has called on the Lagos State government to suspend its plans for a mass burial of 103 bodies believed to be those of EndSARS protesters.
The human rights organization demands a transparent coroner’s inquest to investigate the deaths of these individuals, as doubts persist over the circumstances surrounding their demise.
Controversy Surrounding Burial Plans:
Naija News reports that a leaked memo dated July 19, 2023, addressed to the Lagos State Ministry of Health revealed that the government had approved N61,285,000 for the mass burial of 103 persons identified as 2020 EndSARS victims.
The memo outlined the financial arrangements for the burial following the governor’s approval.
However, the Lagos State Government contends that the victims to be buried were not related to the contentious Lekki Tollgate shooting.
Instead, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, asserts that they were individuals who lost their lives in post-EndSARS protest violence.
Amnesty International’s Call for Transparency:
In response to the burial plans and the lack of clarity surrounding the victims’ identities and deaths, Amnesty International Nigeria’s Director, Isa Sanusi, issued a statement urging the Lagos authorities to conduct transparent coroner inquests and autopsies on the 103 EndSARS victims.
The organization demands that the government publicly disclose the identities of the deceased and the circumstances of their deaths.
Sanusi emphasized that the Nigerian authorities must desist from carrying out a secretive mass burial and instead prioritize a thorough and independent investigation into the killings.
Additionally, those suspected of being responsible for the deaths must face fair trials and be brought to justice.
Monitoring of #EndSARS Protests:
Amnesty International Nigeria has been closely monitoring the developments in Nigeria since the #EndSARS protests commenced on October 8, 2020.
According to their on-the-ground investigation, Nigerian security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters who were demanding good governance and an end to police brutality.
The tragic incident, which took place at Lekki toll gate and Alausa, resulted in the deaths of at least 12 protesters.
The organization found evidence that pro-government supporters played a role in instigating violence during the demonstrations, providing a pretext for the police to use lethal force against the peaceful protesters.
The Judicial Panel’s Findings:
On November 16, 2020, a Judicial Panel of Inquiry was established to investigate the killings at the Lekki toll gate.
In their report, the panel implicated both the military and the police in the deaths of unarmed protesters.
The victims were reportedly sitting on the floor, waving Nigerian flags, and singing when they were shot and killed.
Amnesty International Nigeria’s appeal to halt the mass burial of EndSARS victims underscores the need for transparency and accountability in addressing the tragic events that unfolded during the protests.
The call for a thorough investigation and access to justice for the victims and their families remains crucial to fostering a just and equitable society in Nigeria.