Police promoted officer accused of torturing somebody to loss of life — Aisha Yesufu
Activist, Aisha Yesufu, on this interview revealed on Vaguardngr.com, speaks on the clampdown on #EndSARS protesters, saying Nigerians shouldn’t be silent within the face of what she describes as intimidation of younger individuals by authorities.
She additionally shares her perspective on ongoing inquiry into the actions of the disbanded Particular Anti-Theft Squad, SARS, the end result of which she believes can be a nullity as long as President Muhammadu Buhari fails to represent Nationwide Human Rights Fee Governing Council.
What do you make of the clampdown on #EndSARS protesters?
The arrests simply confirmed how insincere Nigerian authorities is. Think about the President’s countenance on digital camera when Lagos State governor introduced the five-point demand to him.
Protesters have been killed earlier than, throughout and after the protests, however there is no such thing as a sincerity on the a part of authorities. Their motion says extra. Many individuals nonetheless ask why the protesters remained on the streets when authorities stated they’d accepted their calls for. However I must remind them that the Nigerian authorities lies. There’s nothing this authorities says that’s reliable.
In 2017, SARS was disbanded. In 2018, 2019, and 2020, the outfit was disbanded. It reveals that authorities has by no means been honest concerning SARS. In 2018, the President arrange a panel to look into the allegations of human rights abuses and police brutality. In 2019, they introduced out their findings and reported to the President.
The President stated inside months, authorities was going to implement the suggestions. It’s 17 months after the report was given to him and nothing has been accomplished. When #EndSARS protesters stayed on the streets, they knew that this authorities is at all times saying one factor and doing one other factor.
Amid all these, protesters have been those who confirmed management. Sure, they didn’t have the normal kind of management we’re used to, however they displayed organisational expertise which is management. On October 11, 2020, the Inspector Normal of Police, IGP, stated he had disbanded SARS. On the identical day, the #EndSARS protesters introduced out their 5 calls for. On October 19, they defined how authorities can implement the calls for as a result of they knew authorities was not displaying management apart from mere rhetoric and blaming the protesters.
Because the arrests of protesters and people termed promoters have continued, what do you make of the state of affairs?
As a substitute of implementing the calls for of #EndSARS, authorities is arresting and profiling them. They’re going after them and seizing their passports. The accounts of lots of them have been blocked lengthy earlier than any court docket injunction. They went so far as going to their homes to choose them. Some have been picked for simply being in a WhatsApp group. That is the persecution that is occurring.
The youths demanded of their presentation to the Nationwide Human Rights Fee, NHRC, to have Governing Council as a result of, with out Governing Council, the legality of all these panels arrange will probably be questioned. Of what use is it for individuals to undergo pains of testifying, relieving their pains and the horror they went by means of within the fingers of SARS and individuals are indicted however, on the finish of the day, nothing would come out of it simply because the legality of the panel is in query.
Additionally they requested that those that have been indicted by the primary panel to be prosecuted. There are cops and SARS members who’ve been indicted however they haven’t been prosecuted. One among them allegedly tortured Hassan Alfa to loss of life in 2014 in Kano. He has been promoted and he’s in Abuja. There’s a systemic abuse that the Nigerian authorities doesn’t need to handle. As a substitute, authorities is actively supportive of the abuse.
Right this moment, now we have seen what the Police meant once they inform you they are going to kill you and nothing will occur. “I’ll waste you and nothing will occur,” is their frequent phrase. Certainly, nothing will occur as a result of the individuals who got here out and cried to their authorities are being killed underneath the duvet of darkness. What occurred? The absence of sincerity of goal on the facet of presidency was the rationale youths determined to proceed the protest within the face of assaults.
On the roads
EndSARS protesters have been on the roads as a result of they have been being killed. Even when authorities stated they have been assembly their calls for, thugs have been delivered to assault protesters. They used police to assault protesters. Additionally they used the navy to assault protesters. Thugs have been carried round in Abuja in autos belonging to safety businesses.
In Lagos, they attacked protesters at Alausa. A number of the protesters have been capable of get the attackers and handed them over to the Police, however they refused to arrest them as a result of they really supervised them. After all, as I stated earlier, authorities lacks the sincerity of goal and the protesters needed to see motion and never mere rhetoric. As I converse at present, there has not been any motion from authorities.
Threatening younger Nigerians
We should always all name on authorities to cease threatening younger Nigerians. Authorities goes after younger Nigerians who stated they needed the appropriate to dwell. Why the risk from authorities? Why are Nigerian residents holding quiet? When issues are occurring to different individuals, they give the impression of being the opposite manner as a result of they suppose they won’t be victims. Certainly, they are going to be victims. In 2015, members of the Shi’ite group have been killed by the military, Nigerians appeared the opposite manner and the Police nonetheless kill them.
Indigenous Folks of Biafra, IPoB, members have persistently been killed by the Police and navy, Nigerians look the opposite manner. Now, it’s #EndSARS protesters which can be being persecuted by the Police and the navy, Nigerians are wanting the opposite manner. They are going to come after each certainly one of us as a result of after we do nothing, we’re emboldening them to proceed to behave in that brazen method.
Nigerian authorities has no enterprise persecuting residents who did the appropriate factor by popping out to make a requirement in peaceable manners. The terrorists who’re killing us, who assault the Nigerian states, are being given amnesty and state pardon. They’re being fed, catered for and brought to authorities homes, however residents who got here out to peacefully say these are our calls for, are those being killed. I believe each Nigerian citizen must be sick and uninterested in that.
Panels of inquiry
I stated earlier that the legality is being questioned because the Nationwide Human Rights Fee, NHRC, doesn’t have a governing council for 5 years. When will Nigerian journalists ask Buhari why so many issues usually are not occurring? The journalists shouldn’t have entry to the President. Why are we permitting this to occur in a democracy?
These are among the issues journalists must ask about. Why is it that we shouldn’t have a governing council on the Nationwide Human Rights Fee for 5 years? Different panels have been arrange and nothing has occurred. Who’s in charge of the Police and the navy? We noticed what occurred when the panel needed to verify the navy morgue on the Navy Hospital in Lagos. They have been denied entry. It’s one thing to fret about.
What do you make of threats of additional protests and IGP’s order to the Police to make use of authorized power?
Completely, we the older generations are cowards. After we have been threatened, we ran away and that’s the reason we’re having the issue we’re having at present. When individuals have been popping out to protest, what did authorities do? They started to assault them, persecute them, kill them and everybody will hold quiet as if nothing occurred.
That’s the reason the issue continued. Authorities can not mess up with this technology. They should perceive that. They’re calling them coconut head technology and they aren’t giving up, regardless of the assaults on them. For me, they’ve the appropriate to protest. Authorities doesn’t have the appropriate to arrest them. The Inspector-Normal of Police must be ashamed of himself. He sat down in his workplace whereas his males have been being killed in Borno. He didn’t give an order to his squad to go to Sambisa Forest or the place Shekau is and arrest him. On the difficulty of peaceable protesters, he was telling his males to shoot them. Is that what the structure requested him to do? There’s a distinction between rioters and protesters. We should cease blaming the victims somewhat than the perpetrators. Safety brokers haven’t any enterprise capturing at peaceable protesters. What they need to be doing is to guard them. Recall that Buhari’s working mate, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, died on account of police brutality.
They went to Kano the place they have been teargassed by the Police and that was what led to Okadigbo’s loss of life. Buhari has not realized from that have. Up till now, I’ve not seen him honour the late Okadigbo, who was with him on the rally. Right this moment, he’s in energy because the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He’s sending policemen and the navy to brutalise protesters, and destroy their properties. Who does that? The disruption of the #EndSARS protests was began by the Police.
On October 10, 2020, when the Police have been capturing at us, they used knives to chop and destroy our tyres.
These are youths authorities didn’t present livelihood for and youths they didn’t give a nation that they are often happy with. They’re solely combating that they need to be allowed to dwell. As older residents of Nigeria, we must always cowl our faces as a result of now we have actually failed the youths of this nation. And now that they’re being killed, as a substitute of us to face up, individuals are blaming them for protesting.
Are you not afraid that something can occur to them?
Why ought to one thing occur to them? Why ought to authorities arrest them? Folks must be outraged and never afraid. Folks must be calling out authorities. This silence is why these items are occurring. Are they not residents of Nigeria?
Did the structure not enable for protest? Why are we not calling on authorities to cease arresting peaceable protesters? Why is authorities not arresting Boko Haram, bandits and kidnappers? Why are they not arresting killer herdsmen? Why are they arresting peaceable and harmless protesters? Nigerians suppose nothing will occur to them as a result of they pray. They forgot that the final sufferer additionally prayed.
I at all times inform those that yesterday’s victims have been as soon as survivors. Right this moment’s victims have been yesterday survivors, and tomorrow’s sufferer will probably be at present’s survivor. The query is: Who’s subsequent? Being a sufferer in Nigeria is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
The following household that police will kill their baby will come out and begin crying as a result of they didn’t know it may well occur to them. The #EndSARS protesters are popping out to protest in order that different households is not going to really feel the pains. The general public who’re protesting have been as soon as victims. Within the phrases of Lawrence Osborne, this #EndSARS protest is a protest for survival.
It’s not a protest of empathy that we used to have. As a substitute of being afraid that one thing will occur to them, they need to be a part of them in calling out authorities to do the needful in order that we gained’t have police brutality and we is not going to have one other household similar to the daddy of the 20-year-old that was killed in Port-Harcourt. They don’t need different households to undergo that. It’s not that they don’t have work to do as some individuals insinuate. Most of them are enterprise house owners, some are entrepreneurs, some have labored within the system that didn’t work and have been capable of carve a distinct segment for themselves. They don’t seem to be hungry individuals.
You seek advice from the #EndSARS protesters as “they” and never “we”. Are you not a part of them?
I’m an enormous supporter nevertheless it was accomplished by the youths. They organised it. The great thing about it’s that I don’t need it to be taken away from them. Within the early days of the protest, I refused to speak to journalists about its as a result of the youths personal it.
I began speaking about it once I noticed that authorities was making an attempt to alter the narrative. I’m an enormous supporter of #EndSARS protesters however I wasn’t one of many organisers. I went out on October 8, 2020, to affix the protest and once they have been being attacked by the Police, Oby Esekwesili, I and Maureen went to see the Police to ask why they have been attacking peaceable protesters.
On October 10, I used to be there and got here to the entrance when the Police needed to assault them, telling them to shoot me first. For me, they actually made Nigeria proud and so they actually confirmed they’re leaders by means of their organisation. Their logistics have been superb. I want I had such in my group and we should give them the credit score.
Message to youths
I’m happy with them. Authorities has the entire power however the youths have the know-how, intelligence, and social media. They need to use it strategically. They need to be certain that they aren’t cowards. They need to be certain that they ‘Soro Soke,” stand and hold transferring as a result of the best energy of the oppressor is the thoughts of the oppressed. And they need to not give their minds to the oppressor now we have in energy in Nigeria.
Authorities ought to start to behave the way in which authorities must be. The first duty of presidency is to guard lives and property. And any authorities that can’t shield the lives and property of its citizen just isn’t match to be a authorities. Authorities ought to know that they owe the residents the appropriate to guard them and they need to additionally know that the youths usually are not the enemy. These bandits and terrorists utilizing arms in opposition to Nigeria are the enemies.
They need to cease attacking the youths and in addition know that no one infiltrated #EndSARS, it’s the thugs that have been introduced in by authorities that attacked# EndSARS. They need to know that weaponising illiteracy and poverty just isn’t factor. They should cease. The media must be outraged.
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