The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 And Beyond, a coalition of over 80 civil society organisations and organised labour led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has set up a seven-man independent panel of inquiry to probe the killings of Nigerians including security operatives and the destruction of properties following the deployment of security operatives in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.
Many Nigerians consider the outcry, which snowballed into looting and arson as symptomatic of the country’s gradual collapse of governance, large scale corruption and the lack of provision of the essentials of life for millions of long-suffering Nigerians, who are stifled under a corrupt and inept leadership.
The panel led by Chino Obiagwu (SAN), according to the coalition, is not to counter the panels set up by the tiers of government but to complement and enrich the democratic space.
ASCAB disclosed this on Monday in a statement jointly signed by its General and Publicity secretaries, Ade Atambi and Adewale Adeoye respectively.
The coalition said the panel, which has one month to complete its assignment, will be open to all Nigerians without restrictions, adding that the Nigerian people will own the process and the outcome of all findings will be made available to all stakeholders including the federal and state authorities.
Other members of the panel are Affiong Affiong (Secretary), Prof Adenike Ogushe and Mr Y.Z Yau, former President, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, Mr Malachy Ugwumadu and two representatives of the youth, Miss Fatima Umar and Mr Olumide Ogele.
The statement reads, “The independent inquiry is not to counter the panels set up by the tiers of government but to complement and enrich the democratic space. It is a challenge to those already set up by the government to ensure a transparent approach to all enquiries and to put first the public interests.
“Since Section 24 (e) of the constitution has imposed a duty on every citizen to ‘render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order,’ the report of our investigation will be made available to the relevant law enforcement authorities with a view to prosecuting indicted suspects in the appropriate courts.”
It noted that if any of the Attorneys-General does not accede to ASCAB requests to prosecute indicted suspects, the report of the investigation would form the basis of the application for the right of private prosecution under the applicable Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
“Without prejudice to the prosecution of indicted suspects, we shall approach the high court in each state where citizens were killed with a view to securing the enforcement of the fundamental right of the deceased to life in accordance with Paragraph (e) of the Preamble to the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009 which states that ‘human rights activists, advocates, or groups as well as any non-governmental organisations, may institute human rights application on behalf of any potential applicant,'” ASCAB added.