A number of activists, politicians and celebrities connected with the Black Lives Matter movement have written to Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, demanding justice for those allegedly attacked by police and who were jailed for taking part in protests against military and police brutality in October.
A co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Opal Tometi, was joined by singer Alicia Keys, actress Kerry Washington, climate activist Greta Thunberg and 62 others in signing an open letter calling for the ban on peaceful demonstrations to be lifted to “allow Nigerians exercise their constitutional right to protest.”
The letter asked Buhari to release jailed protesters and journalists and to return confiscated passports and government IDs and to unfreeze bank accounts.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, your people sought to bring peace and justice to their land, and they made Africa and its diaspora proud in doing so,” read the letter, which was published as an advertisement in The New York Times on Thursday to coincide with International Human Rights Day.
“Yet their peaceful requests were met with state-sanctioned violence and suppression, as your administration meted out unwarranted force against its own citizens.”
In October, waves of “#ENDSARS” protesters took to the streets in cities and towns across Nigeria, calling for the disbandment of the country’s controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and an end to police brutality.
The SARS unit was set up in 1992 to fight armed robbery and was given wide-ranging powers.
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