October 30, 2020
The Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland,
Commonwealth Secretariat Headquarters,
Dear Secretary-General Scotland,
Re: SARS – Federal Republic of Nigeria
We write on behalf of our very sizeable Nigerian diaspora communities, and the wider Commonwealth family in the Liverpool City Region.
The Liverpool Commonwealth Association (LCA) condemns the recent escalation of violence, leading to multiple loss of lives, in Nigeria related to the calls by young people for the abolition the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force. We join the Commonwealth Secretariat in extending our deepest condolences to the bereaved families and all those who have suffered during this difficult time.
We note the fact that the Nigerian Government has promised to disband SARS and provide wider police reforms. These are positive signs, and we call on the Nigeria Government to exercise restraint and cease all violent actions against its people who are exercising their rights to peaceful protest.
Being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Nigeria must demonstrate its commitment to equality and respect for the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Additionally, a recognition of the importance of young people in promoting development, peace, and democracy are cornerstones of the Commonwealth Charter.
The LCA calls up on the Commonwealth Secretariat to continue to exert diplomatic pressure on the Nigerian Government to ensure the satisfaction of the other human rights demands of the young people.
The demands, which were signed by ‘A Nigerian Youth’, demanded for the immediate release of all arrested during the protests as well as justice and compensation for all who died through police brutality in Nigeria.
They also demanded that an independent body be set up within 10 days to investigate and prosecute all reports of police misconduct. The protestors also asked for the psychological evaluation and retraining of SARS operatives before they are deployed to any other police unit. Lastly, they asked for adequate increase in the salaries for officers of the Nigerian police.
Garth O Dallas MBA, LLM, FRSA
Chairperson, on behalf of the Board of Trustees:
Councillor Vanessa Boateng
Dr Sylvia Forchap-Likambi