Activists Larry Emmanuel and Victor Anene Udoka have been unlawfully detained since April 5th. They were physically assaulted and tortured by unidentified men on April 5th while peacefully protesting corruption and distributing posters that were perceived to be critical of the President. The incident was captured in a video that went viral on Twitter. On April 8th, they were turned over to the police, secretly arraigned at a Magistrate Court, and subsequently transferred to the Nigeria Correctional Centre in Kogi State, where they are currently being held. It is unclear what their charges are as judicial staff in Nigeria are on strike and information about their charges has not been made public. The two activists are being detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to protest and expressing their views. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Please ask the Governor of Kogi State to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Larry Emmanuel and Victor Anene Udoka.
- Pending their release, ensure that they are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment and have regular and unfettered access to their family and a lawyer of their choice.
Alhaji Yahaya Bello
Governor of Kogi State
c/of Ministry of Information & Communications
Room 311, New State
Kogi State, Nigeria
Saluation: Dear Governor
His Excellency Adeyinka Olatokunbo Asekun
High Commissioner for Nigeria
295 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1R9
Fax: 613 236 0529
Phone: 613 236 0521 or 613 236 0523
In Nigeria, the right to freedom of expression has come under attack. The younger generation of Nigerians have activated the power of peaceful protests in demanding justice for police brutality, extortion and extra-judicial executions while authorities continue to respond with violence. Civil rights activists, human rights defenders, and civil society are now left with few alternatives channels of expression to demand accountability from the government. Those who attempt to exercise their right to freely protest on the street face arrest, detention, torture and trumped-up charges.
The past few months have witnessed a crackdown on peaceful protesters across the country under the #EndSARS movement. In October 2020, at least 12 people were killed, and several others injured at Lekki toll gate and Alausa when security forces opened fire on the EndSARS protesters. Instead of bringing suspected perpetrators to justice and prioritizing genuine police reforms, the Nigerian authorities have been abusing their powers by subjecting those who supported the protests to intimidation, harassment and smear campaigns. The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), and human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
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