Wednesday, June 16, 2021

U.S. Congressmen propose #EndSARS resolution for 117th Congress

“It is imperative that we maintain solidarity with peaceful protesters in Nigeria demanding justice and meaningful security reform.”

• March 17, 2021

Two U.S congressmen, Al Green and Joaquin Castro have declared the re-introduction of the #EndSARS resolution for the 117th Congress which they termed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

This was disclosed on Tuesday in a statement issued by both congressmen who say their move to ensure passage of the act into law, is in solidarity with the peaceful #EndSARS protesters and the victims of police brutality in the country which happened after demonstrations took place in the U.S. over the brutal killing of George Floyd by the U.S police, tagged #BlackLivesMatter.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed in a deadly arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while on October 3, 2020 a video surfaced online showing a man in Nigerian being robbed and killed by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

This horrific act by the SARS officers, amongst many others preceding that, sparked historic nationwide demonstrations against decades of police excesses. 

The protest which lasted for about two weeks was forcibly quelled by security agents as they stormed the protest ground at the Lekki Tollgate, firing at protesters who were singing the national anthem and waving the Nigerian flag in the evening of October, 20, 2020. 

Non-state actors were also unleashed on peaceful protesters across other parts of the country.

Five months after this killing spree by the security agents, justice is yet to be served. Many judicial panels set up in the aftermath of the protests have been largely ineffective. A few of them have intermittently award peasant amount to petitioners as compensation but major indictment has been secured against errant state forces.

In the statement, Congressman Al Green said: “As we continue to work toward this goal in the United States, awaiting the Senate passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, it is imperative that we maintain solidarity with peaceful protesters in Nigeria demanding justice, accountability, and meaningful security reform from their government.”

Mr. Al Green further added that: “This is in part why I and Congressman Joaquin Castro have re-introduced our resolution in support of the #EndSARS movement in Nigeria. We understand the importance of sending a strong message that the ongoing events in Nigeria are of international concern, because Black lives matter, wherever they may be in the world.”

On his part, Joaquin Castro, who is the lead original co-sponsor of the resolution stated: “Last year, Nigerians came together to protest police violence, and like here in the United States, are still demanding justice. I’m proud to co-lead this resolution as a statement of support for the people of Nigeria who are standing up against these injustices. As I said before, human rights abuses, including extra Judicial executions of peaceful protesters, must be independently investigated and held accountable.”

Apart from other representatives co-sponsoring the proposed resolution, the move has received strong backing from reputable global human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and PEN America.

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