International celebrities, politicians, activists in an open letter sponsored in the New York Times to mark the International Human Right Day on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to release protesters jailed for taking part in the country’s recent mass anti-police brutality protests tagged #EndSARS.
The letter headlined – Dear PRESIDENT BUHARI, NIGERIANS DESERVE BETTER signed by Angelique Kidjo, Alicia Keys, Jidenna, Kerry Washington, Greta Thunberg, among others, demanded an independent investigation into the killing of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20.
Other signatories to the open letter include actors Kerry Washington, Riz Ahmed, Mark Ruffalo and Yvonee Orji; musicians Angélique Kidjo, Jidenna and Cynthia Erivo; politicians Ilhan Omar and Jamaal Bowman; and activists Dr. Bernice King and Rev. William Barber. Other demands include an immediate return of confiscated international passports and government-issued identity cards and also to unfreeze bank accounts of #EndSars supporters.
President Buhari you must follow the lead of your people. We urge you to heed the call not only for the rights enshrined in the United Nations International Declaration of Human Rights but also those rights enshrined in the very Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the publication added. The letter was organised by Diaspora Rising, a media and advocacy organisation that was founded by the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Opal Tometi.
The letter further stated that “As signatories of this public letter, we express our dismay and outrage at your administration’s violent response to the peaceful #EndSARS protests taking place across Nigeria in October,” the letter says.
“For the first time in recent memory, the world witnessed Nigerians from all walks of life, ethnicities, religions, gender identities, sexual orientations and socioeconomic classes, come together to make known the collective needs of the people. Yet their peaceful requests were met with state-sanctioned violence and suppression, as your administration meted out unwarranted force against its own unarmed citizens.” The letter partly reads.
“As people who have supported the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and throughout the diaspora, we cannot be silent when similar atrocities take place in African countries,” the letter continues. “We demand respect for the Nigerian people, especially as they engage in their constitutional right to protest grave injustices.” it stated.
Source: Ripples Nigeria