The Enugu State Police Command has denied a coalition of civil society groups access to their venue for #EndSARS Memorial in the state.
The Chairman of Enugu State Network for Civil Society Organisations and also Regional Coordinator for Action Group of Free Civic Space, Comrade Emmanuel Acha, has confirmed this to The PUNCH on Wednesday morning.
Acha, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said the CSOs had booked Centre for Memories, located at No 2 Awgu Street Independence Layout Enugu to hold a symposium to mark the #EndSARS anniversary.
He said, “Unfortunately, when we came to the center this morning to put one or two things together before 10 am we scheduled for the event, the owner of the center told us we can’t make use of the place again. That he was threatened by the police to seal the center if they allowed us to hold the event.”
While lamenting that the government of Nigeria is shrinking the civic space against the Nigerian people, Acha said that all attempt to get another center in the state capital for the event is proving abortive but insisted that the program must hold as planned.
“As we speak all the centers we have called for this program all have told us that the police and the Enugu State Government have warned not to allow us to hold the event in their centers or they will risk being closed down,” Acha said.
Acha, however, explained that they were not planning to protest but to stay in a place and have a conversation on issues around the #EndSARS protest.
According to him, “we invited a member of the Enugu State ENDSARS Panel on Police Brutality to speak to us on the activities of the panel as regards to the petitions submitted to them on police brutality and extrajudicial killings since October 2020.”
In a flyer circulated for the event, titled ‘End Police Brutality’ the coalition unequivocally stated that, “civil society and youths reject entirely any cover-up by Enugu Judicial #EndSARS Panels.”
He said, “We Condemn denial of rights to a hearing and fair hearing to victims. We will reject any Judicial panel report without the names of all petitioners in the record books. We will reject any Judicial panel’s report without hearing from the witnesses.
“We will reject any Judicial panel’s work not in conformity with terms of reference. We will reject any Judicial Panel’s report without investigation. We reject extortion of victims and we demand an investigation into the use of the panel’s fund.
“We reject any ENDSARS/Admin Panel’s report without the involvement of CSOs & NHRC.
“We stand and demand justice for all victims. we demand opportunities for hearing and a fair hearing for all victims. We demand prosecution of perpetrators of brutality and extrajudicial killings.”
Meanwhile, efforts to get the police to reaction were unsuccessful as the State Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe, could not be reached at the time of filing this report as his phone was said to be switched off.