Statement of the Problem

Bloodshed that can be termed as extrajudicial killings occurred on October 20, 2020. At the Lekki toll gate in Lagos state, the Nigeria Army opened fire on a group of peaceful demonstrators. Following the Nigeria Police brutality on young people, demonstrators using the hashtag #EndSars evolved from a web outcry to a physical assembly. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force has been accused of using excessive force while doing their responsibilities. They have a bad reputation as a Nigerian police team that has been hunting Nigerian teenagers and exudes such a strong devotion to extortion, abuse, assault, and final killings of Nigerian youths.

The SARS unit has failed to provide a society free of kidnappings, armed robberies, and other terrible armed crimes. The SARS unit has failed to safeguard lives and property. As a result, they have often misused their position throughout the years, allowing Nigerian teenagers to protest the SARS unit’s existence.

Nigerian youths took to the streets to protest police brutality and killings (which began in Lagos state and eventually extended to other Nigerian states). After days of protesting, the federal government agreed to the demonstrators’ demands to disband the unit. When the federal government, represented by the Inspector General of Police, ordered the protests to stop, the protestors continued. This initiative did not sit well with Nigerian youths, who saw the new unit as a new adornment for an old devil. The demonstrators took the social movement to public places, including the Lagos state Toll Gate, as a result of this situation. The Nigerian Army fired live shots at the demonstrators on the night of October 20, 2020 at exactly 6:50 p.m., killing the armless protesters. According to theconversation.com (2020), the Nigeria Army killed at least 12 civilians by using firearms directly. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos state, initially denied any protester deaths, but after a week, he confirmed that two people were killed (Businessday, 2020). Peoplesgazette.com (2020) claims that.

According to peoplesgazette.com (2020), the Nigeria Army requested that the Nigeria police take ownership and register nine deceased bodies at the mortuary. The victims were thought to be from the Lekki Massacre, according to Nigerian authorities.

While the Nigerian Army has continued to deny the incident, eyewitnesses claim that the army opened fire on the peaceful protestors. The purpose of this study is to highlight, expound, and establish the legal position of the law on the subject of protest and the use of force during demonstration, both domestically and internationally.

Objective of the study

The primary purpose of this research is to clarify and expand on the legal position on protest and civil disobedience in relation to the extrajudicial executions at the Lekki toll gate.

Research Questions

  1. What is the legal position on the use of force during civil disobedience and protest?
  2. Is it legal in Nigeria to peacefully protest and empower citizens to do so?

Significance of the study

The purpose of this study is to inform the research audience on the laws that govern protests and peaceful demonstrations. It also aims to clarify the complexity of Nigeria’s laws on peaceful assembly and protest. It also seeks to reveal the vague nature of the Nigeria Law on the use of force during protest and porosity of laws guiding protest in Nigeria.

Scope and Limitation of the study

Although references to extrajudicial murders by the Nigerian Army are made, this study is limited to the Lekki Massacre. The laws examined in this study are limited to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the 1979 Public Order Act, the 1960 Criminal Procedure Code, Nigerian Police Force Order 237, Human Rights Committee Concluding Observations on Nigeria (2019), and the ACHPR Concluding Observations on Nigeria (2019). (2015)

Definition of terminologies

Massacre: indiscriminate and merciless killing of a large number of people.

A transgression is a breach or infraction of a law, right, or obligation. an infringement act

Human rights are moral concepts or conventions that describe specific standards of human behavior and are routinely protected under municipal and international law.

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