Civil Society Organisations, CSO, weekend, reacted to a recent judgment delivered on the murder of George Floyd, by a police officer, Derek Chauvin, urged the judiciary in Nigeria to be independent and fearless in giving verdicts.
Speaking with Vanguard, they also threw weight behind on the ongoing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, for judicial and financial autonomy that strengthens the judicial process as hope for the common man. According to them, the strike should continue until a significant shift is achieved because the ruling elites are too comfortable and insensitive. Judgment depicts justice for all colours — Global Rights The Country Director, Global Rights Nigeria, Abiodun Baiyewu, said,
“The judgment against Officer Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case depicts justice. “The world has for long groaned under the burden of inequity in various forms. Racism is one of its manifestations. While the verdict against Chauvin does not end inequities and racism, it is a step in the right direction. It is a clear attempt to respect the rule of law.” On what CSOs should do on getting justice for brutalised and oppressed Nigerians, Baiyewu said, “CSOs in Nigeria must borrow a leaf from their American counterparts and be persistent in their quest for justice. “The wheels of justice may grind slowly, but it certainly grinds. We will eventually tear down the framework that engenders impunity for extrajudicial killings in Nigeria.” Speaking on the JUSUN strike that has lasted for about two weeks, she said, “We will remain hopeful about the JUNSUN strike. We cannot continue to compromise on their independence if we must have a just country. “We will continue to strive for justice for everyday Nigerians. There will be hope for as long as we don’t give up.
The reason Americans can celebrate today is that they never gave up. Case after case – from Diallo to Floyd, they held on to hope. We must never lose hope even on Nigeria’s darkest days.”
Judgment should make African-Americans strictly negotiate for justice, equality – CDNDC
The Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said, “With the option of an appeal, I think the first Floyd-Verdict should automatically lessen tensions across cities in the US and be a temporary reprieve for the black communities that justice can be done. “However, the more profound issues fueling this concern and leading to intense agitation by Black Lives Matter and other groups must be addressed. It is not a one-sided affair of Police excesses or Racism. “Still, black leaders must now, in concrete terms, begin to address issues of broken communities and families and access to opportunities and addressing inequalities.
“The biggest task, however, is for the blacks to band together, form an expanded association, get their own political party – strictly to negotiate for justice, equality, infrastructure, opportunities and refuse to be exploited by Democrats and Republicans parties. “Organising for Justice and using a one-course-of-action to trigger reform or address growing injustice in Nigeria is a strategy we can learn from the BLM and other social movements in the US over George Floyd’s death. Hopefully, victims of Police brutality and state abuses will get justice, while the agitation leads to significant reform and shift. Meanwhile, in his view about the JUSUN, he said, “The JUSUN strike should continue until a significant shift is achieved because the ruling elites in Nigeria are too comfortable and insensitive living in their cocoon. “We need financial autonomy at the subnational for the other arms of government, the Legislative and the judicial arms and the governors should be prevailed upon to do it. He added that “There is hope for the common man in Nigeria to continue to fight for social justice and good governance.”
Great day for all lovers of justice — OLF The Founder and President, One Love Foundation, OLF, Patriot Patrick Eholor, said, “That judgment day was a great day for all lovers of justice. It is a reminder of how the system works outside of Nigeria and Africa. Cases are not easily swept under the carpet no matter your place or class in society. “One of the lessons I have learned is to never give up on activism. Despite a raging pandemic, people of all races, colours, and creeds took to the streets. Those who didn’t march came up with action plans on Zoom. “White people listened to their friends of colour in ways they never listened before. They didn’t want to be a part of the problem anymore. That took courage. “But more importantly we — especially Black people — learned the importance of self-care. Black people have always collectively marched for freedom in the face of rising doom, gloom, and utter despair.
“If only white people could see us, we lamented. In this year and in this moment, Black people began to collectively see themselves without any thought of the white gaze. We demanded that we not work alone. “Our allies had no choice but to fight for our humanity with us. We also knew when we had too much. “And when we did, we turned off the television, we stopped doom scrolling, we took warm baths, we shut it down. And when we stopped talking, we were still heard. That is new. “We also can be proud that we kept our foot on the gas and didn’t let up,” said Ebony White an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Drexel University’s counseling and family therapy department. “Yes the correct verdict was handed down but the violent policing in Black communities and against Black people continues. “After this verdict, we need to take a collective exhale and allow ourselves to properly breathe. But after we celebrate we must rejuvenate and keep working.
“In reference to #ENDSARS, you could see consistency in all front; people didn’t tag it with ethnic or religious coloration. That has always been our problem as a nation.
Oh No! My brother is the President or Vice President – let’s not make his government ungovernable and all of that. This is a serious threat to activism and social justice. “I have said it repeatedly that I will continue to say it, we must sanitize the three arms of government by allowing competency and qualifications instead of playing ethnic and religious cards. We can’t achieve anything if we continue this way. It is affecting every arm of government and nothing serious can be achieved through such arrangement.”
To CSOs he said, “One of the lessons I have learned is to never give up on activism. Despite a raging pandemic, people of all races, colours, and creeds took to the streets. “I see no reason why we have delayed so much but somebody has also pointed out that the governors actually wanted a situation whereby they will be in total control of the other two arms of government and that is why Nigerians have not been getting good governance. “Both at the judicial and parliamentary levels, these governors when they come in, want to control the State House of Assembly, determine who becomes the Speaker and fail to give them that particular independence they require in order to checkmate what goes on at the Executive. You see, that’s why I said, we need a total reform of the three arms of government.”
Judgment instrument and iconic — CN
The judgment on George Floyd’s murder is a welcomed development in the sense that those who commit extra judicious killing on the line of duty will be held accountable. In Minnesota, such crimes against black people have not been punished, and this is the first time such a sentence has been handed down in Minnesota. “It is a very instrumental and iconic one, especially for the black community who has faced such extra judicious killings in the hands of the men in blue. “Again if you look at it here, Nigeria has been the epicenter of extra judicious killings either by the police or military. So it sends the right direction. “Looking at the Civil rights movement here just we have seen in America through the Black Lives Matter, BLM, and other civil rights movements in the US that have pushed hard for reforms, and we in Nigeria should learn from our American counterparts and do same here.
“The EndSARS campaign should transcend the entire judiciary that has been constituted that it should deal more on reforms for seeking justice for victims like we always say justice is a three-way traffic-justice for the victim, society and even for the accused. “For us, we believe that we in this part of the world is that this is what civil society should look at whereby justice is done.” On the outcome of JUSUN strike, he said, “It is a shame that even judicial workers can go on strike because the challenges we are facing are not one-directional but multi-directional and everyone is a victim. “This is also a wake-up call on the judiciary should stop being lackeys behind the executive. They must ensure the right thing is done whether from election petition and when elections are rigged it affects the judiciary. I am not sure the judiciary is the hope of the common man. We must always support the judiciary.”