Police dispersing #RevolutionNow Protesters in Lagos. Twitter

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said it had petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva over police brutality of #RevolutionNow protesters and journalists on Monday.

The group made this known on Thursday in an open letter to the UN council and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

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SERAP asked the council to immediately convene a special session to probe the arrest of the convener of the protest, Omoyele Sowore and repression of the protesters, including journalists who covered the protest. It described the order as repressive.

The organisation said the rights situation in Nigeria had deteriorated drastically as the federal and state governments refused to obey court orders.

It also called on the council to ask Nigerian authorities to release unconditionally Sowore and all those detained in connection with the #RevolutionNow protests.

The letter read: “There are serious violations of the rights of Nigerians to liberty, personal security, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and media freedom and a special session is urgently needed to help stem the attack on human rights and contribute to UN efforts to prevent further abuses, including arbitrary detention and excessive use of force.

“We urge your delegation to actively support the holding of a special session of the Human Rights Council without delay and the adoption of a resolution that ensures meaningful attention to the situation with a view to stemming the abuses and ending impunity.

“The Human Rights Council cannot ignore persistent attacks on human rights and disregard for the rule of law in Nigeria.

“If the Human Rights Council does not assume its responsibility and give voice to the victims, it would exacerbate the impunity of perpetrators and continue to fuel further abuses.”

SERAP also asked the council to demand that Nigerian authorities cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteurs, by allowing them free access to the country to investigate all allegations of human rights violations against protesters, journalists, bloggers, and other Nigerians.

“The authorities have arbitrarily arrested Omoyele Sowore, the organiser of the #RevolutionNow protests and publisher of the online newspaper SaharaReporters.

“He is still currently detained by the Department of State Services. Several protesters and journalists continue to be targeted, including a former Politics Editor with Daily Trust, Ibrahim Dan-Halilu, who has been reportedly re-arrested,” the group said.