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‘Apply non-violent measures before use of force,’ SERAP counsels Buhari on shoot-at-sight order



The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to rescind his “shoot-at-sight” directive to security agents.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, had said in a chat with the Hausa Services of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Wednesday night that President Buhari had given specific orders to military commanders and heads of other security agents to shoot anyone seen with an AK-47 rifle and other sophisticated weapons.

However, in a statement issued by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP described the directive as a threat to acceptable law-enforcement approaches.

The civil society group stressed that the most effective way to address the killings, abductions and violence in Nigeria is to ensure full compliance with the country’s constitution and human rights law.

SERAP also expressed fears that the shoot-at-sight directive may be abused by law enforcement agents.

READ ALSO: Buhari orders security agents to shoot anyone in possession of AK-47 rifle, others

The statement read: “Nigerian authorities @NigeriaGov should rescind its shoot at sight orders to respond to the insecurity in the country. The most effective way to address the killings, abductions and violence is to ensure full compliance with the Nigerian Constitution and human rights law.

“If the authorities are truly committed to ending the killings and abductions, they should take meaningful measures to protect Nigerians; immediately identify, arrest, probe, and prosecute suspected perpetrators; and provide victims access to justice and effective remedies.

“The shoot-at-sight policy is a threat to human rights-based law-enforcement approaches, maybe abused and (may) exacerbate the impunity by law enforcement officials. Non-violent means should as far as possible be applied before resorting to the use of force and firearms.”

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