Topic: ENDSARS Movement in Nigeria and Police Reform in Africa and Asia
Date: Thursday 26th November 2020
Time: GMT 10am (WAT 11am, SA: 12pm, EAT 1PM, IST 3:30 PM
Police reform in Nigeria has been a winding journey since independence. It is instructive to note that the ENDSARS protests took place during the year when the Nigeria Police Force Act 2020 was signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari. The truth is that police reform has been slow and uncoordinated, lacks political will and unable to meet with the yearnings and aspirations of young Nigerians who have borne the brunt of the excesses of some officers and men of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Police brutality in Nigeria has been subject of discourse and has continued to elicit concern among local and international human rights groups, media and the general public especially in the last decade. We have noted increase in the use of torture by security agents in Nigeria generally. This is largely attributed to the lack of capacity for criminal investigations, the historical antecedent of the police being used as agents of oppression, the arbitrary use of force, lack of effective internal and external accountability mechanisms as well as lack of public confidence in the police and other security agents.
The defunct SARS of the Nigeria Police Force has been noted as a major perpetrator of human rights violations specifically extra judicial killings, extortion, harassment, torture and other human rights abuses before and during the pandemic. The public clamor against the detestable activities of the SARS operatives led to the ‘ENDSARS’
campaign, a national call to disband the unit which gained public support nationwide through the use of social media. The protests were precipitated by years of brutality and professional misconduct by operatives of this particular police unit who have for too long derailed from the core mandates of their establishment and have become threats to the citizens which they are obliged to protect by the general mandate of the police under the Nigerian Constitution and other extant laws.
This clamor by young Nigerians led to the disbandment of the SARS on the 11th of October 2020 and the setup of a new tactical unit called Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT). However, while disbanding SARS is a step in the right direction, a lot more is required for sustained reform. In addition, the establishment of SWAT did not follow an inclusive process thereby prompting the call for the disbandment of the unit by ENDSARS protesters.
Police Reform and Good Governance in Nigeria
The Federal Government in the past had established several presidential committees to pilot major police reform programs which have proffered several recommendations. These include the Muhammad Danmadami Presidential Committee on Police Reform 2006; M.D Yusufu Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Nigeria Police Force 2008; Parry Osayande Presidential Committee on the Reform on the Reform of the Nigeria Police Force 2012 and the Anthony Ojukwu Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force 2018. In addition, in 2012, the CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria coordinated the Civil Society Organizations Panel on Police Reforms which made several recommendations on effective and human rights centered policing in Nigeria. There has not been any noticeable adoption and implementation of these recommendations except those captured in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015; Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015; Anti-Torture Act 2017; the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act 2019 and Nigeria Police Force Act of 2020 largely driven by CSOs and other episodic changes championed by different Inspector Generals of Police. The existence of these laws notwithstanding, the problem of police brutality and extra-judicial killings continued unabated.
There has been deep neglect and lack of political will on the part of the Government to implement different recommendations to reform all of or at least aspects of our policing system. For instance, Anthony Ojukwu panel on SARS reform 2018 proffered recommendations to improve the accountability of SARS and law enforcement
officials in Nigeria amongst which are the dismissal of 37 police officers and prosecution of 24 officers found guilty of human rights violation, compensation of various sums of money in 45 complaints, tendering of public apologies in five complaints and obedience to court orders in five complaints, the creation of state police and renaming of SARS which will operate under the intelligence arm of Police. Despite efforts to reform the Nigeria Police Force, the institution continues to curry for itself an image of coercion, fear and an institution largely known for gross violations of fundamental human rights. Therefore, it is obvious that police reform goes beyond cosmetic changes. There is a need for deep rooted reform based on the principles of democratic policing.
Police reform in Nigeria has been compounded by internal and external challenges confronting both the Nigerian State and the police force. It also clearly shows that the hood does not make the monk. Enactment of laws are yet to bring desired changes in the performances of the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force. This is because the fortunes of the police and that of Nigeria are inseparable. The Nigeria Police Force cannot effectively reform without the enthronement of good governance in Nigeria.
Police Reform in Africa and Asia
Several countries in Africa and Asia are also grappling with issues of the reform of the police and other security agencies. How these reforms have impacts on the rights of citizens depends on different factors. The Webinar is aimed at looking at developments in Africa and Asia and how the experience in Nigeria may impact other countries going through security sector reforms. Panelists will be drawn from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and India to discuss police reform using developments in Nigeria as a springboard.
Moderator: Ruth Olofin, Programme Manager CLEEN Foundation
Dr Vineet Kapoor is an Indian Police Service officer specialising in governance and justice sector training and research. He has a PHD in Human Rights Training and the Organisational Culture of the Police. Vineet has been a British Chevening Human Rights fellow at the University of Essex and Visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and at the University of Virginia USA. He is associated with research, policy and practice based organisations involved in governance and law enforcement reforms. He has served in the UN peacekeeping missions on various capacities.
Thato Masiangoako is a researcher at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) which is a non-profit human rights organisation that works with communities, social movements, individuals and other non-profit organisations to develop and implement strategies to challenge inequality and realise socio-economic rights. SERI works in the thematic areas of “Securing a Home”, “Making a Living” and “Expanding Political Space”. As researcher, Thato’s work focuses on the misuse of the criminal justice system, and issues of police brutality and police accountability. Thato is also a participant in the Anti-Repression Working Group of the C-19 People’s Coalition.
AIG Austin I. Iwar, rtd served the Nigeria Police for 33years before retiring in 2018. He served in various strategic and operational capacities including DC Federal Operations, Head of Security and Police at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2014, Principal Staff Officer to two IGPs. He was one of 7 officers trained in Community Policing and became Head of Community Policing for five years. He also served as Commissioner of Police for Gombe, Kaduna and Bayelsa States respectively. Since his retirement he has been involved in Security Sector Reforms and currently Senior Police Advisor to Security Capacity Group, USA and a senior consultant with British Council’s Rule of Law and Anticorruption (RoLAC) project.
Dr. Wangui Kimari has been the participatory action research coordinator at Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) since 2014. The Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) is an initiative by young members of the community to promote social justice in Mathare. For years Mathare has been a place where much violence has been allowed to go on without any redress for its residents. These forms of violence include, but are not limited to, land grabbing, forced evictions, police abuse and extrajudicial killings, political impunity and other economic, social and psychological violations. In view of this ongoing situation, a collective of young community activists in Mathare came together in 2014 to envision a centre that would promote more participatory forms of justice. Dr. Wangui was part of the social justice movement that organized the 7th July 2020 peaceful protest agitating for the end to police brutality and extra judicial killings under the banner : #sabasabaMarchfoOurLives. She is also an urban anthropologist with experience conducting research on urban issues broadly, including youth, security, basic services and urban planning, and most recently at the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town.
Non-Violent Protests: The Significance of Gandhi in Contemporary Times
Topic: Non-Violent Protests: The Significance of Gandhi in Contemporary Times
Date: 20th August 2020.
Time: GMT 10am (WAT 11am, SA: 12pm, EAT 1PM, IST 3:30 PM
Tata Institute of Social Sciences in association with The Afro-Asian Association for Justice Development (AAAJD) is hosting a webinar on the ‘Significance of Gandhi in Contemporary Times’.
M.K. Gandhi, a lawyer who later joined the
Indian independence struggle against British rule, and became one of its most
influential leaders. He demonstrated the power of civil disobedience and
nonviolent action to the entire world. Throughout his public-political career,
Gandhi developed a theory of nonviolent resistance that sought to transform the
adversary through truth and soul-force. His ideas on resistance have been a
catalyst to many political and social movements. Gandhi was also a thought
leader in terms of proposing fundamental restructuring of institution of
governance, distribution of resources on one hand, and radical reconfiguring
social relations, on the other. In addition, he inspired a generation of leaders
and activists like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Gandhi wove his
own approach by comparing and dialoguing with thinkers across the world,
including modern figures like Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, and John
Is Gandhi relevant today? Are Gandhian political thinking and practices pertinent
in an apparently divided, and perhaps more violent world? How do Gandhian ideas address the enormous
material and social inequality that confront global democracies and its
institutions? What is the place of Gandhian ideas of welfare in the current
market societies that has further marginalised asset and capability less individuals/social
In this context, the webinar seeks to raise and discuss a few critical issues
Democracy: How do we situate Gandhi’s thought and
practice in contemporary times when the ideological conditions for
institutionalising democracy are far greater than ever before, while the material
and social conditions may restrict the full realisation of the idea.
State and Citizens: Could Gandhian ideas and moral politics help to renew the social contract between the state and citizens, especially to resolve and mitigate the social tension and societal cleavages caused by issues like the extradition bill (Hong Kong), Black Lives Matters (USA, Nigeria), CAA and NRC (India), etc.?
Compassion: Compassion is often a critical factor in mediating between individuals and groups to retain social cohesion in the society. Is there a need to incorporate the ideas of forgiveness and compassion in the existing frameworks of justice, as have been applied in the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions?With the help of these overlapping themes,
the webinar seeks to engage with the Gandhian thoughts and possibly kickstart a
wider discussion on an intellectual framework for building a just social order.
With the help of these overlapping themes, the webinar seeks to engage with the Gandhian thoughts and possibly kickstart a wider discussion on an intellectual framework for building a just social order.
Prof Aseem Prakesh, Chairperson School of Governance and Public Policy, TISS India
Dr. Rajeev Kadambi, Associate Professor of Ethics, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University
Hugo van der Merwe is Director of Research, Knowledge and Learning at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Since joining CSVR in 1997, he has initiated and managed numerous research, advocacy and intervention projects relating to transitional justice, reconciliation and peace building in South Africa and the African continent. Hugo is the Co-Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Transitional Justice (Oxford University Press). Among his publications are: Advocating Transitional Justice in Africa: The Role of Civil Society (2018), Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Did the TRC Deliver? (2008), and Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice (1993). Hugo received his doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University (1999).
Abiodun Baiyewu is a seasoned human rights and governance expert, whose work focuses on addressing governance failures that exacerbate the disenfranchisement and the violations of the rights of the poor and marginalized, women and victims of discrimination. Currently, she serves as Executive Director at Global Rights, overseeing programs on Access to Remedies, Women’s Rights, Equitable Resource Governance, Civic Space Strengthening, and Security and Human Rights. Abiodun is co-Chair of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability, Chair, Justice Empowerment Initiative, and a member of the boards of Annies’ Place, Srarina Initiative, Workforce, and, Initiative for Participation and Inclusive Development.
Dr Francis E.A. Owakah is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Nairobi where he teaches Philosophy (since 1992), specializing in Practical Philosophy and Human Rights. He is currently the Co-coordinator, Human Rights Program at the Centre for Human Rights and Peace (CHRP), University of Nairobi. Dr Owakah helped in setting up Philosophy Programs at Dar es Salaam University and in particular setting up of the PhD program at the Universidade Pedagogica, Mozambique where he has supervise pioneering Ph.D. students to completion. He has visited many local and international universities and institutions. His areas of research include; Logic and society; history and politics of human rights; development theory and human rights; African Philosophy; Moral Theory among others. He has published numerous articles in refereed journals and as book chapters. He is Africa Editor of Journal of Global Ethics (JGE), Executive Editor, Nairobi Journal of Human Rights, and Associate Editor, Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya (PAK), besides sitting on many an editorial boards of local and international Journals.
SURVEILLANCE AND THE PROTECTION OF PRIVACY IN
THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC
TOPIC: SURVEILLANCE AND THE PROTECTION OF PRIVACY IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC
DATE: 9 JULY 2020
TIME: GMT: 10am (WAT: 11am; SA: 12pm; EAT 1pm; IST: 3:30pm)
In the current context of the global Covid19 pandemic, the issue of
surveillance is particularly relevant as governments scramble to adopt
emergency legislation to curb the spread of the virus. These measures confer
extraordinary powers on the executive. One potential consequence of this is a
lack of judicial and legislative review and a sidestepping of due process. The
task of ensuring the right to digital privacy in the face of a public health
crisisis increasingly complex, and the role of privacy watchdogs and
regulatory bodies will be accordingly crucial in this time.
Of particular concern is the widespread rollout of Covid-19 tracking and
tracing initiatives, and their implications in terms of human rights and
accountability. The surveillance of cell phone data under the new emergency
regulations has raised alarms about the encroachment on freedoms and individual
digital privacy rights that this kind of widespread, normalised mass
surveillance engenders, and prompted concerns that the authorities – granted
extraordinary powers under the temporary disaster regulations – may be
reluctant to relinquish once the outbreak is over.
The key question is, therefore, does – or rather, should – a public health crisis justify the suspension of civil liberties, and are these restrictions likely to be reversed once the crisis is eased, or resolved? Historical experience suggests this is seldom the case.
The normalisation of health surveillance poses some interesting
questions in relation to emerging technologies. One is the use of thermal
scanners, which have been widely adopted in a range of public spaces in many
In the context of the work-from-home measures imposed by governments,
civil rights defenders have raised concerns about privacy protection for
employees who are monitored by surveillance software installed by their
Another factor to consider in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic is
the implication of the mandated wearing of face masks in public spaces for
facial recognition software, whose algorithms may need to be adapted or risk
providing inaccurate information if they are not equipped with occlusion
Lastly, the increased prevalence of the processing of biometric data for
the purposes of health screening, particularly for international travel, is a
distinct possibility and clarity is needed on the usage, processing and storage
of DNA data in extraordinary circumstances under the disaster regulations.
To avoid sidestepping of judicial and legislative due process, all
measures and technologies introduced or employed in the context of the pandemic
response should include the following safeguards to be compliant with fundamental
human rights: testing for necessity and proportionality; instituting
independent oversight; ensuring openness and transparency; sunsetting; and
limiting data collection, access and use.
To this end, the AAAJD proposes to hold a webinar to enable
an exchange of lessons learned and experiences in safeguarding the digital
right to privacy in the face of a COVID-19 outbreak.
OBJECTIVES OF THE DISCUSSION:
- Share and discuss current and
potential future impacts of COVID-19 on the digital right to privacy.
- Discuss ongoing and emerging
challenges and highlight the support needed for the countries to help overcome
Melissa Cawthra – Project and Research Officer,
African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (South Africa)
Victor is a human rights lawyer. He also supports advocacy and has authored or edited several publications on various aspects where human rights intersect with technology including internet freedom, privacy and cybersecurity. He is an ICJ Kenya member and is the Managing Partner at Lawmark Partners LLP. He also contributes to the annual CIPESA State of Internet Freedom in Africa research. Victor is a member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), where he serves in its Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Committee, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya), the Internet Society (ISOC), and Youth Alive Kenya (YAK), where he serves as the Vice-chairperson of the Board. He is an alumnus of the University of Nairobi School of Law (LL.B and LL.M), Strathmore Business School and the Kenya Institute of Management.
Adeboye is Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative. He leads the organisation’s Digital Rights Programs in Africa, which include advocating for rights-respecting digital policies in Africa through policy interventions, stakeholder engagements, capacity building, strategic litigations, coalition building, and media campaigns. He also led advocacy for the passage of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by Nigeria’s parliament. Mr. Adeboye is an Alumni of the African School on Internet Governance. He has written several articles and authored many reports such as the Digital Rights in Africa report and Digital Rights and Provacy in Nigeria. Adeboye has strong legislative engagement and policy influencing experience, having worked and influenced many legislations and policies in Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
Ashwani Kumar is a senior policy researcher and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). He is the author of “Community Warriors” (London: Anthem Press), one of the chief editors of “Global Civil Society: Poverty and Activism” at London School of Economics, and co-editor of “Power Shifts and Global Governance Challenges”(London: Anthem Press). He has served as a member of the Central Employment Guarantee Council (Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India) and undertaken rapid evaluation of MGNREGA in more than 30 districts across twenty states of India. He has also handled some of the major policy reforms projects like ‘Inclusive Elections and Domestic Migration’ for Election Commission of India. He is a visiting fellow at leading global universities and think tanks; including London School of Economics, German Development Institute, Korea Development Institute, University of Sussex and North West University (South Africa). His articles and reviews have appeared in The Hindu, Financial Express, The Print, Scroll, Business Standard, The Times of India, Indian Express and Open Democracy, among others. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Oklahoma. You can follow Ashwani on Instagram via @ashwanitiss.
Murray Hunter is a communications consultant and digital rights activist in South Africa, and worked previously at the Right2Know Campaign and Open Secrets. He conducts research on communications surveillance for the Media Policy and Democracy Project, a research collaboration between academics at the University of Johannesburg and Unisa.