The organisers of the #NorthIsBleeding Movement and protest occasioned by the incessant killings in Northern Nigeria have started mobilising lawyers to defend protesters against arrests, detention, intimidation and harassment.
The movement last week began online and street protests in Northern Nigeria to express their displeasure with rising insecurity in the North and the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to tackle it.
The protesters said they were fed up and could no longer stand idle as their people were being slaughtered by bandits.
The movement described the gruesome killing of at least 23 travellers in a bus in Sokoto State as an indication of a failed state.
However, on Sunday, human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu, in a Facebook post, urged lawyers interested in defending the #NorthIsBleeding protesters from intimidation by security operatives to notify by sending a mail to an email provided.
She said, “First thing first, there is a need to have lawyers on ground that can swing into action to defend the rights of citizens that DSS (Department of State Services) and police will try to intimidate.
“If you are a lawyer and would like to join a team of lawyers across the 19 Northern States that will be on hand to represent citizens pro bono, please send an email to no*************@gm***.com. Let’s have the state you will be operating from.
“Abba Hikima is on board and has his firm willing to stand for citizens in Kano. We need all the 19 Northern states covered.
“NB: For the sake of clarification, you do not have to be a Northern lawyer to volunteer. All that is needed is your ability to represent anyone in these States so if a person is taken away by DSS you will be on hand to represent the person.”
Already, Nigeria’s secret police, DSS has interrogated Zainab Naseer Ahmed, the Co-convener of the #SaveTheNorth and #NoMoreBloodshed protest.
One of the organisers of #SaveTheNorth protest in Abuja last week, Zainab Ahmed, popularly known as Bint Hijazi, told SaharaReporters on Saturday that another member of the movement, Ibrahim Birniwa, had also been invited by the secret police in Kano.
The northern protests appear to be toeing the path of #EndSARS protest held in the South in October 2020 to demand an end to police brutality and the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit notorious for extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.
Some lawyers also made themselves available during the protest to defend #EndSARS protesters arrested and detained.
SaharaReporters, New York