Nigeria is one of the countries where human right abuses are recorded daily and virtually in all human endeavors and these human right violation are mostly found in torture, extra- judicial killings by government security operatives, kidnapping, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention and extortion etc. The study reviewed relevant related literature and adopted social conflict theory by Karl Marx as it's theoretical framework while it's methods of research were primary and secondary data and it's adopted the mixed methods of quantitative and qualitative research approach, sample of hundred (100) respondents comprising member of twenty local government in Lagos State were drawn, five respondents from each local government. Quantitative data collected through questionnaire administration was analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequencies, percentages and chi-square. The paper formulated two hypothesis and found out first, democratic rule has failed to promote and protect the rights of individuals in Nigeria. Secondly, the inability of democratic rule to safeguard human rights portends danger for democratic sustainability in Nigeria. This focused particularly evidence in the violence that occurred in the country during the EndSARS protests led by youths to demand for protection of their rights. It’s also emphasized at the nature of human right violation in Nigeria and inferred that there were lot of loopholes in the contemporary observance of human right, most especially in the present euphoria of the nascent democracy. The researcher therefore, recommended that government should have policy of recruiting of members of Nigerian security agencies both locally and internally to make them active and professionally in discharging their duties of maintaining law and order in the society. Government should enlighten and educate young people and adults on the importance of democratic governance and respect for human rights and every hindrance or obstacle to educational, economic and cultural development should be removed. There should be existence for an adequate political will to ensure democratic governance and respect for human right. Also, government leaders should be knowledgeable, sensitive and pro-active to the issue of human right; knowledgeability can relatively guarantee citizen-oriented policy. they should also have respect for human dignity.

1.1 Background to the Study
Human rights have suffered a lot of violations beginning from the state of nature, through the colonial and military period (in some histories) down to the present democratic era (Osuji, George and Anselem, 2019). The state of nature is a stage of human history when there was no state or law to regulate or curtail human actions. This is a period that was accounted by social contract theorists to be characterized by wickedness, poverty, barbarism and brutality. Thomas Hobbes, one of the leading scholars of social contract theory in his gloomy view, accounted that human life in the state of nature has no value as human beings do whatever they like, kill whoever they can and take whatever they want. In the state of Nature ‘might is right’ and human right violations was never accounted for. For this reason, human life was nasty, solitary, meager and very short. Even though some of the social contract theorists like John Locke and J. J. Rousseau tried to give a somehow appealing account of human life in the state of nature, their submissions still showed that human rights were profusely abused during the period. Because of this, the need for a contract that resulted to the establishment of modern states and laws to regulate human actions became unavoidably necessary (Osuji et al. 2019).

The idea of modern state started in the ancient Greece, and subsequently extended all over Europe. Human rights even with the creation of modern states still face violations by the means of colonization of the African, Asian and Latin American countries by the European powers. Colonialism started in the 17th century following industrial revolution that occurred in Europe. This saw the need for the European economies to search for virgin and arable lands of Africa, Asia and Latin America, where they would market their finished goods and source raw materials for more productions (Osuji et al. 2019). Human rights in Africa, Nigeria particularly, were violated through the practice of indirect rule system of government, slave trade, racism, hard and forced labour and other inhuman acts. The imposition of European imperialism eroded traditional values and liberties fundamental to the people (Johnson and Salau, 2019). A major consequence of colonialism in Nigeria was the denial of political and economic rights of Nigerians. It was not until 1922 through the Clifford Constitution that limited franchise was introduced in the constitutional history of Nigeria by the British Colonial government. The struggle for better political participation by early Nigerian nationalists led to enhanced political rights in the pre-independence Constitutions culminating in the Littleton Constitution of 1954 (NHRC, 2006).

Nigeria’s independence in 1960 was a very big hope that human rights violation was going to be the things of the past, through indigenous rule. The Independence Constitution of 1960 and the Republican Constitution of 1963 have provisions for the protection of fundamental human rights catering for civil and political liberties (Johnson and Salau, 2019). This hope lasted between 1960 and 1965 as it was terminated following the eruption of Nigerian civil war in 1966-1970, which equally saw to the seizure of power by the Nigerian military. The intensity of human rights violations during the period of the Nigerian civil war and its attendant of military rule was nothing to talk about. The military through their decree and austerity measures ruled the country and benched human rights. Ugly experience like killing of innocent citizens, arrest and detentions of oppositions, coups and counter coups, empty promises, and all other forms of inhumanities, were perpetrated during the military dictatorial regime. Even when the military handed over power to the civilian in 1979, they still regained political power in 1983 claiming that the civilians were still incompetent to rule the country. The incessant interruptions of the first, second and third republics in Nigeria by the military all saw unfathomable human rights violations. During this period, the country had suffered military rapscallion, heinous attitudes like torture, killing, human rights abuses, corruption which landed it into pariah state status with even international sanctions.

The Nigerian military promise to hand over to civilians finally became a reality in 1998, and in 1999, Nigeria had its first election of the fourth republic. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (Rtd) was victorious in the 1999 Nigerian presidential election of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nigeria government was fashioned after the United States presidential system of government and was anchored on the principle of democracy. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was drafted in 1999, with a clear enshrinement of the fundamental human rights of her citizens. Nigeria successful election of a civilian president, its 1999 constitutional provision for human rights and its adoption of democracy in 1999 raised citizens’ hope that human rights and general development of the country was going to be assured. It was hoped by most Nigerians that the return to democratic rule was an awesome relief as they were expecting an emancipation from the manacles of unilateral rapscallions, tyrannical, heinous despotism that characterized the military junta in Nigeria in the past (Inokoba & Kumokor, 2011). Instead of this new hope to be realized, human rights in Nigeria continued to be as bad as they were in the previous years of colonialism and military regimes.

Generally speaking, there is a widespread notion among people including scholars and philosophers that democracy is the best system of administration. This to some extent connotes element of truth on the basis that it not only provides a participatory opportunity to all illegible citizens in the political process, It also guarantees some guidelines for good governance and the fundamental human rights of all law abiding citizens as a minimal standard. Several scholars have attempted to defined democracy; for instance, Diamond &Morlino, (2004) defined democracy as an arrangement for choosing and transferring governmental power through free and fair elections; People's active participation as citizens in politics and civic life; safeguarding the civil rights of all citizens; and the rule of law in which laws and regulations apply equally to all citizens. Democratic sustainability on the other hand is viewed as a controlled, reasonably high and stable level of democracy (Emmanuel, 2017). Jatau and Koprulu (2020) concurred with this definition as they argued that sustainability means the ability of a system to maintain its health and continues existence without seizure.

Before the transition to democracy in 1999, the country had been under firm military rule for twelve years since independence in 1960. Essentially, the militarisation of the Nigerian society and the supplanting of constitutional provisions by decrees of the successive ruling military juntas engendered a culture of what UNDP (2001) in its report called “executive lawlessness and human rights abuses” (Ojo, 2006). Not only were Nigerians denied their most basic political rights, their economic and social rights were also seriously truncated by the gross mismanagement and looting of state resources by the military. It would be recalled that at the political level, disrespect for the fundamental democratic rights of the Nigerian people reached its apogee with the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election by the regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. During the succeeding regime of Gen. Sani Abacha (1993-1998), the country was suspended from the Commonwealth in November 1995 for gross human rights’ abuses and consequently, the country attained the status of a “pariah state” in the international community (Ojo, 2006). Without gainsaying, the military is indeed antithetical to human rights safeguard and observance.

The military demands submission, democracy enjoins participation; one is a tool of violence, the other a means of consensus building for peaceful co-existence” (Ake, as cited in Ojo, 2006). However, democratic principles, which are supposed to be perfect instruments for human rights protection in any society seem to be lacking in Nigeria. Democracy is seen as a curse to human rights in Nigeria, because of how they are handled by Nigerian political elites. From 1999, there has been, selfishness, politics of identity, corruption, and greed of the political leadership as well as the politics of godfatherism. Political cannibalism increased with heavy assassinations like that of the one of a serving Minister of Justice Bola Ige, politically informed kidnappings, and money politics heightened to the detriment of the body polity with crippling effect to the economy which was already fragile with epileptic stagnation (Ozohu-Suleiman, 2016). Intolerance of opposing views, unilateral decision making and arbitrary rule were the order of the day from 1999 till date. The expectation of people that very high and there was so much confidence in this new system of government to bring about an end to untold hardship of the masses and unprecedented transformation in the lives of the people. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a mirage.

There has also been an increased authoritarian practice and human rights abuse that all are antithetical to democracy (Ochonu, 2005). Just three days after Nigeria and Nigerians were still basking in the euphoria of the Nations sixty years anniversary in 2020 as an independent nation, a report online about the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a special unit of the police force, killing a young man in Delta State and driving off with his vehicle led to massive protests across the country. SARS in Nigeria was established to address insecurity and crimes in the nation. Rather than achieve their stated objective, they began profiling and harassing young people which led to wrongful arrests, brutalization and loss of innocent lives. The EndSARS protest in October had been in the offing for long and in response to the recent deaths instigated by SARS officers, anti-SARS protests erupted across the nation and around the world. The protest went beyond the narrow confines of ending police brutality and metamorphoses into a full-scale cross-examination of the governance process with incisive questions being asked about the workings of the system.

These all together have constituted a grave impediment on the Nigerian democracy. The country’s democracy is twenty-one years now but minimum democratic standard of fairness, equity and justice, is not yet in sight. This study, therefore, is set to examine the impact of human rights abuses and protection of human rights in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, particularly the significant level of abuses committed by SARS with the attendant tendency to undermine the state’s attempt at sustaining her democracy by focusing on the EndSARS protest in 2020 against police brutality.

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