Nigerian forces accused of killing anti-police brutality protesters


Nigeria-Unrest
On October 20, 2020, a patrol car of the Lagos State Security Drive through Nigerian protesters on October 20, 2020, after an open bandh was declared in Lagos to protest against enthusiastic demonstrations by the authorities.

Benson IBEABUCHI / AFP / Getty


Lagos, Nigeria – Amnesty International said late Tuesday that there was “credible but disturbing evidence” that security forces in Lagos’s security had shot down demonstrators who were demonstrating against police brutality despite a new curfew. Senior state officials in Lagos denied any fatal incident.

Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday insisted that no fatal incident was reported from a shooting in the wealthy Lagos suburb of Lekki. He admitted that the shooting took place during a protest on Tuesday, calling it “the darkest hour in our history as a people”. The governor said that 30 people were injured in the shooting.

Lagos State Governor Babzaid Sanwo-Olu visited the injured in a hospital in Lagos
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu meets people at a hospital in Lagos, Nigeria on October 21, 2020, who was injured during a protest against police brutality the previous evening.

Olaniran / Lagos State Government / Handout via Reuters


Lagos State Commissioner for Information Gabenga Omotoso said in a statement on Tuesday night that “there have been reports of a shooting at the Leaky Toll Plaza following a 24-hour curfew imposed on Lagos.”

“The state government has ordered an inquiry into the incident,” he said.

The protesters told BBC News that uniformed men opened fire on them in the wealthy Lekki suburb of Lagos on Tuesday evening. BBC Nigeria correspondent Naini Jones said armed soldiers were seen barricading the protest site before the alleged shooting.

An unnamed protestor told BBC News, “The soldiers pulled over … and they started firing directly at us, peaceful protesters.” “They were firing and they were attacking us directly. It was anarchy. Someone sneaked right next to me and died on the spot … It was an epidemic and they just kept looking at us and Shooting continued. It lasted for about an hour. And one and a half soldiers were actually picking up the bodies. ”

A protestor painted 'And Sir' during a protest demanding police reform in Lagos
A protester paints the “End SARS” on October 20, 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria, citing a special Anti-Robbery Squad police unit on a street protesting against the demand for police reform.

SEUN SANNI / REUTERS


“While we continue to investigate the murders, Amnesty International wants to remind authorities that under international law, security forces may resort to the use of deadly force when strictly unavoidable to protect against serious danger of death or serious injury. Ho, ”Amnesty tweeted.

Witnesses told local media on Wednesday that a dozen people may have been killed during the previous evening’s unrest, but earlier reports suggested two or three fatalities.

Hours after the Lekki incident, Governor Sanwo-Olu warned on Twitter that the growing protest against police brutality in Nigeria “has demoralized a monster that is a threat to the well-being of our society.”

A police statement also warned that security forces would now “exercise full powers of law to prevent any other attempts at the lives and property of citizens.”

Claims of deadly shootings in Lekki came after two chaotic weeks of mounting protests leading to more widespread social unrest. On Tuesday, officials said about 2,000 inmates had broken out of the jail after attacking two correctional facilities a day earlier.

The alleged violence by police forces on Tuesday triggered scrutiny from US politicians, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who called on the Nigerian leader to “stop the violent demolition”.

The Inspector General of Police said it is deploying anti-riot police in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, and has ordered forces to strengthen security around correctional facilities.

Lagos State Governor said that the new curfew would cover around 14 million people and the entire city of surrounding areas. The announcement came after a police station in the city was set ablaze and two people were shot dead by the police.

The governor said, “Criminals and miscreants have been lost because the miscreants are now hiding under the umbrella of these protests.

Lagos has been the center of protests, with protesters at times blocking access to the airport and barricading the roads leading to the country’s main ports.

A curfew was also implemented in Benin City following a pair of attacks on corrective facilities that left 1,993 prisoners missing. Mohammed Manga, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the armed mob attacked two jails, putting guards on duty. It was not clear what the exact population of the prisons was before the attack.

“Most of the prisoners kept at the centers are convicted of convictions for various criminal offenses awaiting execution or execution,” he said in a statement.

The protests began two weeks ago when a video showed a man being beaten, apparently shown by police officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS.

Young protesters marched in cities across Nigeria under the banner of #EndSARS. In response, the government announced that it would ban the anti-robbery squad, which over the years has been blamed for widespread abuses, including atrocities and murders on human rights groups.

The protesters have not been satisfied with the disbandment of the SARS unit and are demanding the abolition of human rights and respect for all parts of the police force. The protests have led to traffic stops in Lagos, the capital city of Abuja, a country of 196 million people and several other major cities in Nigeria.

Protests continued on Tuesday in several cities, including the capital city of Abuja, where troops have been deployed.

With reports of guards’ deaths at the hands of the police, unrest in Nigeria has begun to attract more international attention. Former US Vice President Joe Biden, now Democratic nominee, challenges President Donald Trump Election on 3 NovemberIssued a statement on Tuesday urging Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and his military forces to “stop violent action on protesters in Nigeria, which has already led to many deaths.”

“The United States should stand with Nigerians who are demonstrating peacefully for police reform and seeking to end corruption in their democracy. I want the government to address these long-standing grievances and together Encourage us to engage in good faith dialogue with civil society to work. ” More just and inclusive Nigeria, ”Biden said in a statement released by his campaign.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who lost her election bid in 2016 against Mr. Trump Said in a tweetMeanwhile, Buhari and his forces should “stop killing young # protesters.”

Neither President Trump nor Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about the violence on Wednesday morning, but the US Embassy on Tuesday posted a message to US citizens in Nigeria that “many demonstrations are continuing” in the country.

“Although most of the demonstrations are peaceful, some people have turned violent and closed major bridges and bridges. Some police stations have been targeted,” the message said, adding that Americans in Lagos The Consulate General will remain closed at least through Wednesday and urge the Americans. To avoid opposition.

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