recentnews

News at the moment

WORLD

Nigeria sees further unrest as soldiers ‘shoot dead police brutality protestors’ in Lagos



The latest headlines in your inbox twice a day Monday – Friday plus breaking news updates

Soldiers have reportedly shot dead Nigerians protesting against police brutality in Lagos.

Amnesty International said late Tuesday there was “credible but disturbing evidence” that security forces in the Lekki district of Lagos had fatally shot protesters who were demonstrating as a new 24 hour curfew came into effect.

The Lagos state commissioner for information, Gbenga Omotoso, said in a statement Tuesday night only that “there have been reports of shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza following the 24-hour curfew imposed on Lagos.”

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

Authorities declared an open-ended lockdown in Lagos in the face of spiralling protests (AFP via Getty Images)

Video shown on Nigeria’s Channels Television appeared to capture audio of live rounds being fired at the scene.

“While we continue to investigate the killings, Amnesty International wishes to remind the authorities that under international law, security forces may only resort to the use of lethal force when strictly unavoidable to protect against imminent threat of death or serious injury,” Amnesty tweeted.

The development came just hours after Lagos state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu warned on Twitter that the growing protests against police brutality in Nigeria had “degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society.”

A police statement also had warned that security forces would now “exercise the full powers of the law to prevent any further attempt on lives and property of citizens.”

The protests began two weeks ago (AFP via Getty Images)

The reports of fatal shootings in Lekki come after two chaotic weeks of mounting protests leading to more widespread social unrest. On Tuesday, authorities said nearly 2,000 inmates had broken out of jail after crowds attacked two correctional facilities a day earlier.

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

The governor of Lagos state said the new curfew would cover the entire city of some 14 million people and surrounding areas. The announcement came after a police station was burned down in the city and two people were shot dead by police.

Protesters raise hands in salute to the national anthem during a demonstration (AFP via Getty Images)

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

Young protesters marched in cities across Nigeria, under the banner (hash)EndSARS. In response, the government announced it would ban the anti-robbery squad, which for several years human rights groups have blamed for widespread abuses, including torture and killings.

The demonstrators have not been satisfied with the disbandment of the SARS unit and are demanding an end to abuses and respect for human rights in all parts of the police force. The protests have stopped traffic in Lagos, the capital Abuja and many other large cities in Nigeria, a country of 196 million people.

Protests continued Tuesday in many cities including Abuja the capital, where troops have been deployed.

With additional reporting by Associated Press.

More about:

|

Nigeria

|

Lagos

|

SARS

|

Amnesty International