Peaceful Protesters in Nigeria Killed During Police Brutality Protests Amnesty Reports

Worthyann Charles

Amnesty International reported at least 56 of protesters in Nigeria are reported killed by police and soldiers after protesting against Police brutality, including 38 on Oct. 21. The Large peaceful demonstration at first, has become a challenge for the government. The #EndSARS protest began amid calls for Nigeria’s government to close the police special Anti-Robbery squad, known as SARS, but has become a much wider demand or better governance in Nigeria. In spite of the ongoing violence, the Nigerian protesters defied a curfew and faced off with security forces On Oct. 22 as gunfire shots were fired and fires burning in Lagos, a day after shots were fired into a crowd of demonstrators singing the country’s national anthem.

The security forces had opened fire without warning on the protesters On Tuesday night,Oct.22 at the lekki toll plaza toll plaza, Amnesty said in its reports, citing the witnesses, video footage and the hospital reports.

“Opening fire on peaceful protesters is a blatant violation of people’s rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Soldiers clearly had one intention – to kill without consequences,” said Osai Ojigho, country director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

Amnesty says in its reports they received that before the shootings, a CCTV security camera at the lekki gates showed protesters being camped for two weeks were removed by government officials and electricity was cut to prevent evidence emerging of the violence.

Some of those killed and injured at the toll plaza and in Alausa, another Lagos neighborhood,and some were taken away by the military, Amnesty alleged in the report.“These shootings clearly amount to extrajudicial executions. There must be an immediate investigation and suspected perpetrators must be held accountable through fair trials,” said Ojigho.

Amnesty’s report backs up posts and images on social media that have shown a widespread of violence against protesters.

In spite of global outrage, Nigeria’s military denied responsibility for the Lekki shootings, posting a tweet that labeled several reports as being fake news.

people protesting against police brutality

More gunfire rang out across Lagos on Wednesday and into the night, including at the Lekki toll plaza, where young demonstrators rallied again despite an order for everyone to stay off the streets. At the sound of the shots, some protesters were seen on a live broadcast by The Associated Press running away, though it wasn’t clear if the crowd was fired upon.

“People are aggrieved over the deaths. They are aggrieved by police violence and they are going out on the streets to show their anger,” said Lagos resident Michael Oladapo Abiodun, who said he has supported protesters on social media.

Demonstrations of these protests have also been taking place in several other Nigerian cities

In response to the #EndSARS movement, the government announced it would disband the unit, which Amnesty International says has been responsible for many cases of the torture and killings.

That has failed to satisfy the protesters, who demand more widespread reforms to end human rights abuses committed by security forces and pervasive government corruption.

President Muhammadu Buhari — who has said little about the protests engulfing his country — did not mention the Lekki shootings in a statement Wednesday but issued a call for calm and vowed police reforms.
Buhari’s statement said the dissolution of the SARS unit “is the first step in a set of reform policies that will deliver a police system accountable to the Nigerian people.”