Nigeria's president blames 'hooliganism' for deaths of 51 civilians in unrest

25 Octobre, 2020, 17:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • People drive past burnt toll gates with anti police slogans sprayed across in Lagos Friday Oct. 23 2020

In the statement signed by the CBCN President and Catholic Bishop of Benin City, Edo State, Augustine Akubeze; and Camillus Umoh, the bishops said a simple threat analysis of the protests would have revealed certain predictable scenarios which a responsible government, committed to the fine principles of the freedoms enshrined in Nigeria's democracy, would have sought to control.

Speaking in a national address on Thursday night, Mr Buhari did not mention the shootings, instead warning protesters against "undermining national security and law and order".

Mr Abor said the president's speech had angered him. "We will always come to this ground, and we will always feel for those that are gone".

The group made the call following reports of harassment and killings of citizens by the military including at the Lekki Toll Gate area of Lagos last Tuesday. The looting and gunfire continued on Thursday.

The demonstrations began earlier this month with calls for the Nigerian government to shut down the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a police unit known as SARS.

Okechukwu Nwanguma with the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center said the president's comments, "devoid of sympathy", were worrying.

He said shielding those behind the shootings would only lead to abuses by the police and military. The leader, or oba, isn't popular with some Nigerians who see him as a product of the country's often corrupt politics. The squad was launched to fight crime, but it carried out torture and killings, according to Amnesty International.

The #EndSARS campaign spread across the country and Buhari's government announced that it would disband the SARS unit.

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A protestor, a politician and a resident react to Tuesday's shooting that took place during anti-police brutality demonstrations in Nigeria.

The new police order came even as a 24-hour curfew loosened for the first time Saturday in Lagos, a city of some 20 million where glittering wealth and grinding poverty are in sharp contrast, inflaming grievances over inequality and corruption.

The now-defunct unit of the police was accused of human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings, a development which the demonstrators say had been going on for years.

"Today seems like a good day to get on to the work of rebuilding Lagos and ending police brutality", Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said.

After touring the battered city the governor told reporters he was "very traumatised" and that "we lost people in several parts of the city". He didn't give details. "We need to heal ourselves".

And yet tensions remained high.

After questioning by police, the mourners were allowed to continue, to go on and bury the dead.

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