International outrage grows following the killing of peaceful protesters in Nigeria
Nigeria’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was officially disbanded on 11 October. The Nigerian government pledged to investigate acts of police brutality and human rights violations. But state-sanctioned violence continues. Youth-led protests against police brutality and impunity have been taking place across Nigeria and beyond since 8 October.
Lekki toll gate massacre
On 20 October, national police chief Mohammed Adamu ordered the deployment of riot police, and imposed an indefinite 24-hour curfew in Lagos and other urban centres across Nigeria.
That evening, the Nigerian army opened fire on a crowd of peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate, Lagos, according to Amnesty International. The human rights group stated that they received “credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters.” According to Amnesty and eyewitnesses, at least 12 protesters were killed, and hundreds were injured during protests in Lekki and Alausa in Lagos. The Nigerian army has denied deploying soldiers to shoot at protestors.
Eyewitnesses report that prior to the shootings, government officials removed CCTV cameras and cut electricity at Lekki toll gate. In his statement, Lagos governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu refers to the tragedy as an “unfortunate shooting incident”. He denies any prior knowledge that the shootings would take place. President Muhammadu Buhari is due to address the nation on 22 October at 7pm, 48 hours after the tragedy took place.
"The event that happened at 7PM came as a total shock to me and those around me. The instructions were that the police shouldn't be out until 10/11 PM. I can't explain who gave orders to the military." –@JideSanwoOlu on the military's intervention on #BlackTuesday. #EndSARS pic.twitter.com/9AEqXexWdc
— ARISE News Feed (@ARISEtv) October 22, 2020
International outrage grows
Protesters, journalists, and organisations took to social media and shared videos of peaceful protestors singing Nigeria’s national anthem with the sound of gunshots in the background. And an image of the Nigerian flag covered with blood has now gone viral. The tragedy is being referred to as the ‘Lekki genocide’ across social media.
For the social media influencers that agree to get paid to lie and protect the government, may joy be taken from your personal lives. May you never know peace. May failure be your portion constantly. May your lives be miserable. #LekkiGenocide #endsars #ENDBADGOVERNANCE pic.twitter.com/CNVYrTKoAV
— Asogwa Alexandra (@Alex_unusual1) October 22, 2020
Outrage and condemnation from the international community is growing. UN secretary-general António Guterres has called for an end to police brutality in Nigeria, while UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet has acknowledged that “root and branch” reform of the security sector is necessary.
Prominent figures including US presidential candidate Joe Biden, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab and the archbishop of Canterbury have urged Nigeria’s government to end the brutality, and a Change.org petition is circulating for the president to be charged before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Celebrities, including Beyonce, Rihanna, and Anthony Joshua have sent messages of support for the movement.
Protests demanding accountability and structural reform have continued across Nigeria, South Africa, the UK, the US and beyond.
Featured image via Tobi Oshinnaike/Unsplash.
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.
Leave a ReplyYou must be logged in to leave a comment.Join the conversation
Please read our comment moderation policy here.