Amnesty: Credible Reports Protesters Shot Dead in Nigeria

October 20, 2020by Sam Olukoya, Associated Press
People hold banners as they demonstrate on the street to protest against police brutality, in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020. After 13 days of protests against police brutality, authorities have imposed a 24-hour curfew in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city as moves are made to stop growing violence. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Amnesty International said late Tuesday there was “credible but disturbing evidence” that security forces in the megacity of Lagos had fatally shot protesters who were demonstrating against police brutality despite a new curfew going 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.

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 Gov. 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 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.

“Lives and limbs have been lost as criminals and miscreants are now hiding under the umbrella of these protests to unleash mayhem on our state,” the governor said.

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

A curfew also went into effect in Benin City after a pair of attacks on correctional facilities that left 1,993 inmates missing. Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Manga said large, armed crowds had attacked the two prisons, subduing the guards on duty. It was unclear what the prisons’ exact populations had been before the attack.

“Most of the inmates held at the centers are convicted criminals serving terms for various criminal offenses, awaiting execution or standing trial for violent crimes,” he said in a statement.

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 #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.

___

Associated Press writers Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria, and Krista Larson in Freetown, Sierra Leone, contributed to this report.

Foreign Affairs

Meeks, Scott Make History As First African-Americans to Hold Respective Chairs
Congress
Meeks, Scott Make History As First African-Americans to Hold Respective Chairs
December 4, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - House Democrats made history on Thursday when the caucus voted to make Reps. Gregory Meeks, of New York, and David Scott, of Georgia, the first African-Americans to chair, respectively, the chamber's Foreign Affairs and Agriculture Committees. Meeks, who was the third-ranking member of the... Read More

‘Russia is a Predictable Power’ Says Federation Ambassador Antonov
Think Tanks
‘Russia is a Predictable Power’ Says Federation Ambassador Antonov
December 4, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — Since the end of the Cold War, the relationship between the United States and Russia has been complicated, often described more as competitive and conflicting than cooperative. Yet a new administration in the U.S. could bring a fresh opportunity to balance some elements of... Read More

US Intelligence Director Says China is Top Threat to America
Geopolitics
US Intelligence Director Says China is Top Threat to America

WASHINGTON (AP) — China poses the greatest threat to America and the rest of the free world since World War II, outgoing National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said Thursday as the Trump administration ramps up anti-Chinese rhetoric to pressure President-elect Joe Biden to be tough on... Read More

Resolution Supporting Three Seas Initiative Unanimously Passes House
Foreign Affairs
Resolution Supporting Three Seas Initiative Unanimously Passes House
November 24, 2020
by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON – Last week, a bipartisan resolution introduced by Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, supporting the Three Seas Initiative unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The Three Seas Initiative is a strategic partnership of twelve Central and Eastern European nations with the... Read More

Biden Looks to Rehire Diplomats, Others Fired by Trump to Rebuild State Department
Dep. of State
Biden Looks to Rehire Diplomats, Others Fired by Trump to Rebuild State Department

WASHINGTON — Five days after President Donald Trump took office, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, was summarily fired — the start of what was to become a purge of senior State Department officials and career professionals over nearly four years. Now Thomas-Greenfield is back, leading President-elect Joe Biden's State Department transition... Read More

EU Auditors: Antitrust Probes Too Slow to Curb Tech Giants
European Union
EU Auditors: Antitrust Probes Too Slow to Curb Tech Giants

LONDON (AP) — The EU's efforts to rein in the power of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook through antitrust investigations have taken too long, dulling their effectiveness, a report said Thursday. Legal tools available to the bloc's competition regulators, meanwhile, have not kept... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top