Amnesty International Nigeria said that it had “received credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria.
The identities of the those who have reportedly died are still hazy at the moment.
Reports confirmed that the police fired live bullets to forcefully disperse protesters who defied curfew as the protest gets violent.
Curfews are being imposed beyond the city of Lagos as anti-riot officers struggle to quell violence.
The protesters show little sign of slowing down as they ventilate their grievances against a unit of the Nigerian police force called SARS (the Special Anti-Robbery Squad),
SARS was established in 1992 to tackle robbery, kidnappings and other violent crime, but has been widely criticised for human rights abuses including torture, extortion and extrajudicial killings.
A number of people are reported to have been shot at a protest in Lekki, a Lagos suburb.
— General Valery (@GeneralValery) October 20, 2020
A 24-hour curfew planned for Lagos was delayed to allow commuters to return home.
Curfews are also being imposed in other parts of the country.
Reports indicate that violence brews across the nation, compelling states like Jos and Ekiti to impose curfew later on Tuesday, October 20, other things being equal.
Edo state in the southern part of the country imposed a curfew earlier, after two police stations were attacked, cars burnt and police equipment stolen.
Earlier, Nigeria’s chief of police, Mohammed Adamu ordered the nationwide deployment of riot officers to try to end two weeks protest that degenerates into violence and robberies.
The protests started with the youth asking the president to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars).
Protesters claim Sars is excessively corrupt, arresting, torturing, illegal detentions, extorting and killing innocent citizens without check.
There were plenty testimonies from victims of Sars’ high handedness and brutality against the people. People take stand to testify on protest grounds across the nation.
President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved Sars on October 11 but protesters did not back down but asked for more reforms of the police unit.
Lagos state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said that criminals have hijacked the protests “to unleash mayhem”.
He tweeted that he “watched with shock how what began as a peaceful #EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the wellbeing of our society. Imposing this curfew was difficult, especially as we have just returned from a Covid-19 required lockdown. This curfew will allow security officials to immediately restore order to the state, arrest thugs and miscreants that have disrupted the peace”.
The protest started on 8 October after a video that allegedly showed SARS officers shooting a man in Nigeria’s Delta State was widely shared on social media.
Celebrities, including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, actor John Boyega, Tyler Perry, and footballer Marcus Rashford, condemned brutality and corruption in Nigeria as the demonstrations gained global prominence.