Nigeria #EndSARS protests: Protesters ‘shot dead’ in Lagos
A number of people taking part in a protest against police brutality have reportedly been shot dead or injured in Lagos.
Four witnesses told Reuters news agency that soldiers fired at the protesters who had gathered in the Lekki district of Nigeria’s largest city in defiance of an indefinite curfew imposed hours earlier by the authorities.
“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said.
Meanwhile, another witness, Inyene Akpan, 26, a photographer, said more than 20 soldiers arrived at the toll gate in Lekki and opened fire. He said he saw two people being shot. Akinbosola Ogunsanya, a third witness, also told Reuters he saw soldiers remove bodies.
Reacting to the shootings in Lagos, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the army “to stop killing young #EndSARS protesters”.
On the other side, the Nigerian footballer Odion Jude Ighalo, who plays for Manchester United, accused the Nigerian government of killing its own citizens. “I’m ashamed of this government,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.
Tens of thousands of people have been taking to the streets every day for nearly two weeks across Nigeria to demand an end to police violence.
The protests, organized under the #EndSARS hashtag, began with calls to scrap a notorious police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which has long been accused of extortion, torture, and extrajudicial killings.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu tweeted pictures of him visiting people in hospital who were victims of what he referred to as the “unfortunate shooting incident at Lekki”.
He said 25 people were being treated for mild to moderate injuries, two were receiving intensive care and three had been discharged.
“As the Governor of our state, I recognize the buck stops at my table and I will work with the FG (federal government) to get to the root of this unfortunate incident and stabilize all security operations to protect the lives of our residents,” Sanwo-Olu said, adding that he would give a state broadcast on Wednesday morning.
A spokesman for the Lagos state governor, Gboyega Akosile, also tweeted:
“There have been reports of shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza, following the 24-hour curfew imposed on Lagos State to stop criminals who hid under the #EndSARS protests to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.”
He also noted that the state government will open an investigation into the shooting.
A Nigerian army spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.