End SARS: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says world should ‘know all facts’ after alleged protest deaths | World News


Nigeria’s president has called on the international community “to know all facts” following widespread condemnation over the alleged deaths of anti-police brutality protesters.

Muhammadu Buhari, who failed to address a shooting of protesters that took place Tuesday, also called on protesters to stop demonstrating and engage with the government.

Mr Buhari also announced he had disbanded the controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS.

Earlier, National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, told reporters the president had directed all security agencies to operate within “the confines of legality” and “not to do anything that will aggravate the situation”.

“Mr President is very concerned about this development and does not want a situation in which everything breaks down and results in anarchy, in lawlessness and people taking the law into their own hands,” Mr Monguno added.

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 24, 2019 in New York City.
Image:
President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari (file pic)

It comes after at least 12 people were killed when government forces fired upon protesters during anti-police brutality demonstrations, according to Amnesty International.

Shots were fired at protesters by the Lekki toll plaza in Nigeria‘s commercial capital Lagos on Tuesday night, causing injuries and an unknown number of deaths.

Human rights group Amnesty said an investigation has uncovered evidence of 12 deaths and hundreds of injuries, and accused the police and military of using excessive force.

The protests began two weeks ago after a video circulated showing a man being beaten, apparently by police officers from SARS.

As the End SARS movement has spread across Nigeria over the past fortnight, at least 56 people have died – 38 of them on Tuesday alone, Amnesty claims.

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Nigerian forces ‘open fire on protesters’

Analysis: Leaderless End SARS movement may have unleashed forces it cannot control
by John Sparks, Africa
correspondent

Chidi Nwaonu, a security analyst at Peccavi Consulting, says the inability of the security services to manage the situation at Lekki – and foresee the immediate consequences – highlights their essential weakness in an unruly city of 15 million.

“If that city rises up there is nothing you can do. There are not enough soldiers in the entire army to police it. It is a chaotic mish mash of a place, an urban guerrilla’s dream. The security services need to get it together and find someone responsible for what happened at Lekki. If they don’t, this could fester and turn into a real insurgency.”

In the wake of violence and disorder in the country’s biggest city, the protestors also face significant challenges.

The demonstrations developed spontaneously, after the circulation of a video on social media showing a SARS officer allegedly shooting a man in Delta State and driving away. Under the hashtag #EndSARS, thousands of young people took to the streets as part of a movement that has been depicted as a “national awakening”.

The birth of this political movement may have been assisted by the fact that they were essentially leaderless.

“We had to do it this way,” says Lagos resident Hamilton. “We have coordinators in individual areas but we can’t have leaders or the federal government will come in and arrest them. It wouldn’t have worked.”

Without a proper leadership structure however, the central objectives advanced by the protestors risk being lost if the country descends into a period of social and political chaos.

Some, like Chidi Nwaonu, question whether #EndSARS has unleashed forces which it is unable to control.

“The issue here is not the middle class, urbane youth who were at Lekki with their music and their funny protest signs and all that. It is the poor, the disenfranchised working and non-working poor. There is a pool of angry and deeply frustrated people who have a genuine grievances to rally around, and this is a serious problem to contend with.”



Sky News