At least 56 people have died across Nigeria since the start of the #EndSARS protests against police brutality on October 8, with 38 of them killed on Tuesday alone largely due to the government’s crackdown, the human rights group, Amnesty International, said.
Casualties include protesters, security officials and thugs who were allegedly hired by the authorities to confront the protesters, the organisation said on Wednesday.
Hundreds more were badly injured, the group said.
“In many cases, the security forces had used excessive force in an attempt to control or stop the protests,” Ms Ojigho noted, adding that the shootings in Lekki were aided by officials dismantling the CCTV in the area “to cover murder.”
“Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports confirm that between 6:45 pm and 9:00 pm on Tuesday 20 October, the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality,” Amnesty said.
“Witnesses at the Lekki protest grounds told Amnesty International that (the) soldiers arrived at about 6:45 pm local time on Tuesday evening, and opened fire on #EndSARS protesters without warning.
“Eyewitnesses at Alausa protest ground said they were attacked by a team of soldiers and policemen from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) unit at about 8:00 pm, leaving at least two people dead and one critically injured,” Ms Ojigho said.
The rights group accused the army of having an intention “to kill without consequences,” because “some of those killed and injured at both grounds were allegedly taken away by the military.”
“These shootings clearly amount to extrajudicial executions. There must be an immediate investigation and suspected perpetrators must be held accountable through fair trials. Authorities must ensure access to justice and effective remedies for the victims and their families,” Ms Ojigho said.
For the past two weeks, young Nigerians have been on the streets, protesting against police brutality at the hands of the now-banned Special Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS).
But disruptions by hoodlums in many instances have led to mayhem and the destruction of properties. Many states have imposed curfews.
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