Special Report: LAGOS, Nigeria — It is reported that Nigerian security forces opened fire on Tuesday night at a demonstration in Lagos against brutality of the police, direct bullets hit several demonstrators in the procession at the time of firing at the incidence place according to witnesses, in a major escalation of the unrest that has gripped the country for two weeks.
The exact number of the casualties was unclear, but some witnesses reported seeing people who were killed. Videos from the incident place posted to social media crackled with apparent gunfire and showed people who were wounded and uniformed forces shooting into the air.
A local police officer from Lagos, Nigeria who witnessed the episode and spoke on condition of anonymity said that 11 innocent persons had been killed. But the sources confirmed that at least 25 persons in Nigeria had been killed according to Pasban News.
The shooting in Nigeria came toward the end of a day of mounting violence in multiple cities, with the national police deploying riot squads in the capital, Abuja, in Lagos and elsewhere. The unrest spread even after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari responded to the protesters’ demands by announcing last week that he would disband all of those special unit of police officers accused of brutalizing people on Nigeria.
Adding to the sense of spiraling unending chaos, officials said about 2,000 inmates had escaped on Monday in a prison break in Benin City, in southern Edo state.
After news reports appeared early Tuesday that police had killed two or more people in Lagos, the country’s largest city and economic hub of Nigeria. A charged crowd set a police station on fire in Lagos. Despite the violence and a strict curfew declared by the governor of Lagos State, protesters refused to disband and so much angry, blocking roads and demanding that police officers accused of wanton violence be put on trial and dismiss from their duty.
Uniformed forces were deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate area, a rich suburb of Lagos, where the most important ongoing protests are held, largely peacefully, since October 7. Beginning at around 7 p.m. on Tuesday, a number of them began firing — shortly after the streetlights unexpectedly went out and security cameras were faraway from the scene, witnesses said.
A protester streaming the scene survive Instagram, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, a disk jockey who goes by DJ Switch, said she counted seven casualties round her . Sporadic gunfire went on for about an hour.
“We’ve already told them we’re not going anywhere,” she said. In front of her, a body lay motionless, and nearby protesters crowded around a person with what seemed to be a gunshot wound in his leg.
Demonstrators said they were corralled into one area by fires, with no safe answer .
“The whole place is blocked, there are soldiers everywhere and that they came in guns blazing,” DJ Switch said, before her livestream suddenly ended. “Are they going to shoot all of us? The only weapon we’ve is that the Nigerian flag.”
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, said that folks bent creating chaos had hijacked the mostly peaceful protests against police brutality — a claim supported by witness accounts of the demonstrations.
“Lives and limbs are lost as criminals and miscreants are now hiding under the umbrella of those protests to unleash mayhem on our state,” the governor said during a statement.
After the police headquarters was burned, the governor declared a 4 p.m. curfew, giving people about four hours to urge range in an immense metropolitan area with some 14 million people and a few of the world’s worst traffic jams. Many people had little hope of complying with the curfew; many others didn’t try.
Protesters in Nigeria, the foremost populous country in Africa, are demanding that the govt disband a rogue police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, commonly referred to as SARS, and that they assert particularly robs, tortures and even kills well-dressed children who the officers think may need money. The crowds have also involved punishment of officers who commit brutality.
Last week, President Buhari agreed to dismantle SARS and perform other police reforms, vowing to “ensure that each one those liable for misconduct are delivered to justice.”
But the demonstrations have not abated. People note that the govt has promised before to try to to away with SARS, yet it still exists, and that they argue that a newly created police unit will just be the same menace in new uniforms.