Nigerian president leaves protest shootings out of speech


Thousands of Nigerians in the oil-rich country have taken to the streets nationwide every day for almost two weeks demanding the shutdown of a police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which they hold responsible for years of brutality, extortion and harassment in the west African country.

Sanwo-Olu, who admitted that soldiers opened fire on #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate area in a bid to disperse them, said he is now engaging the leadership of the Nigerian Army on the development.

"However, the immediate creation of another elite police SWAT team to replace the SARS - without first addressing some of the root causes of police violence and putting in place sufficient safeguards to prevent future violations - has eroded the public's trust even further".

President Muhammadu Buhari, who has not yet commented on the shooting, was holding a national security council meeting on Thursday with his defence minister and chief of police, according to a statement.

"It seems pretty clear that the Nigerian forces used excessive force, shooting and killing with live ammunition", UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said.

Although Nigerian authorities denied the reports, protests erupted across the country calling to disband the unit and #endSARS.

The state government in Lagos imposed an indefinite round-the-clock curfew on the coastal city's 20 million inhabitants on Tuesday evening.

"They attacked us from back and front", he said. Hours later, Akpan said Nigerian military in uniform arrived and within seconds began shooting at the crowd.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari spoke to the nation about the unrest that has gripped the nation in recent days but without mentioning the shootings of peaceful protesters at Lekki toll plaza on Tuesday night that prompted global outrage.

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Nigeria's army has dubbed as "fake news" reports that soldiers opened fire on demonstrators.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the nation about the ongoing unrest, urging calm but did not mention Tuesday night's military shootings.

Protesters have also expanded their aims beyond police brutality to harness frustration at years of corruption and bad governance.

A Lagos state spokesman later said the fire at Ikoyi prison was under control and officers were at the scene.

Buildings were torched in Nigeria's biggest city Lagos on Wednesday as authorities shut down the economic hub, after the shooting of peaceful protesters by security forces caused global outrage.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that about 25 people had been wounded in an "unfortunate shooting incident", and one man had died by "blunt force trauma to the head".

Meanwhile, the United States on Thursday condemned what it called excessive use of force by the Nigerian military for firing on unarmed demonstrators.

The International Criminal Court said it was "closely following the events around the current protests in Nigeria".

Mr Guterres said he spoke to Mr Buhari several days ago and believes he "will be able to bring things into a normal way to respect the rights of assembly of people and to make sure that those that misbehaved are held accountable".