Nigeria: Curfew in Lagos amid anti-police brutality protests

The governor of Lagos state has declared a 24-hour curfew across Nigeria’s biggest city, saying protests sparked by police violence had “degenerated into a monster”.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that “nobody except essential service providers and first responders must be found on the streets” would be allowed on the street from 4pm local time (15:00 GMT).

“We will not watch and allow anarchy in our dear state,” added the governor.

Thousands of people across Nigeria have taken to the streets every day for almost two weeks, demanding an end to police brutality and justice for victims.

The peaceful and largely leaderless protests, organised under the #EndSARS hashtag, began with calls to scrap a notorious police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which was long been accused of extortion, torture and extrajudicial killings.

After days of widespread demonstrations, the authorities announced the dissolution of SARS and later ordered all personnel to report to the police headquarters in the capital, Abuja, for debriefing and psychological and medical examination. Meanwhile, the forming of a new Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was announced to replace SARS.

However, the announcements did not satisfy protesters, who viewed them as just another renaming exercise and pledged to stay on the streets until promises are delivered and their demands, including the release of those arrested, are met.

A police station in the Orile Iganmu area of Lagos was set ablaze on Tuesday, TV news station Channels reported.

Early in the protests, police fired on protesters in the Surulere area of Lagos and elsewhere. Armed gangs have attacked protesters in Lagos and Abuja, where demonstrators besieged the headquarters of SARS.

On Monday, Amnesty International said at least 15 people had been killed since the protests began. The rights group said two police officers were among the victims while hundreds of people have been injured.


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