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Nigerians stage protests against police violence

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/19/20, 05:36 am

ABUJA, Nigeria—Chanting protesters camped outside the head office of Nigeria’s Central Bank late on Sunday evening, raising banners that called for an end to police brutality, reduced government salary, and stable electricity. In Lagos State, protesters celebrated Sunday service and mass at Lekki Toll Gate, the state's central protest point. Young Nigerians have held similar demonstrations in at least 15 other states and several other countries, including the United States, since Oct. 8. Amnesty International said at least 10 people have died and hundreds more have been injured since the protests began.

What are they protesting? Disputed reports surfaced that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)—known for violently targeting mostly young people—killed a young man in southern Nigeria on Oct. 3. Thousands of people have flooded the streets since then for marches and prayer walks calling on the government to disband the group. An Amnesty report in June documented 82 cases of abuse and torture involving SARS officers between January 2017 and May 2020. Government officials have failed to follow through on promises to reform the squad in recent years. The growing movement has drawn international support and includes other demands for government reform.

Dig deeper: Read the June report from Amnesty International.

Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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  • BF
    Posted: Sat, 10/17/2020 01:38 pm

    I don't want to get too conspiratorial, but isn't it odd that this movement is all over the world? England, New Zealand, Australia, France, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo, Zimbabwe, and Israel with the Black Flag group to name some. Now Nigeria. And I have to wonder where the pre-printed banners with the clenched fist came from? Spontaneous grass-roots movements should have hand written banners. Makes me wonder...

  • CS
    Posted: Sun, 10/18/2020 08:13 pm

    I've been wandering too. I also find it interesting that the signs are in English...

    Posted: Mon, 10/19/2020 12:57 am

    The signs are in English because Nigeria is an Anglophone country. (It was a British colony until 1960.)

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Tue, 10/20/2020 01:20 am

    BF, yea, it appears to be a good cause but why do I hear the footsteps of Karl Marx?