Home / World / Nigeria #ENDSars protests against police brutality result in 10 deaths, says Amnesty International

Nigeria #ENDSars protests against police brutality result in 10 deaths, says Amnesty International

“The excessive use of force by the police in response to the protests reveals the longstanding contempt for the right to life on the part of the Nigerian security forces,” Amnesty said.

The agency said the excessive use of force “without good reason is a crime under international law”.

“Amnesty International therefore calls for an urgent review of the use of force and firearms by police officers against demonstrators and a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into all cases of violence, including deaths during protests of #EndSARS, “said Seun Bakare, head of programs at Amnesty International Nigeria, told CNN.

CNN has repeatedly contacted Nigerian police spokesman Frank Mba for comment but received no response.

Young people take part in a demonstration calling for the demolition of the controversial Anti-Robbery Task Force, or SARS police unit, in Ikeja on 8 October.

A new tactical unit to replace dissolved SARS will be known as Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT.

Former SARS police officers will be part of the new unit, but will undergo psychological and medical exams to make sure they are fit, according to Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu.

“Officers are expected to undergo this process as a prelude to further training and reorientation before being redeployed to core police duties,” Adamu said.

The victim was “kind and humble”

One of the people who died in the protests was identified as Jimoh Isiaq, 20. He was killed by stray bullets fired at a protester. He was standing some distance from the protesting crowd in Ogbomosho in southwestern Nigeria, his family said.

“The police shot hit his abdomen and came out from behind,” Isiaq’s older brother Jimoh Kazeem told CNN.

“Isiaq was very kind and humble. I have not seen him fight anyone before. He is one of the pillars of our family. His death is very painful,” added Kazeem.

Jimoh Isiaq's family says he was killed by stray bullets fired by Nigerian police during the protests. The police denied shooting anyone.

Kazeem told CNN that Isiaq’s widow is devastated and leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter.

The family says they intend to sue the Nigerian police force if authorities don’t investigate his killing.

“The protest was largely peaceful before the police fired that shot from the evidence we had gathered. We know the shots were fired by the policemen stationed in the Owode Police Station. We know the names of the officers who fired. we are short of evidence to prove police brutality, ”Hussein Afolabi, Isiaq’s family lawyer, told CNN on the phone.

“Three other people were killed in Ogbomosho (Sunday) and we have many more injured. We talked to many people on the ground. The other two are also unarmed protesters shot by the police. We have overwhelming evidence,” Afolabi said. . “People complain about police brutality. It’s in the face, it’s everywhere.”

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State police spokesperson for Oyo Fadeyi Olugbenga denied the allegations. “The police have not shot anyone as widely reported,” he said, in a reply to CNN.

Olugbenga did not respond to CNN’s attempts to contact him by phone for further comment.

President Muhammadu Buhari he said Tuesday, “We are also deeply sorry for the young man’s death in Oyo state during the recent demonstrations. I have ordered that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated.”

Another man died on Monday during protests in a suburb of Lagos, the country’s commercial nerve center, where parts of the city have been blocked in recent days as protesters have blocked main roads with their demands for police reform.

The man was identified as 55-year-old Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo. Eyewitnesses said he was a passerby hit by a stray bullet fired by police officers, a charge denied by police, who blamed the “thugs”, according to local media reports.

‘Police are still killing protesters’

Buhari Tuesday it addressed “the real concerns and agitation of Nigerians about the excessive use of force, and in some cases the extrajudicial executions and illegal conduct, by men of the Nigerian police force”. He said the dissolution of SARS was “only the first step” in a broad police reform.

“We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongdoing are brought to justice,” Buhari said, adding that “the overwhelming majority of men and women in the police force work hard and diligent in carrying out their duties. Duties”.

Cases of police arrests and harassment of protesters were also reported in other cities.

Nigeria dissolves controversial police unit accused of brutality

But the protesters said verbal assurances were not enough. They also blame the government’s decision to deploy SARS agents to other police units, saying it exacerbates the problem.

They say their demands have now shifted from a targeted ban on a particular unit to general police reform.

“Protesters are still being killed and the government is talking about ending SARS. The protest has gone from the end of SARS to an end to police brutality in general. The government, which claims to have banned SARS, is still killing the protesters. . This is a fluke. “Said Okoye Paul, who has been part of the Lagos protest since last week.

“Redeployment is not a reform. Many other police units are also bad. Reform and retraining of police officers should involve an independent body because the police cannot be the judge of their own case. We do not trust the government in particular. keep promises “.

According to videos seen by CNN, the Nigerian police have fired tear gas, fire hydrants and live bullets at demonstrators in the capital Abuja.

Protests continued on Tuesday in all cities of Nigeria, in places like Port Harcourt, the city of Benin, the state of Enugu, all in southeast Nigeria.

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