The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has condemned “the violent escalation on 20 October in Lagos which resulted in multiple deaths and caused many injuries.”
According to a statement from Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Guterres has called for an end to police brutality and abuse of citizens in Nigeria.
António Guterres’ call comes after some unarmed protesters were reportedly shot at by the Nigerian military at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos on Tuesday evening [October 20, 2020], leaving many injured and some reported dead.
The protests were aimed at forcing the Nigerian government to reform the Nigeria Police Force. Earlier protests forced the government to dissolve the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Police accused of harassing and abusing citizens.
However, protests continued after citizens were not convinced of the government’s decision to replace SARS with a new unit named Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), which reportedly will consist of some members of SARS.
The UN Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.
He further called on the Nigerian government to “investigate these incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable.”
The Secretary-General also urged the security forces in Nigeria to “act at all times with maximum restraint while calling on protestors to demonstrate peacefully and to refrain from violence.”
Mr Guterres finally encouraged Nigerian authorities to “swiftly explore avenues to de-escalate the situation,” and also indicated the readiness of the United Nations to “support national efforts towards finding a solution.”
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