LAGOS – Nigeria’s police chief on Saturday ordered mobilization of all police resources to reclaim public space after more than two weeks of peaceful protests for police vandalism and looting.
The order came four days after the police and soldiers Shot at protesters12 were killed and hundreds were injured in an abusive Lagos neighborhood. The protesters have been demanding that the government demolish and discipline SARS, a police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, which has been known to detain, brutalize and steal civilians, especially youth, over the years is.
Tuesday’s violent crackdown on protesters, combined with a nighttime curfew in view of it, and protesting leaders urging people to stay indoors, have largely removed peaceful protesters from the streets of Lagos.
But after the shooting, which angered Nigerians, at least 17 police stations were destroyed In Lagos, according to a police spokesman.
There has also been widespread looting, with government warehouses stocked with food. Malls, TV stations and banks as well as retail stores have been targeted in the popular shopping districts of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial and cultural center.
“Enough is enough for lawlessness, public peace and order disruption and violence, resulting in indiscriminate looting of shops, malls and warehouses, damage to property and loss of property in some parts of the country.” Head, MA Adamu, A. Statement On Saturday evening.
Shri Adamu said that additional police units are being deployed in all 36 states. He said the police would “use all legitimate means to prevent further slides into lawlessness and brigandage.”
Violence and looting were also reported in other states.
On Saturday, the governor of the southwestern state of Osun, Adebobega Oyetola imposed a 24-hour curfew to “break the law and order and protect the lives and property of citizens and residents”.
Dozens have died Protests against police brutality Amnesty International said 38 people died across the country from 8 October. The unrest is the worst street violence since the withdrawal of Nigeria’s civil rule in 1999.
Many of the protesters are middle-class, well-educated young people in southern and central cities, and too young to recall the military rule that ended two decades ago.
The government has promised to reform the police force in the wake of the protests, but President Muhammadu Buhari has been criticized for not mentioning Tuesday’s shooting and warning Nigerians against “undermining national security”.
He provoked the protesters on Friday, saying that the security forces were “extremely restrained” in handling the situation.
Mr. Buhari said that 51 civilians, including 11 police officers and seven soldiers, have been killed since the protests began.
The protesters said that the escalation of violence this week could harm their peaceful efforts in reform and allow the government to agitate due to kidnapping by criminal elements.
“The robbery did not put us in a good light,” said 27-year-old Chimaka Ibochyu, a Lagos keeper. He said, ‘We have to take this loss and stop it. We need to be aware of our voting rights – that’s the only ammunition we have. “
Tony Iyare contributed reporting from Lagos.