For the past two weeks, thousands of Nigerians have been on the streets every day peacefully protesting, demanding an end to police violence and a better Nigeria.
The protesters have been demanding the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad more popularly known as SARS. Officials of the unit have been severally accused of extra judicial killings, extortion, and other illegal activities. The Nigerian government announced via a broadcast on October 13th that the unit has been disbanded with immediate effect in responce to the nationwide protests.
Nigerians were however not satisfied with mere words and demanded actions and put their requests in a 5 for 5 demand to the federal government. The demands are as follows:
- Immediate release of all arrested protesters
- Justice for all victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families
- Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days)
- In line with the Police Act, psycological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officials before they can be redeployed
- Increase police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting lives and properties of citizens.
However, despite the protests and cry against injustice and brutality, several mass shootings killing and injuring many have occurred in different parts of the country.
On October 20, 2020, protesters at Lekki toll gate, a key rallying point forthe peaceful demonstrations, say officers of the Nigerian Army opened fire at them, injuring and killing several people. A major escalation of the unrest that has gripped Nigeria.
What started out as a peaceful protest for a better Nigeria turned into bloody and unforgettable unrest.
The extent of the casualties is still unknown, but videos posted to social media showed people who were wounded and men of the Nigerian army shooting.
The Nigerian President is yet to address Nigerians as at the time of this report.