United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for an end to “brutality” by police in Nigeria, after the security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters caused international outrage, reported CGTN Africa.
Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN Secretary General has urged “the security forces to act at all times with maximum restraint” and also called on protesters “to demonstrate peacefully and to refrain from violence.”
Guterres said the Nigerian forces that opened fire on peaceful protesters on Tuesday evening in Lagos resulted in a number of deaths and numerous injuries.
The UN chief urged the Nigerian authorities to investigate the violence and “hold the perpetrators accountable.”
The people of Nigeria have been protesting since last two weeks over a now-disbanded and discredited police unit, known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, which has long been accused of unlawful arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings.
According to Amnesty International, the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters in two locations of Lagos in a deadly crackdown on demonstrations on Tuesday.
“Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports confirm that between 6:45 pm (1745 GMT) and 9:00 pm (2000 GMT) on Tuesday 20 October, the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality,” the group said in a statement.
The international rights group said at least 56 people have died across Nigeria since nationwide protests began on Oct. 8, with about 38 killed on Tuesday alone.
The governor of Lagos initially said that no fatalities were reported on Tuesday, but later said authorities were investigating the death of one person.
The African Union Commission’s chairman and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have also condemned the violent clashes urged Nigerian security forces to exercise restraint in handling protests.