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October 21, 2020

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#EndSARS: At least 10 Nigerians killed in nationwide protests

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At least ten people have been killed by the Nigerian police since the start of protests against SARS, global human rights group, Amnesty International has said.

The group attributed the fatalities to the wave of violence and use of lethal force by the Nigerian police.

It also said an untold number of protesters have been arrested and physically assaulted in the last one week.

SARS officials have been accused of harassment of citizens, intimidation and extra-judicial killings among other illegal activities.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the killing of Jimoh Isiaka on Saturday when youth in Ogbomoso, Oyo State took to the streets to join the protests against SARS.

Angered by the killing, the youth in Ogbomoso went back to the streets the next day. But the new protests turned even bloodier, with at least three more people reportedly losing their lives after attack by police officers.

Also in a separate report Monday, this newspaper learnt that police officers reportedly opened fire at unarmed protesters in Surulere in Lagos.

A police officer was also reportedly killed by a stray bullet during the shooting, although the police accused protesters of killing the officer.

The sustained protests across Nigeria and other parts of the world forced the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday to announce the dissolution of the police unit.

The IGP also promised that the demands for more police reforms would be looked into.

In a live video session on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari declared that disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is the first step to extensive police reforms by his administration.

”The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people.” he said

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”We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.

”We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations.” the President added

Earlier this year, Amnesty International said it had documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial execution between January 2017 and May this year.

“The victims were mainly men aged between 18 and 35 from poor backgrounds and vulnerable groups. Many of those tortured were beaten with sticks and machetes and denied medical attention, the group said.

“The complete failure of Nigerian authorities to bring an end to the gross human rights violations perpetuated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad or to bring any SARS officer to justice is shocking and unacceptable. Nigerians are outraged by the systemic human rights violations perpetrated by the SARS with impunity,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“The systemic use of torture and other ill treatment by SARS officers for police investigations and the continued existence of torture chambers within the Nigerian Police Force points to an absolute disregard for international human rights laws and standards.” he added.



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