Home / Lead Story / Lekki: Security forces shot in the air – U.S.

Lekki: Security forces shot in the air – U.S.

President Joe Biden

Nigerian youths seen waving the Nigerian national flag in front of a crowd in support of the ongoing protest against the unjust brutality of The Nigerian Police Force Unit named Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Lagos on October 13, 2020. – Nigerians took to the streets once again on October 13, 2020, in several cities for fresh protests against police brutality, bringing key roads to a standstill in economic hub Lagos.
Demonstrations organised on social media erupted calling for the abolition of a notorious police unit accused of unlawful arrests, torture and extra-judicial killings.
The government gave in to the demand on October 11, 2020, announcing that the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was being disbanded in a rare concession to people power in Africa’s most populous nation. (Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP)

By Harrison Arubu

New York, March 31, 2021

Nigerian security forces fired shots “into the air” to disperse #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on Oct. 20, according to the U.S. Department of State.

This assessment is contained in the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Nigeria released by the department on Tuesday.

It contradicts claims by media reports and persons claiming to be witnesses that soldiers fired live bullets at the protesters.

Although Amnesty International reported that 10 persons died during the incident, the report says there is no “accurate information” on the fatalities.

It says: “On Oct. 20, members of the security forces enforced curfew by firing shots into the air to disperse protesters, who had gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos to protest abusive practices by the Nigerian Police Force’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“Accurate information on fatalities resulting from the shooting was not available at year’s end.

“Amnesty International reported 10 persons died during the event, but the government disputed Amnesty’s report, and no other organisation was able to verify the claim.

“The government reported two deaths connected to the event. One body from the toll gate showed signs of blunt force trauma.

“A second body from another location in Lagos State had bullet wounds. The government acknowledged that soldiers armed with live ammunition were present at the Lekki Toll Gate,” part of the report stated. 

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