News Alerts

24 Oct 2020 | 10:33 AM UTC

Nigeria: At least 69 killed amid nationwide protests as of October 23 /update 18

Nigeria News Alert

President announces at least 69 killed in nationwide protests as of October 23; further protests likely

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/24/2020, 12:00 AM until 10/27/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Lagos). COUNTRY/REGION Nigeria

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Event

On Friday, October 23, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced that at least 51 civilians and 18 members of security forces had been killed during the course of protests nationwide against police brutality in recent days. A further 37 civilians have reportedly been injured. The president blamed the violence on "hooliganism" and asserted that security forces had acted with restraint. Buhari stated that rioters had killed 11 police officers and seven soldiers, as authorities claimed that the protest's initial aim of police reform had been hijacked by violent thugs.

The president's announcement came after Amnesty International reported that soldiers had opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators at the Lekki toll plaza as they sang the national anthem on Tuesday, October 20, killing 12 people. A speech given by President Buhari on Thursday increased public discontent as it failed to mention the shooting and instead criticized the protest movement.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the violence has continued into Saturday, October 24, with social media sources reporting incidents of looting and gunshots in urban centers nationwide.

Continued protests are likely throughout Nigeria over the near term. A heightened security presence and associated transport and business disruptions are to be expected near protest sites.

Context

A series of protests organized through the #EndSARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) social media campaign have been held across Nigeria over the past few months and intensified in recent days, with demonstrations having led to fatal clashes between protesters and security forces. Unrest has continued despite an announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari that the controversial SARS police unit would be disbanded and replaced by a new agency called SWAT, a move which protesters have rejected.

Advice

Those in Nigeria are advised to monitor the situation, adjust travel itineraries and avoid unnecessary overland movement in the immediate term, avoid the vicinity of any demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

 

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