SARS: Lagos under lockdown after protesters ‘shot’ | Nigeria

Strong security presence in Nigeria’s largest city; Dozens were hospitalized after soldiers reportedly shot protesters.

Lagos was locked on Wednesday when a heavy police presence forced a 24-hour curfew hours after reports surfaced of protesters being shot dead by security forces.

The state governor said 30 people were injured in the shootings in Lekki district of the commercial capital on Tuesday evening.

Four witnesses said soldiers fired the bullets and at least two people were killed.

The Nigerian Army said on Twitter that there were no soldiers present at the time of the shooting.

Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said 25 people were being treated for minor to moderate injuries, two were being treated in intensive care and three were released on Tuesday after the gunshots.

“I realize that the money is standing at my table and I will work with the FG (federal government) to get to the bottom of this unfortunate incident and to stabilize all security measures to protect the lives of our residents,” said Sanwo -Olu.

Ahmed Idris of Al Jazeera, who reports from the capital Abuja, said the situation in the country’s largest city, Lagos, appears to be getting worse.

“In Lagos it has gotten worse and worse. We hear of bags of violence in the city. There have been cases of arson and property attacks in Lekki, where the attack took place last night, ”he said.

“We also hear that about 30 government buses burned down at a bus station. One of the leading private television stations in Nigeria is also off the air. A source told us that it was burned down by protesters. The station belongs to an influential politician who is in the same party as the president. “

Amnesty International said Tuesday it received “credible but worrying evidence of the excessive use of force leading to the deaths of protesters at the Lekki toll booth in Lagos,” adding that it was investigating “the killings”.

Another witness, Chika Dibia, said soldiers were trapped in people when they shot them.

The video, verified by Reuters news agency, showed men slowly walking in formation towards protesters, followed by trucks with flashing lights and the sound of gunfire. Another video showed the toll booth itself, with a protester waving a Nigerian flag while people ran to the sound of gunshots.

Thousands of Nigerians demonstrated every day across the country for almost two weeks against a police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), of which rights groups have been accused of extortion, harassment, torture and murder for years.

Authorities imposed a 24-hour curfew on Lagos on Tuesday after the state governor said the protests had become violent.

On Wednesday, police had put up roadblocks in the city and did not allow vehicles to pass, although a few cars and people were walking, Reuters reported.

The SARS unit was disbanded on October 11 after the riot, but protests continued and protesters called for law enforcement reforms.