Lagos: Nigerian President Muhammed Buhari appealed for "understanding and calm" as anti-police protestors clashed with police in the capital city of Lagos, resulting in the shooting of unarmed protestors. Amnesty International alleged that at least 56 people had been killed since protests began with 38 killed on Tuesday, a dramatic spike in violence.
Videos verified by Reuters show police in the Yaba area of Lagos kicking a man lying on the ground. Several parts of the city were set on fire, and thick black smoke has been reported from multiple areas of the city. Eyewitness accounts state that the army and police hemmed in protestors before firing indiscriminately, and CCTV cameras were taken down beforehand.
Violence erupted on Wednesday when protestors gathered against the city-wide curfew imposed by Governor Babijide Sanwo-Olu. Armed police clashed with protestors at a toll booth, resulting in the deaths of at least 13 people in the Lekki and Alausa areas of Lagos alleged Amnesty International.
Protests have rocked Nigeria as people came out to demand the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Force (SARS)of the Nigerian police, a unit which has been accused by multiple human rights groups of engaging in extortion and corruption. Although the unit was disbanded on October 11th protests continued for a larger, systemic change.
The violence was condemned across social media and by organisations such as the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
"There is little doubt that this was a case of excessive use of force, resulting in unlawful killings with live ammunition, by Nigerian armed forces," United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday.