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21 Oct, 2020 19:41

Nigerian president appeals for ‘calm’ after soldiers fire on protesters amid chaos in the capital

Nigerian president appeals for ‘calm’ after soldiers fire on protesters amid chaos in the capital

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari called for “understanding and calm” a day after soldiers opened fire on police-brutality protesters against the now dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Lagos on Tuesday night.

The Presidency appeals for understanding and calm across the nation, as the implementation of the reforms, gathers pace at Federal and State levels,” a statement delivered via the president’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, and published on the Nigerian Television Authority website on Wednesday, said.

It did not address the previous day's shooting at protesters and focused largely on to the establishment of judicial panels to address issues of police brutality across the country. Buhari's office said the dissolution of the SARS was "the first step” in a set of reforms that “will deliver a police system accountable to the Nigerian people.”

The statement came just as the headquarters of a local TV station and of the Nigerian Ports Authority were set on fire in Lagos, while other properties across the city were also damaged, according to reports.

Also on rt.com Mob torches TV station in Lagos as anti-police protests rage throughout Nigeria (VIDEOS)

Earlier on Wednesday, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu apologized to Lagosians for the bloodshed and confirmed that at least 25 were being treated in hospitals as a result of police firing at protesters.

The shooting occurred at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos, where a small group of protesters had gathered in defiance of the curfew. Witnesses to the event posted graphic videos online as well as photos of blood-soaked garments and flags.

Also on rt.com Nigerian troops open fire at anti-police brutality protesters in Lagos as 24-hour curfew kicks in – reports

According to local media, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of over 70 civil society organizations, has called on the National Assembly leadership to urgently summon President Muhammadu Buhari and the inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu, to explain the circumstances that led to widespread killings in the country.

Protests have been taking place in Nigeria for over two weeks, with demonstrators actively using the social media hashtag #EndSars to gain attention. The SARS unit was abolished earlier this month by the inspector general of police “in response to the yearning of the Nigerian people.”

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