Sat, 28 Nov 2020

The African Union Commission chairperson on Thursday strongly condemned deadly violence in Nigeria's biggest city Lagos and called on all parties to "privilege dialogue".

Moussa Faki Mahamat "strongly condemns the violence that erupted on 20 October 2020 during protests in Lagos, Nigeria that has resulted in multiple deaths and injuries", his office said in a statement distributed Thursday morning.

"The chairperson appeals to all political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law," the statement said.

Amnesty International said at least 12 people were killed by the Nigerian army and police in two locations in Lagos on Tuesday in a deadly crackdown on demonstrations spurred by police brutality and deep-rooted social grievances.

At least 56 people have died across the country since the protests began on 8 October, with about 38 killed nationwide on Tuesday alone, according to Amnesty.

Human Rights Watch also corroborated reports that the Nigerian army had opened fire on protesters Tuesday in "a shooting spree".

The use of lethal force by security forces drew international condemnation, with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet saying reports suggested it could have been premeditated.

The Nigerian army has called reports of soldiers firing on protesters "fake news".

Faki's statement on Thursday did not specifically denounce the security forces' actions.

It said he welcomed Nigeria's decision to disband the police's loathed Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Anger over abuses committed by the unit erupted into widespread protests some two weeks ago that drew thousands into the streets.

In a separate statement, founding co-chair of Every Woman Treaty Steering Committee Dr Eleanor Nwadinobi addressed the acts of violence committed by Nigeria's SARS along with the killing of protesters and civilians.

"I am most distraught at the brutal gunning down of our children. The image of the blood-stained Nigeria flag remains blazoned in my consciousness and the barrage of gun shots is still ringing in my ears," Nwadinobi said.

"Every Woman Treaty recognises that in times of crisis, women and girls are disproportionately affected by and targeted for preventable violence. The killing of protesters and civilians is also preventable violence," the statement reads.

Nwadinobi called on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to "put on his hat of 'Father of the Nation' and speak words of comfort, reassurance and hope to our hurting Nation".

Source: News24

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