Nigerian Police Mobilize To Quench Worst Unrest In Two Many years By Reuters


© Reuters. Destroyed ATMs are pictured in the Lekki district of the commercial capital of Lagos


By Felix Onuah and Angela Ukomadu

ABUJA / LAGOS (Reuters) – The Nigerian police chief on Saturday ordered the immediate mobilization of all resources to try to control the worst street violence in two decades, stemming from protests against police brutality.

The unrest, unprecedented since the return to civil rule in 1999, is the worst political crisis facing President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler elected in 2015.

The violence, particularly in the commercial capital Lagos, escalated after protesters were shot and killed around the clock on Tuesday evening in the Lekki district during a curfew.

Witnesses accused soldiers.

The rights group Amnesty International said soldiers and police killed at least 12 demonstrators in two districts, although the army and police denied any involvement.

Several states, mainly in southern Nigeria, have imposed curfews after two weeks of clashes between protesters and security services.

As unrest flared up again in parts of the country on Saturday, a spokesman for the southern state of Cross River said several buildings had been destroyed in the past two days, including a mall, bank and election offices.

Just one day after the Friday easing, parts of downtown Jos were subject to a 24-hour curfew after the Disaster Ministry looted the emergency food stored there.

“These looting has spread to other facilities and is gradually degenerating, threatening the peace and security of the state,” Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong said in a statement.

Nigerian police said their inspector general Mohammed Adamu had ordered the immediate use of all assets and resources to end violence, looting and property destruction by criminals disguised as protesters.

“The IGP urges law-abiding citizens not to panic but to join forces with the police and other members of the law enforcement community to protect their communities from the criminal elements,” a police statement said.

On a phone call between Buhari and the former Nigerian president, the head of state said that 51 civilians had been killed and 37 injured as a result of “hooliganism” in the past few weeks.

Riots escalated in parts of Nigeria after the shooting of protesters who had gathered in Lagos on Tuesday evening to protest against police brutality despite a curfew.

Olusegun Samuel, the guard of a protester who was shot dead during the demonstration, said Saturday that the 24-year-old could have his right leg amputated due to a serious wound.

“It’s a very painful problem, a very, very painful problem. A little boy his age,” said Samuel at a hospital in Lagos.

The state of Lagos eased the curfew on Saturday from 6pm to 8am. Workers took to the streets to clear away broken glass while the cars filled the streets again.

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