Police chief to deploy anti-riot unit nationwide

Police chief to deploy anti-riot unit nationwide

A protester wears a face mask and a head band with the inscription "End SARS" as she stands on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway during a protest against the Nigeria rogue police, otherwise know as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), in Ikeja district of Lagos, Nigeria, 19 October 2020
Nigeria has been hit by protests towards police brutality

Nigeria’s police chief has ordered the nationwide deployment of anti-riot officers to quell violence following protests towards police brutality.

Mohammed Adamu’s announcement got here as an indefinite 24-hour curfew was imposed within the industrial hub of Lagos.

Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu mentioned that criminals had hijacked protests “to unleash mayhem”.

The protests started with requires a hated police unit to be disbanded, however morphed into calls for for wider reforms.

President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved the Particular Anti-Theft Squad (Sars), accused of unlawful detentions, assaults and shootings, on 11 October.

However the demonstrators have known as for extra modifications within the safety forces in addition to reforms to the best way the nation is run.

Mr Adamu mentioned in a press release that he ordered the deployment of the Police Cell Pressure (PMF) ”to guard lives and property of all Nigerians and safe important nationwide infrastructure throughout the nation”.

He has additionally ordered the large deployment of police operatives to strengthen safety round prisons.

Mr Sanwo-Olu introduced the Lagos curfew on Tuesday after saying the protests had “degenerated” into violence.

In a sequence of tweets, Mr Sanwo-Olu mentioned that he had “watched with shock how what started as a peaceable #EndSARS protest has degenerated right into a monster that’s threatening the well-being of our society”.

“Lives and limbs have been misplaced as criminals and miscreants at the moment are hiding underneath the umbrella of those protests to unleash mayhem on our state… we is not going to watch and permit anarchy in our expensive state.”

The curfew got here into drive at 16:00 native time however protesters within the Lekki and Alausa elements of Lagos had not dispersed, quarter-hour after a curfew kicked in.

As an alternative, they have been singing the nationwide anthem on the Lekki toll gate.

The curfew will have an effect on tens of millions of individuals. Solely important staff will likely be allowed out.

The announcement of the curfew comes after reviews that folks set hearth to a police station within the Orile a part of Lagos state.

Movies posted on social media present the police station burning, with individuals standing exterior cheering.

It’s not clear if there have been officers contained in the constructing on the time or how the perpetrators managed to set the constructing aflame.

‘The authorities’ outdated trick’

By Nduka Orjinmo, BBC Information, Abuja

Policeman talking to protesters
Policeman speaking to protesters

Some would say it was inevitable that because the protests continued the authorities would flip to an outdated trick – trying away when the primary sparks of violence appeared, solely to make use of it as an excuse to quash peaceable protests.

Safety operatives have been largely detached as thugs attacked peaceable protesters throughout the state from final Thursday. To be honest to the police, they too haven’t been spared, getting attacked on Monday and having a police station burnt on Tuesday.

Many will really feel this provides the police a free reign to brutalise commuters, who could possibly be caught in site visitors when the curfew kicks in.

In his defence, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has acquiesced to the calls for of the protesters and is one in all few governors to have established a judicial panel of inquiry to look into instances of police brutality.

On Monday, he urged the protesters to depart the streets for extra dialogue.

This will likely be a check for the demonstrators who’ve been peaceable however it’s arduous to see how they will go on.

In the event that they defy the curfew, they’d be giving the authorities an excuse to make use of drive and so they can simply be blamed for escalating violence in different elements of the state.

The police in Lagos has mentioned that “all safety companies have deployed sufficient personnel to take cost and implement the curfew throughout the state”.

A press release added that the protests have been taken over “by hoodlums who wish to run down the state and the police command will resist such state of anarchy, unrest and brouhaha with all powers inside the ambit of the legislation”.

On Monday, individuals attacked police within the Yaba space of Lagos, destroying police automobiles and chasing officers away.

Crowds gather on a main road
Demonstrators blocked the path to Lagos’ worldwide airport on Monday

In another areas, individuals have been seen erecting roadblocks and charging motorists a payment.

Violence has additionally been reported in different elements of the nation.

In southern Edo state on Monday, officers mentioned two police stations have been focused with attackers burning automobiles and stealing police gear.

There have been additionally jailbreaks at two prisons in Edo, main the state authorities to declare a curfew there.

On Monday, rights group Amnesty Worldwide mentioned that police violence towards protesters had continued and that at the least 15 individuals had been killed because the protests started a fortnight in the past.

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