Entertainment The fever subsides in Lagos after three days of violence and the intransigence of the president

17:30  23 october  2020
17:30  23 october  2020 Source:   leparisien.fr

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Scène de pillage à Lagos, au Nigeria, le 22 octobre 2020 © Sophie BOUILLON Scene of looting in Lagos, Nigeria, October 22, 2020

Deserted streets, police checkpoints and last looting: the tension fell on Friday little by little in Lagos, tested after three days of violence, the security forces regaining control of the Nigerian megalopolis in the aftermath of an authoritarian and uncompromising speech by the Head of State.

Thursday evening, Muhammadu Buhari warned in a televised speech that he would not allow anyone to “endanger the peace and security of the State” and regretted having been “too weak” during these two weeks of protest.

In the early morning, numerous police trucks, with officers carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles, controlled the few cars in the deserted streets of Lagos and dispersed the onlookers, many of whom were still trying to return home on foot, more two days after the establishment of a total curfew in the city.

DRC: Former Access Bank Israel Kaseya acquitted and released

 DRC: Former Access Bank Israel Kaseya acquitted and released © CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons / Kaizenify A branch of Access Bank in Lagos, Nigeria. In the DRC, Israel Kaseya was released yesterday, Friday October 2, after being acquitted by the Kinshasa-Gombe peace court. Former Access Bank banker, in detention since May, Israel Kaseya was accused by his former employer of forgery, forgery and embezzlement for which he risked up to five years in prison.

Scène de pillage à Lagos, au Nigeria, le 22 octobre 2020 © Sophie BOUILLON Looting scene in Lagos, Nigeria, October 22, 2020

This curfew was introduced on Tuesday afternoon. In the aftermath, protests were put down, killing at least 12 people, according to Amnesty International, and sparking outrage in the country and abroad.

This bloody crackdown was followed by two days of riots and looting in Lagos, the economic capital.

For two weeks, the youth has been engaged in a protest movement first against police violence and then against the central power, in demonstrations which have left at least 56 dead in total across the country, according to Amnesty.

Scène de pillage à Lagos, au Nigeria, le 22 octobre 2020 © Sophie BOUILLON Looting scene in Lagos, Nigeria, October 22, 2020

Friday, in working-class neighborhoods, where several police stations or official buildings had been set on fire, and many shops looted, the fever nonetheless fell.

Nigeria: new demonstrations despite warnings from the army

 Nigeria: new demonstrations despite warnings from the army © PIUS UTOMI EKPEI Nigerian demonstrators mobilized against police violence in Lagos on October 15, 2020 "Do not be intimidated": Nigerian youth continued Thursday to march against police violence in several major cities across the country, despite an army warning and new incidents. There were still thousands in Lagos, a sprawling city of 20 million inhabitants, walking, singing and dancing in different neighborhoods, still blocking the main roads.

- Economic distress -

However, groups of young people continued to block cars in exchange for a few tickets. And in the morning, hundreds of people also looted a warehouse in Ojo, in the west of the city, according to witnesses to AFP.

But these incidents seemed rather to respond to the economic distress of poor Lagosians, already tested by five weeks of confinement in March because of the coronavirus, and again prevented from working with the curfew.

When the looters discovered that they were carrying bags of fertilizer to Ojo, "they were disappointed," Rafiki, a witness, told AFP. "But they still took everything, bags of fertilizer, tiles, chairs, generators, animal feed, pipes, sprayers," he explains.

Nigeria, the first economic power on the African continent thanks to its oil, is also the country in the world with the largest number of people living below the extreme poverty line.

"They want to instill fear in order to disunite us": in Nigeria, deaths in demonstrations against police violence

 © Supplied by France 24 Demonstration on October 14 against the SARS police unit. Screenshot of a video posted on Twitter. Since October 8, the cities of Lagos, Ughelli and Abuja have witnessed several protests against police violence by SARS, a special police unit against theft. Although peaceful, these demonstrations were repressed in the blood as evidenced by many videos.

On social networks, figures of the popular movement and the celebrities who had signed up to their side expressed their frustration the day after President Buhari's intransigent speech. Most, however, called for calm, and several suggested that the challenge would now have to take other avenues.

The "feminist coalition", which coordinated part of the aid given to the movement, invited the youth to stay at home, stressing "that no life deserves to be lost".

"The past two weeks have been trying for most Nigerians, and especially the past two days," read a statement released Friday morning. "We must stay alive to fulfill our dreams of a better future."

- "We will start again" -

"PREPARE YOUR VOTTING CARDS. It's not over," wrote the afropop music star Davido, implying that the fight should now take place in the ballot boxes and not in the street.

Many deplored the end of the demonstrations, but drew lessons from the movement for an upcoming fight: "It was just an exercise, now we know how to organize and stay united, we have seen all the tools they have used against us, we will do it again, ”Twitter Adetola 'Tola' Onayemi, a lawyer, engaged in the protest.

The Governor of Lagos has published the list of police officers "prosecuted for human rights violations", as a sign of commitment to "rebuild Lagos and end police impunity".

Amnesty on Friday demanded "the immediate opening of an independent investigation", in particular into the killing of the Lekki tollgate, which left at least 10 dead according to the NGO on Tuesday evening.

Muhammadu Buhari, a former putschist general in the 1980s, then democratically elected in 2015 and then 2019, made no mention of this bloody repression in his televised address Thursday evening, and invited the international community, which condemned en masse violence "to wait to have all the elements in the hands before judging".

bur-cma / spb / blb

Nigeria: the Central Bank freezes the accounts of figures of the #EndSars movement .
© REUTERS / Temilade Adelaja In Lagos, a peaceful chain of young demonstrators in front of an official building in protest against police violence. (Illustrative image) After the bloody crackdown on the Nigerian youth protest movement by the military, authorities are keeping pressure on some identified figures of the #EndSars movement. The bank accounts of twenty of them have been frozen, by decision of the Nigerian Central Bank.

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