World Judicial panel into shooting, police brutality convenes in Lagos
With Instagram, hashtags and bitcoin, young Nigerians boost anti-police protests
With Instagram, hashtags and bitcoin, young Nigerians boost anti-police protestsLAGOS (Reuters) - Ozioma Egemasi says Nigerian police slapped, whipped and struck him with the butt of a pistol when he refused to pay them a bribe. Then he heard them discuss whether to kill him.
By Libby George
LAGOS (Reuters) - The judicial panel investigating police brutality and the shooting of protesters in Lagos convened on Monday, promising neutrality and justice.
Independent investigations into police abuses were a core demand of the protesters who demonstrated nationwide for more than two weeks. Peaceful protests turned violent on Oct. 20, when witnesses and groups such as Amnesty International said soldiers opened fire at protesters, killing some. The army denied its troops were there.
Lagos: 24-hour curfew imposed amid anti-police brutality protests in Nigeria
The governor of Nigeria's commercial hub Lagos imposed a state-wide curfew on Tuesday in response to growing protests over police brutality in the country. © Benson Ibeabuchi/AFP/Getty Images TOPSHOT - Protesters swarm the Allen Avenue roundabout during a demonstration in support of the ongoing protest against the unjust brutality of The Nigerian Police Force Unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), at Obafemi Awolowo way, Ikeja, Lagos, on October 19, 2020.
Chair Justice Doris Okuwobi said the panel was independent from government and would ensure justice for victims of police brutality and "for those affected by the unfortunate incident of the shootings by the military."
Okuwobi said none of the 15 complaints received thus far related to the flashpoint shooting in Lekki.
The panel's formal proceedings will not begin until Tuesday due to the late appointment of the two youth members, Majekodunmi Temitope Oluwaseun and Oduala Bolatito Olorunrinu.
Nigerian Bar Association President Olumide Akpata said his members would represent complainants pro bono, but had "received only a few calls" related to Lekki.
Protest leaders and others have told Reuters many are afraid of government retribution if they speak about the shootings, but Akpata said some could also be "waiting to see traction" from the panel.
(Reporting by Libby George; Editing by Giles Elgood)
The massive protests in Nigeria, explained .
What is the SARS unit, and why do Nigerians want to #EndSARS? The sequence of events leading to what Nigerians now call the #LekkiMassacre suggests that this appears to be a carefully planned attack. While protesters were standing on the road, dancing to songs from a live DJ, the Lagos state governor imposed a curfew, to start at 4 p.m. The protesters refused to leave. Next, operators of the toll removed all CCTV cameras from the toll booths and the lights cut out. Soldiers arrived and opened fire between 6:45 and 9 p.m.