Lagos imposes indefinite curfew to curb Nigeria protests, police deploys anti-riot squad

By Libby George LAGOS (Reuters) - Authorities on Tuesday imposed a round-the-clock curfew on the Nigerian state of Lagos - including Africa's biggest city - in response to protests against alleged police brutality that they said had turned violent.

Reuters October 21, 2020 00:10:46 IST
Lagos imposes indefinite curfew to curb Nigeria protests, police deploys anti-riot squad

Lagos imposes indefinite curfew to curb Nigeria protests police deploys antiriot squad

By Libby George

LAGOS (Reuters) - Authorities on Tuesday imposed a round-the-clock curfew on the Nigerian state of Lagos - including Africa's biggest city - in response to protests against alleged police brutality that they said had turned violent.

The national police chief also ordered the immediate deployment of anti-riot forces following increased attacks on police facilities, a police spokesman said.

The Lagos state governor's spokesman, Gboyega Akosile, said: "The curfew will not end tomorrow. A 24-hour curfew means all round the clock, day and night. It is indefinite. Nobody moves until we lift the curfew."

Thousands of Nigerians demanding an end to alleged police brutality have taken to the streets every day for more than a week across the country. Amnesty International said at least 15 people had been killed since the protests began.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the curfew would apply to all parts of the state, including Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital and Africa's largest city with 20 million inhabitants. Only essential workers were exempted.

It had been imposed as the protests had turned violent, he said.

"I have watched with shock how what began as a peaceful #EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the wellbeing of our society," Sanwo-Olu said.

A police station in the Orile Iganmu area of Lagos was set ablaze on Tuesday, TV news station Channels reported.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce said Nigeria's economy had suffered an estimated loss of 700 billion naira ($1.84 billion)in the last 12 days due to the disruption.

The nationwide protests have persisted despite the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on Oct. 11 following accusations of human rights abuses.

Early in the protests, police fired on protesters in the Surulere area of Lagos and elsewhere. Armed gangs have attacked protesters in Lagos and the capital Abuja.

The southern state of Edo on Monday imposed a similar curfew after a jailbreak by prisoners during protests. Police said they had strengthened security around prisons nationwide.

The speaker of Nigeria's lower chamber of parliament, Femi Gbajabiamila, said he would not sign off on the federal budget for 2021 unless it included provisions to compensate victims of police brutality over the past two decades.

Youth minister Sunday Dare said on Monday the government had met demonstrators' demands for talks on reforms in law enforcement and urged them to enter into dialogue..

Officials say they fear a surge in coronavirus infections due to people attending demonstrations.

(Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja and Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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