By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, has strongly condemned the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters in Lagos on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, by government forces.
The Chairperson of the regional body’s commission offered his sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wished those who sustained injuries a speedy recovery.
Mr Mahamat used the opportunity to appeal to all political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law.
He further urged all parties to embrace dialogue in order to de-escalate the situation and find concrete and durable reforms.
In this regard, the Chairperson said he welcomed the decision by the federal government to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) as an important step in this direction.
He reiterated the African Union’s commitment to continue to accompany the government and people of Nigeria in support of a peaceful solution and encouraged the Nigerian authorities to conduct an investigation to ensure the perpetrators of acts of violence are held to account.
The incident has continued to generate reactions from across the globe, with many condemning the use of live bullets on peaceful protesters. The demonstrators were only calling for true police reform as a result of the use of force on innocent citizens in the country, especially the youths.
The notorious disbanded SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force had been accused of extorting citizens and in some cases carrying out extra-judicial killings without being called to order.
Several youths had been killed as a result of false accusation and in some cases, for looking good and having good smartphones, cars, wearing dreadlocks or tattoos. These atrocities had been going on for a long time without the authorities taking any action to stop them or bring those behind the inpunity to book.
In 2017, the police unit was disbanded by the police authorities, but it found its way back and continued its operations before it was again dissolved in 2018 and 2019 before another disbandment in 2020.
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