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Nigerian government warns against protest at Lekki shooting site

Global Feb 11, 2021 14:00
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© Reuters.

(Refiles to add time reference in paragraph 6)
ABUJA, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Nigeria's information minister
called on activists to drop plans for a protest in the
commercial capital Lagos over the reopening of the site where
demonstrators against police brutality were shot last year,
saying it risked being "hijacked by hoodlums".
Protesters were shot on Oct. 20 by people witnesses said
were soldiers at the toll gate in the affluent Lekki district of
Lagos. Rights group Amnesty International said soldiers and
police killed at least 12 protesters in Lekki and another
district. The military and police have denied involvement.
Nationwide protests against police brutality were largely
peaceful until the Oct. 20 shooting, which spawned some of the
worst civil unrest since the 1999 return to civilian rule in
Africa's most populous country. A judicial commission in Lagos is looking into the
allegations that the army and police opened fire on protesters
on Oct. 20. Social media campaigners said a demonstration would
be held at the toll gate on Saturday in protest at its reopening
before the commission had completed its investigation.
In response, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the
planned rally could turn violent because of "hoodlums".
"We therefore strongly warn those who are planning to
re-occupy Lekki Toll Gate on Saturday to desist," Mohammed told
a news conference on Thursday in the capital Abuja.
"While peaceful protests are the constitutional rights of
Nigerians, violent protests are not. At this time, the chances
that any peaceful protest will be hijacked are very high."
Violence would not be tolerated, he said, adding: "The
security agents are ready for any eventuality."
The unrest in October led to the deaths of six soldiers, 37
policemen and 57 civilians, as well as the destruction of 269
private and public properties, Mohammed said.


Nigerian government warns against protest at Lekki shooting site
 

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