Nigeria Protests Toll Deepens as Lagos Declares 24-Hour Curfew

By Chuks Emele

Nigeria’s Lagos state, which includes the country’s biggest city and commercial capital, went into a 24-hour curfew to curb escalating violence amid protests sparked by police brutality.

“Lives and limbs have been lost as criminals are now hiding under the umbrella of protests to unleash mayhem,” Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor,  said in a post on Twitter. “I, therefore, impose a 24-hour curfew on all parts of the state as from 4 p.m. today, 20th October, 2020.” 

Banks and businesses in the city, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange are likely to close as a result of the curfew.

Protests, which began on October 5, following a viral video of an extrajudicial killing by the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad,  intensified from Monday across the country. Protesters blocked key road arteries in Lagos and the capital, Abuja, with pockets of violence reported.

The death toll since the two weeks climbed to 18, according to Amnesty International,  including a teenager who died in police custody, leading to even more angry protests.

In the Benin City rioters attacked a prison and freed about 2,000 people held there and also burn a police station.

In parts of the country there were reports of hired thugs attacking protesters while the police looked on. In Abuja, many protesters alleged that cars they parked to participate in a protest rally were set ablaze by suspected thugs.