Violence not solution – Akufo-Addo tells police, protesters in Nigeria unrest
President Nana Akufo-Addo has called for calm following unrest in Nigeria where soldiers have opened fire on protesters.
President Akufo-Addo stated emphatically that: “violence, be it on the part of the Police or protesters, cannot be the solution”.
The tipping point of the protest was the shooting of civilians on Tuesday, October 20, at the plush town of Lekki in Lagos City.
Protests got out of hand with the destruction of property forcing a 24-hour curfew.
But protestors defied the lockdown forcing an intervention by the military with several reports suggesting the gun down of multiple civilians.
They are calling for better treatment from their government.
Over 40 people are said to be dead within two weeks of the demonstrations, according to multiple unofficial sources and news outlets.
Following a barrage of criticisms and calls for him to intervene being the chair of ECOWAS, President Akufo-Addo has joined “all well-meaning persons in calling for calm, and the use of dialogue in resolving the #EndSARS impasse in Nigeria”.
In a Facebook post, President Akufo-Addo explained that he has spoken with Nigeria President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari “who is committed to this end, and has begun the processes that will lead to reform”.
He commiserated with the bereaved families and wished all injured persons a speedy recovery.
I join all well-meaning persons in calling for calm, and the use of dialogue in resolving the #EndSARS impasse in…
His response follows replication of the anti-brutality protests by Nigerians living in Ghana at the Nigeria High Commission in Accra.
Similar protests were also held at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange area in Ghana’s capital.
West African neighbours Ghana is believed to host in excess of 2.5 million Nigerians.
The protests started with a call to reform the Special Armed Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria.
Nigerians in UK and Kenya have also held #EndSARSn protests.
The demands of the protestors are summarised into five points.
- Immediate release of all arrested protesters.
- Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
- Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days).
- In line with the new Police Act, psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed.
- Increase police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.
The government responded by disbanding the police unit but the protesters have remained on streets extending their demands to include good governance and better conditions for all citizens.
An imposed curfew did not yield the needed results forcing the army to pour out on Tuesday to contain pockets of violence.
Reports suggest multiply gunshots being fired at civilians leading to deaths but the nation’s military has denied killing protestors.
Nigerian musicians Davido, Wizkid and Burna Boy had led media campaigns to stop the brutality, abuse, extortion, torture and inhumane treatment meted out to Nigerians by the SARS.
Hashtags associated with the protests have flooded several social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.
These include: #EndSARS,#LekkiMassacre, #EndPoliceBrutalityNigeriaNow
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an end to what he called “brutality”.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has condemned the killing of protesters.
US opposition presidential candidate Joe Biden and former first lady and US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have called on Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari end the violence unleashed on citizens.
International stars such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, Trey Songz, Kirk Franklin, John Boyega, Chance the Rapper, Idris Elba and Nicki Minaj have all condemned the attacks.
The issue has also been brought up in the UK’s House of Commons by Labour MP Stephen Doughty while the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has called for an end to the violence.
British-Nigerian boxer Anthony Joshua and Manchester United striker footballer Odion Ighalo with 35 caps for the Super Eagles, Idion Ighalo have called for an end to the occurrences.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has called for “understanding and calm”.
A statement from the presidency said President Buhari was committed to police reforms and considering judicial panels probe claims of police brutality.
The African Union (AU) chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, is yet to comment on the development.