There was “credible but disturbing evidence” that security forces in Lagos fatally shot protesters who were demonstrating against police brutality despite a new curfew going into effect, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, after the soldiers opened fire.
“I saw the bullet hit one or two persons.”
The Lagos state commissioner for information, Gbenga Omotoso, said in a statement on Tuesday night that “there have been reports of shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza following the 24-hour curfew imposed on Lagos”.
The Nigerian army said on Twitter that no soldiers were at the scene of the shooting on Tuesday night in Lekki, an upmarket district where the toll gate has been the site of daily protests in Lagos, Africa’s biggest city.
The protests began two weeks ago after a video circulated showing a man being beaten up, apparently by police officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Young protesters marched in cities across Nigeria under the banner #EndSARS.
In response, the government announced it would disband the squad, which for several years human rights groups have blamed for widespread abuses, including torture and killings.
The demonstrators have not been satisfied with the disbandment and are demanding an end to abuses and respect for human rights in all parts of the police force.
Protests continued on Tuesday in many cities, including the capital Abuja, where troops have been deployed.