Police officers have been accused of abusing the powers given to them during lockdown to ‘assault’ and ‘harass’ women.
Hundreds of people have protested against alleged police brutality for a second day across Nigeria after a video of a man allegedly being killed by police went viral.
Anger has been brewing on social media after the video of the alleged killing in the southern Delta state, which authorities denied was real.
The man who filmed the video was arrested, provoking even more anger.
Hundreds of youths gathered in Ikeja in central Lagos on Friday, holding banners reading “respect for human rights” and “a more equal society”.
In Abuja, dozens of protesters also gathered and police forces used tear gas to disperse protesters, according to witness accounts.
“Our members were close to 200 in the protest. We were teargassed,” human rights activist Deji Adeyanju told the AFP news agency.
“It’s just sad that they are clamping down on peaceful civil protest.”
Protester Anita Izato posted on Twitter: “They poured tear gas on each and every one of us, it’s so hot I had to put water on my face. This is what Nigeria has turned into.”
— Oyiowoh (@Anita_Izato) October 9, 2020
‘We all risk being tortured’
The protest movement was initially aimed at the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), widely accused of unlawful arrests, torture and even murder, but has since broadened to include all police forces.
While the SARS unit was suspended on Sunday, groups such as Amnesty International said the government had not gone far enough, pointing to previous unsuccessful attempts to ban the force.
The #EndSARS hashtag is thought to have been first used in 2018.
There were more than 2.4 million tweets with #EndSARS on Friday. Several celebrities also expressed support for the movement.
Three years ago Nigeria’s police chief re-organised SARS after public condemnation about the violence that came with their operations. That change has done nothing for Nigerians and today many are still in danger. #EndSarsProtests
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) October 9, 2020
Sandra Ezekwesili, a Nigerian broadcast journalist, also joined the discussion and urged people to keep protesting:
I said this last week, "get angry, stay angry!"
— Sandra Ezekwesili (@SEzekwesili) October 9, 2020
Amnesty International also voiced its opinion:
— Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) October 9, 2020
Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola, also known as DJ Cuppy, stood behind the movement:
— #OriginalCopy 🧁 (@cuppymusic) October 9, 2020
” The movement is growing,” 29-year-old Chinoso Esengba, a doctor participating in Friday’s protest, said.
“This problem affects us all. We all risk being tortured, arrested, extorted for no good reason.”