US tells Buhari's government to immediately investigate shooting of peaceful #EndSARS protesters in Lagos
The U.S. says Nigerians have the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
Eyewitnesses reported on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 how soldiers of the Nigerian Army fired live ammunition at them at the Lekki-Epe toll gate in Lagos.
The eyewitnesses were protesters who had shut down the lucrative toll gate for over one week as part of nationwide demonstrations against police brutality, demonstrations that have lasted over two weeks.
The American government condemned the use of excessive force on peaceful protesters in a statement signed by U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on Thursday, October 22.
Pompeo affirmed the right of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression under democracy.
"We welcome an immediate investigation into any use of excessive force by members of the security forces.
"Those involved should be held to account in accordance with Nigerian law," the statement read.
Pompeo further called on Nigerian security forces to show maximum restraint and respect fundamental rights and for demonstrators to remain peaceful.
"We extend our condolences to the victims of the violence and their families," he said.
What happened on Tuesday night
An escalation of violence, mostly fueled by thugs, in the previous days had led Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to declare a 24-hour statewide curfew on Tuesday afternoon, initially with only a four-hour notice that was later extended by an additional five hours.
A small dispatch of soldiers confronted the protesters around 7 pm just before shooting commenced, shocking Nigerians and the international community.
Eyewitnesses reported that at least seven people died during Tuesday night's attack, but Sanwo-Olu said on Wednesday, October 21 his government could not verify a single death.
The Nigerian Army has also bizarrely denied involvement in the shooting without offering up additional information other than branding reports as "Fake News" on social media.
Tuesday night's incident triggered an escalation of violence with the looting and burning of several private and public buildings.
There was a failed attempt by thugs to break prisoners out of the Ikoyi Correctional Centre on Thursday.
President Buhari has failed to address the country regarding the ugly incident, with little communication from the presidency this week.
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