The United States Government and the African Union have called for an end to the violence in Nigeria as protests against police brutality turned deadly in recent weeks.
The US State Department on Thursday, strongly condemned the use of excessive force by the military authorities on unarmed civilians and called for restraint following Tuesday’s unrest that rocked the country’s metropolitan city, Lagos.
At least 12 people were killed during the crackdown, according to Amnesty International. In a statement signed by US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, he asked the Federal Government to hold those responsible accountable.
He said the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are essential human rights and core democratic principle. He also enjoined the demonstrators to remain peaceful.
The statement titled, ‘Ongoing protests in Nigeria’, read in part, “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 right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are essential human rights and core democratic principles.
“We call on the security services 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.”
Pompeo’s calls echoed a statement from the African Union (AU), urging an end to the violence in Nigeria after weeks of deadly protests.
AU Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat urged “all political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law.”
The AU statement also welcomed the Nigerian government’s move to disband the highly controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Anger over abuses committed by the unit sparked widespread protests some two weeks that drew thousands to the streets.
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