The Nigerian military has issued a warning to “subversive elements and trouble makers” to desist after a week of protests about police brutality.
The warning came as protesters were attacked by unidentified men with machetes in Abuja, the country’s capital. Demonstrations against police brutality have taken place in states across Nigeria in the past week.
The protests have continued despite authorities agreeing to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars). The unit has been accused of extrajudicial killings, extortion, harassments and other heinous crimes, especially of youths.
The government on Thursday announced a ban on all protest in Abuja, saying the demonstrators were violating public safety measures introduced to tackle Covid-19.
Army spokesman Col Sagir Musa said in a Facebook post: “The NA [Nigerian army] hereby warns all subversive elements and trouble makers to desist from such acts as it remains highly committed to defend the country and her democracy at all cost.”
He went on to offer to “support the civil authority in whatever capacity to maintain law and order and deal with any situation decisively”. The statement has been received as a veiled threat by protesters with many social media referring to it as ‘distasteful’.
NIGERIAN ARMY REMAINS RESOLUTE TO THE PEACE AND STABILITY OF THE NATIONhttps://t.co/kE6ja03z1W
— Nigerian Army (@HQNigerianArmy) October 15, 2020
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