Protesters Demanding Scrapping Of Nigeria’s Rogue Police Unit Teargassed

Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force have reportedly broken up protesters demanding the scrapping of a police unit – Special Anti-Robbery Squad – with teargas.

Local media reports that some of the protesters were marching to converge on the police headquarters in the Abuja, the West African country’s capital, when the police fired teargas at them.

Some were allegedly beaten while others have been arrested. Videos and photos posted on social media, which cannot be independently verified, showed the protesters scampering for safety amid a hail of tear gas.

Demonstrators have also been marching in other cities across the country, condemning government plans to reform the unit rather than abolish it.

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In Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, where protesters slept overnight outside government house, tempers flared on Thursday after a police officer was reported to have shot at a woman and left a gaping hole in her mouth.

Authorities have not commented about the incident and people are raising funds online for her surgery.

People are also responding to calls for donations to buy water, food and medical supplies for the protesters in Lagos and have raised more than one million naira ($3,800; $3,000).

Meanwhile, a Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari
on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, has condemned the brutality against the protesters.

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In a tweet on Friday, Ogunlesi, a former journalist, said: “Police that should be handing out face masks and bottled water to peaceful protesters… The response to police brutality is not further police brutality.”

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