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Police killings in Nigeria cause online protests

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On Monday, tens of thousands of Nigerians united online demanding to stop police brutality that had not ceased after years of complaints. The latest death of a young man shot dead while he had been watching a football match was called an ‘unlawful killing’ by Amnesty International.

Kolade Johnson was shot dead on Sunday by police in broad daylight in Lagos. The video showing his body went viral and collected tons of messages of condolence and anger.

“This is the price you pay for being a young Nigerian male not from a high-ranking family,” one of his neighbours posted on Instagram.

According to him, it is unheard of for the Nigerian police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to fire in rich neighbourhoods of the financial capital.

“His blood is on your hands,” he blamed the police.

The hashtag #EndSARS was created in 2016 by a group of human rights defenders.

One of them, Segun Awosanya, claimed, “We’ve lost a lot of lives, police blatantly telling people at gun point, ‘I will kill you and nothing will happen’. And guess what, nothing happens. We live under oppression.”

For several years, Amnesty International has campaigned against police brutality and the use of torture in Nigeria, including by SARS units. According to its Nigeria director, Osai Ojigho, SARS “has become notorious for extrajudicial killings, torture and extortion”.

“It is shameful that more than two years since Amnesty International highlighted crimes under international law and human rights violations by SARS, these shocking incidents continue unabated,” she stated.

It is reported that the team members suspected to be involved in the shooting have since been arrested and are currently in police custody undergoing interrogation.

“They will be subjected to internal disciplinary procedures, and may be prosecuted in conventional court if implicated by ongoing investigation,” DSP Bala Elkana, the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed.

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