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#EndSARS: Lagos Toll Road Blocked Amid Police Brutality Anger

12 October 2020. BBC News: Demonstrators in Nigeria have blocked a major toll road in the commercial hub of Lagos as nationwide protests calling for an end to police brutality continue for a sixth day, despite the announcement by the police chief and the presidency that a hated police unit has been dissolved.

Anger has risen after police fired live ammunition, tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters in the capital, Abuja, and Ogbomosho city in south-western Oyo state after Sunday’s announcement that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) has been disbanded.

Protesters say the brutality suggests that Sars officers have not yet been pulled off the roads.

There is a massive traffic gridlock in Lagos as the toll road is blockaded for a second day. It is a major source of revenue for a private company as part of a concessional deal with the government.

The road connects the residential areas of Lekki and Ajah to the business districts of Ikoyi and Victoria Island on Lagos Island.

Motorists are being advised to go home by the protesters at the toll gate.

Protesters are also said to be gathering on the Lagos mainland where the country’s busiest airport, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, is situated. There are some threats to disrupt its operations.

Protesters say the Sars is a rogue unit that carries out widespread abuses, including extrajudicial killings.

They view the announcement by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, about its disbandment as meaningless, saying this is the fourth time in four years that the police have made such an announcement.

The presidency also tweeted on Sunday that President Muhammadu Buhari had issued a “directive” to disband the unit “with immediate effect”.

Protesters have a list of five demands:

  • Immediate release of all detained protesters
  • Investigating the actions of the unit
  • Paying compensation to families of victims
  • Redeploying unit members only after “psychological evaluation and training”
  • Improving police salaries.
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