Published: 2020-10-21 14:37
Last Updated: 2023-06-03 11:57
Nigeria woke up Wednesday morning under the shock of an armed forces attack on peaceful demonstrators in Lagos, which left at least 25 wounded and several dead.
Nigerian newspapers have headlined their front pages "Black Tuesday" and "Bloody Tuesday", while calls have been made on social media for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially by Nigerian music star Davido and his millions of followers.
Tuesday evening, the authorities dispersed more than a thousand demonstrators who gathered peacefully in Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria, after a curfew was imposed to weaken the popular protest movement that has continued for ten days.
Shooting was heard in the vicinity of the gathering place later Tuesday night until Wednesday morning, according to an AFP journalist, while the commercial districts of Lagos Islands were completely empty and all its stores were closed.
Amnesty International told France Press that many demonstrators were killed on Tuesday evening, stressing that it is still trying to "determine their exact number."
Lagos State Governor Babajidi Sanuo-Oulu denied there were any deaths. "Contrary to what is being circulated on the communication sites, there are no fatalities," he said.
He said that 25 wounded people are currently being treated in three hospitals in the city, confirming that he visited them in the morning.
"Responsibility for this tragic incident rests with me and I will work with the federal government to determine what happened," he wrote in a tweet Wednesday, stressing that the crackdown "is out of his control."
The Nigerian military denied on Twitter that it was responsible for the shooting, but videos circulating heavily on social media sites show men in uniform firing live ammunition.
The governor also confirmed that "members of the Nigerian army" were "deployed in Lekki yesterday evening," indicating that an investigation had been opened.
On Tuesday, the police announced the immediate deployment of riot control units as demonstrations in most of the country's cities were developing into clashes and riots. But in Lekki, where the shooting took place, the protests remained peaceful throughout the day.
Resentment over Wednesday's incidents prevailed on social media, even outside Nigeria.
He called on the US presidential candidate, Joe Biden, in a message posted on his website, "President Buhari and the Nigerian military to stop the violent suppression of demonstrators in Nigeria, which has so far resulted in many deaths."
"The United States should stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and an end to the corruption that is ravaging the democratic system," he added.
For her part, the American pop star, Riana, who has about a hundred million followers on Twitter, wrote in a tweet, "I cannot bear to see the torture and brutality that continues to strike our homelands." "My heart is broken for the sake of Nigeria," she added. "I am proud of your strength and your not abandoning your fight for justice."
This unprecedented move began in Nigeria in early October on social media, denouncing the police practice of violence, and then gradually turned into a protest movement against the current authority and mismanagement.
At least 18 people, including two policemen, have been killed during those marches since their start.