Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, today expressed his concern following reports of Nigerian Security Forces opening fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
He has written to the Minister for Foreign Affairs to ask what response the Irish government is taking in light of the deteriorating situation.
Teachta Brady said:
“The full details of what took place yesterday are still to coming to light. However, the images which have emerged already are deeply concerning. Furthermore, Amnesty International are on record that they have ‘credible reports’ of deaths.
“What we do know is that Nigerian Security Forces opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos when the crowd refused to disperse following the declaration of a 24 hours curfew.
“The protest was part of the End SARS campaign. SARS is a covert unit, formed in 1992, within the Nigerian police. Over the last three years, Amnesty International has documented 82 cases of torture, abuse, and extrajudicial executions conducted by SARS officers.
“As a force it has been characterised by its deployment of beatings and arbitrary arrest. It has also faced accusations of torture, mock executions, and sexual violence.
“The Nigerian Government’s announcement that SARS will be disbanded is welcome but there are many reports of it still operating in unmarked vehicles at protests.
“Ultimately, however, ending SARS can only be considered the first step towards extensive reform and disbandment of police and state security apparatus in Nigeria.
“It is a cause of considerable concern that the Nigerian Army has already dismissed reports of what took place in Lagos as ‘fake news’.
“The scenes from the Lekki toll gate cannot help but bring to mind images of Soweto in 1976 or indeed, closer to home, the Bogside in Derry in 1972.
“The Nigerian Government must cease its repression of peaceful protesters.
“I have written today to the Minister for Foreign Affairs to ask what response the Irish government is taking in light of this deteriorating situation.”