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#EndSARS: Recent Events In Nigeria Are A Human Rights Crisis – Hamilton

Emmanuel Egobiambu  
Updated October 25, 2020
British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton wants an end to police brutality in Nigeria. Photo: [email protected] Hamilton.

 

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has thrown his weight behind the fight against police brutality and extra-judicial killings in Nigeria. 

The British Formula One driver on Sunday shared a photo of him wearing a black shirt with the Nigerian map and EndSARS crested on it.

“We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and raise awareness of the tragedies happening in the world around us and take action where we can,” he tweeted on his official handle, amplifying calls to end human rights abuses by the police. “The recent events in Nigeria are a human rights crisis.”

 A Hated Unit

At the onset of the month, many Nigerians took to the streets, demanding the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) hated by many in Africa’s most populous nation.

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The now-defunct unit of the police was accused of human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings, a development which the demonstrators say had been going on for years.

 

#EndSARS protesters during a candlelight procession in honour of victims of police brutality.

 

Despite the scrapping of the unit by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed, the protesters stayed on the streets, citing similar pronouncements (scrapping of SARS) which were made in the past but came to nothing.

Deadly Dimension

Things took a dangerous dimension on Tuesday last week when armed soldiers opened fire on the protesters in the Lekki area of Lagos State.

The shooting, witnesses say, resulted in the death of scores of persons but the Nigerian Army later denied responsibility for the incident.

 

A Nigerian youth holds the national flag during an #EndSARS protest in Abuja on October 17, 2020. Credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Human rights organization, Amnesty International, however, put the casualty figure from the incident and another one at Ikeja at 12.

The development triggered a wave of attacks on public infrastructure, security personnel and a looting spree in many parts of the country, particularly in Lagos State.