At least 10 people have been killed and hundreds injured in protests against police brutality in Nigeria, Amnesty International said in a statement.
The human rights group accused the police of using excessive force against the unarmed protesters since the protests started last Thursday.
The agency said excessive use of force “without justifiable grounds is a crime under international law”.
Osai Ojigho, Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, said, “Nigerian security forces must immediately end the intimidation, harassment and attacks on peaceful protesters, Amnesty International Nigeria said today, after at least 10 people were killed and hundreds injured during ongoing nationwide protests demanding an end to police brutality and corruption.
“Since 8 October Nigerians have been occupying the streets of major towns and cities across 21 states of the country, demanding an end to police brutality, extrajudicial executions and extortion by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police tasked with fighting violent crimes.
“These protesters have been met with violence and excessive use of force. Nigerians who took to the streets have had enough of the lawless activities of SARS, and what they deserve is tangible reforms that will protect the human rights of the people. Nigerians are skeptical of authorities’ pledge to end police atrocities because the past claims of reforming SARS have turned out to be empty words.
“That police are still using excessive force on peaceful protesters, leading to injuries and deaths in Lagos, Ughelli, Abuja and Ogbomosho, throws through the window claims of any commitment to ending violations of human rights by Nigeria police.
“Firing live ammunition, water cannon, throwing tear gas into crowds, beating and arresting protesters is contrary to the Nigerian constitution of 1999 (as amended) and international standards. Journalists were also targeted, beaten and their filming equipment was either confiscated or destroyed.
“The rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution and it is completely unacceptable for the police – whose duty is to protect lives and property and uphold the rule of law – to use excessive force against protesters. The Nigerian authorities must immediately direct all security forces to protect peaceful protesters and refrain from attacking them.”