By Amos Fofung
The Chairperson of the African Union, AU, Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has in very strong terms condemned the violence that erupted on 20 October 2020 during anti SARS protests in Lagos, Nigeria.
In a press statement earlier this week, Moussa Faki Mahamat called on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to open up an investigation into the protest that has resulted in multiple deaths and injuries.
While extending his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the protest that pushed for the discontinuation of the country’s special anti-robbery squad (Sars), the chairperson urged for the adoption of conflict de-escalation technics in a bid to proffering a solution to the crisis that has crippled economic activities in most states across the country.
“The Chairperson appeals to all political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law. He further urges all parties to privilege dialogue in order to de-escalate the situation and find concrete and durable reforms,” a section of the release read.
he also went ahead to welcome the decision by the federal government to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) describing it as an important step in this direction.
Reiterating the African Union’s commitment to accompany the government and people of Nigeria in support of a peaceful solution, the AU chair pushed for the Nigerian authorities to conduct an impartial investigation to ensure the perpetrators of acts of violence are held to account.
US Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, and the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also joined in the condemnation of the killings and violent protest in Nigeria “The Nigerian government must urgently investigate reports of brutality at the hands of the security forces,” Raab said, adding that he was “alarmed by widespread reports of civilian deaths”.
Several international actors have taken to social media to condemn the repressive measures of the Nigerian government stating that the #endsars protest would not have gotten here if not for the state forces violent clamp down on demonstrators.
In his address Thursday night, Buhari dismissed the international condemnation as hasty insisting that “the international community should seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements”, he said.
Twenty-four-hour curfews have been announced in 10 Nigerian states hence shutting down many protests across the country.