Johannesburg – The US has called for an investigation into the excessive use of force by the military in the alleged killing of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos on Tuesday evening.
The protests against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which erupted earlier this month have continued even after the government agreed to disband the unit, which was known for beating and torturing citizens.
In a statement on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US condemned the acts of the Nigerian Army.
“The United States strongly condemns the use of excessive force by military forces who fired on unarmed demonstrators in Lagos, causing death and injury.
“We welcome an immediate investigation into any use of excessive force by members of the security forces. Those involved should be held to account in accordance with Nigerian law,” said Pompeo.
He added that the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression were essential human rights and core democratic principles.
“We call on the security services to show maximum restraint and respect fundamental rights and for demonstrators to remain peaceful. We extend our condolences to the victims of the violence and their families,” he said.
In a nationwide broadcast on Thursday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the government was committed to preserving the unity of the country and it would continue to improve good governance through sustained engagement.
“We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected,” he said.
African News Agency (ANA)