Nigeria’s police chief on Friday rejected an Amnesty International report detailing killings and excessive use of force by security forces during the recent #EndSARS protests in the country.
In a report on Oct. 21, the rights group said Nigeria’s army and police killed at least 12 people during demonstrations this month against police brutality and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), an infamous unit accused of killings, rape, torture, and extortion.
It said witnesses, video footage, and hospital reports confirmed that Nigerian forces “opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality.”
Claiming that security personnel “acted professionally and exercised commendable restraint,” Mohammed Adamu, Nigeria’s inspector general of police (IGP), said the Amnesty International report was “untrue, misleading and contrary to all available empirical evidences.”
“The IGP noted that during the protests, officers of the Force used legitimate means to ensure that the protests were carried out in a peaceful manner and in most cases, physically protected and walked side-by-side with the protesters,” the Nigeria Police Force said in a series of tweets.
Adamu said 22 police personnel were killed and scores more injured during the protests, while 205 police stations and other infrastructure was damaged.
“Despite these unprovoked attacks, our police officers never resorted to use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters as alleged in the [Amnesty International] report,” he said.
The #EndSARS demonstrations started earlier this month and snowballed into violence in various Nigerian cities, with several buildings, including a prison, warehouses, malls, and a media outlet’s headquarters, damaged.
Security forces remain deployed in various parts of the country and curfews have been imposed in several states, including Lagos, Edo, and Rivers.