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Black Lives Matter co-founder, others write open letter to Buhari over EndSARS protest

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A group of activists and celebrities have demanded that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari should hold police officers accused of shooting EndSARS protesters accountable.

The activists, in an open letter to Buhari, also asked the Nigerian government to release jailed protesters, lift a ban on protests and allow an independent human rights monitor investigation into “the actions that led to the killings at Lekki Toll Gate.”

The open letter was organised by the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Opal Tometi, 36, an American with Nigerian parents, and was signed by several activists and celebrities including climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg.

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Other signatories were actors Danny Glover and Kerry Washington, singer Alicia Keys, civil rights campaigner Angela Davis, US congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Nigerian-American rapper Jidenna and Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

“We care about the issues of police brutality no matter where they’re occurring,” Tometi told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

“The violence that people have been met with is intolerable,” she added.

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The letter came over one month after security men shot at peaceful protesters in Lagos. There are still claims and counter-claims about the number of people that died during the shooting and whether anyone died at all. Although, the Nigerian army have confirmed it was at the scene with live rounds, it said its personnel did not kill any protester.

Amnesty International has since tagged the episode a “fatal” one.

The shooting led to arson and looting of properties in the state. The government ordered a caution on any form of protest across the country and also ordered state governors to inaugurate judicial panels to investigate police brutality and the Lekki shooting.

There have been allegations of a witchhunt against popular supporters of the #EndSARS. While some have been unduly picked up by police, some others have had their bank accounts restricted to date.

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