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Nigeria freezes police protest bank accounts

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Nigeria’s central bank has frozen the accounts of 20 prominent figures involved in protests against police brutality that rocked the country.

Africa’s most populous country was swept by weeks of demonstrations sparked police abuses in October that turned into one of the biggest challenges to the ruling elite in decades.

The demonstrations descended into widespread unrest after peaceful protesters were gunned down in Lagos on October 20 during a crackdown by security forces.

The protests have fizzled out in recent weeks but key organisers have complained of harassment including being barred from travelling abroad.

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The central bank said in a statement late Friday that a federal court ordered the freezing of the accounts “for a period of 90 days pending the outcome” of an investigation.

Among those targeted was one of the youth representatives sitting on a judicial panel in Lagos set up to probe the shooting of demonstrators.

The move saw the panel suspend a hearing at which senior army commanders were expected to give evidence on Saturday as the youth representatives boycotted it in protest.

The police say that 51 civilians and 22 officers were killed during the protests and subsequent unrest.

Amnesty International says the army and police shot dead at least 12 peaceful protesters in the heart of biggest city Lagos.

The security forces have denied they were responsible for the shooting.

Nigeria’s police chief on Saturday ordered “the deployment of all legitimate force” to curb any further unrest.

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