ABUJA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) — The Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) has urged the Nigerian government and the protesters to pursue dialogue for an “early and amicable” resolution of the protests against police brutality across the country.
In a statement reaching Xinhua on Thursday, the ECOWAS Commission also called on “all protesters to remain peaceful in the conduct of their demonstrations”, and encouraged the Nigerian authorities to conduct investigation of cases of police brutality rapidly. “ECOWAS Commission appeals to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Nigerian youth and the civil society to urgently pursue dialogue for an early and amicable resolution of this social unrest and maintain the Nigerian image as a bastion of law and order,” the statement said. Tensions rose in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, and other parts of the country since the beginning of the week when suspected hoodlums reportedly took control of the peaceful protests by citizens calling for extensive reform of the police.
The regional bloc said it noted with concern that demonstrations by Nigerian youth calling for police reform, particularly the abolition of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force, accused of misconduct by those demonstrating, have turned violent. ECOWAS further urged the Nigerian security operatives to exercise restraint in the handling of the protests and act professionally.