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Hearings begin into killings of Nigerian protesters

October 27, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A week after the killing of activists protesting police brutality in Nigeria's largest city, a Lagos state government judicial panel began hearings into the violence on Tuesday.

London (CNN)A week after the killing of activists protesting police brutality in Nigeria's largest city, a Lagos state government judicial panel began hearings into the violence on Tuesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted on Sunday that the panel had his "full support", but protesters say his administration has for years ignored their calls for reform.

Demonstrators took part in daily protests across Nigeria for nearly two weeks over widespread claims of kidnapping, harassment and extortion by a police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The eight-person Judicial Panel of Restitution at the Lagos Court of Arbitration will look at the claims against SARS, which was disbanded on October 11 in response to the protests, and also investigate last Tuesday's deadly incident at Lekki Toll Gate.

Amnesty International told CNN that at least 12 demonstrators had been shot dead at Lekki Toll Gate and another site last Tuesday by Army soldiers, who then took the bodies away.

The human rights group said at least 56 people have died across the country since the protests began, with about 38 killed last Tuesday alone.

Despite condemnation of the killings from the United States, United Nations and others, Sanwo-Olu insisted there was no international pressure on the government or the president to make reforms.

In addition to Tuesday's session, the tribunal will also hold hearings on Friday and Saturday this week and the public have been invited to submit claims to the court.

There are two young protesters on the panel who will represent the youth voice.

The anti-SARS marches have recently morphed into protests campaigning for police reform and an end to bad governance in the oil-rich country.

Many of the protesters said they have received multiple threats and there has been an attempt to blame them for the chaos, looting, and burning that followed the shootings last Tuesday.

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