In the latest SARS Nigeria news, President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged all actors in the #EndSARS debacle to respect human rights and the rule of law.
Ramaphosa, who is also the African Union (AU) Chairperson, made the call while addressing the second AU mid-year coordinating meeting on Thursday. Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms were also represented.
He said, “As we meet here, we are deeply concerned about the violence that has taken place in recent days in Lagos in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We join the Chairperson of the AU Commission in calling on all political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law.
“We offer our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Widespread protests have rocked Nigeria in recent weeks against police brutality allegedly perpetrated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The Nigerian government subsequently disbanded SARS, but the protests continued amid calls for wider pro-human rights reforms and better governance.
Tensions peaked on Tuesday when security forces reportedly shot at protesters in Lagos. According to Amnesty International, at least 56 people have died in two weeks of protests, including 38 on Tuesday.
In a statement on Wednesday, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned the violence that occurred on Tuesday.
His statement added, “The Chairperson appeals to all political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law.
“He further urges all parties to privilege dialogue in order to de-escalate the situation and find concrete and durable reforms.”
Faki welcomed the disbandment of SARS as “an important” step towards these reforms, adding that the AU remained committed to help the government and people of Nigeria find a peaceful solution.