The Nigerian presidency has said that at least sixty-nine people have been killed so far across the country in protests against police brutality.
A spokesman for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted by the BBC as saying that those killed include eleven police officers and seven soldiers.
On Tuesday at least twelve protesters were killed when soldiers opened fire on them at the Lekki tollgate.
The Nigerian army denied deploying those uniformed men to shoot at protesters, despite enough evidence to proof otherwise.
On Thursday, President Buhari said “I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost.
These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.”
Protesters in Nigeria have been demanding at end to police brutalities forcing the government to disband the notorious police unit called the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
The government then replaced the disbanded unit with a new one called the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) to carry out the duties handled by the Sars.
Protests have however continued for days with citizens not satisfied with the government’s response to reforming the police.
President Buhari however said “on approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.”
He added that “some Nigerians mistook as weakness, the swift response of his regime to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.”
The Nigerian leader has asked for an end to the rallies, saying the message had come through loud and clear.
The protests have subsided since Wednesday but there is still some level of uneasiness and tension in several cities in the country.