|Protesters in Lagos on October 8, 2020 Source: Presbyterian Church U.S.A. News|
The Presbyterian Church (USA) in a recent statement expressed solidarity with the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN). In the statement, the Presbyterian Church (USA) applauded and recognized the passion and courage young people have shown in organizing protests against police brutality in Nigeria, and lamented the Nigerian military’s harsh responses to peaceful demonstrations.
Explicitly, Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was called out for their history of operating with impunity, despite numerous allegations of systematic human rights violations, including torture, kidnappings, extortions, extrajudicial executions, and arbitrary detentions.
These practices were heightened following the widespread and sustained protests that began back on October 8 after SARS officers were caught on video shooting an unarmed man.
Further, on October 20, SARS, police, and military support personnel attacked unarmed protesters resulting in the deaths of protesters who were shot singing the national anthem waving the Nigerian flag at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.
Acknowledging the prophetic witness of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, the Presbyterian Church (USA) called the Nigerian federal government to condemn security agencies from using excessive force to disperse protesters and called for “an end to police brutality, extortion, abuse of power, and extrajudicial killing in every form.”
Additionally, the Presbyterian Church (USA) called for comprehensive security policy reforms that enable Nigeria’s security forces to carry out their duties within properly established legal and ethical guidelines that will help promote the safety of both police personnel and the communities they serve.
Source: Presbyterian Church U.S.A. News