Nigeria Panel Begins Probe of Police Brutality 

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A Nigerian judicial panel appointed to probe police brutality in Lagos, the country’s commercial capital and biggest city, started sitting with a brief that includes identifying gunmen in military uniforms that fired on demonstrators last week.

Two youth protesters were appointed into the panel to reflect “the commitment of Lagos to justice and compensation for the victims of police brutality,” said state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The body will investigate allegations of abuse, torture and extra-judicial killings by the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the unit whose excesses sparked the protests that started Oct. 5. Apart from evaluating complaints, the panel also is expected to recommend officers deserving of prosecution for their crimes, according to the governor.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed support for the establishment of the Lagos panel, saying on Twitter that he expected it to “help ensure justice is done on behalf of the peaceful protesters and law enforcement agents who sadly lost their lives.”

At least 51 civilians and 18 members of the security forces died in protest-related violence. Twelve people died after troops opened fire on crowds that gathered at two sites in Lagos on Oct. 20 in defiance of a state curfew, according to Amnesty International.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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