The demonstrations in Nigeria over police brutalities are having a negative effect on the country’s economy. According to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), nationwide protests have cost the nation’s economy $1.8 billion over the last 12 days.
In a statement, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Toki Mabogunje, said the LCCI appreciates the value of citizens’ engagement and the demand for accountability which the EndSARS protest essentially represents.
“Over the past twelve days, economic activities have been crippled in most parts of the country and has been particularly profound in the urban areas, she said. “The Nigerian economy has suffered an estimated N700 billion ($1.8 billion) loss in the past twelve days.”
Mabogunje said the demonstrations had been impactful and profound, adding that the protest has achieved some significant outcomes given the reawakening that it has generated in reforming the shortcomings in Nigeria’s political governance and the fact that some of the demands of the protesters have been met.
Nigeria is still reeling from the shocks of the pandemic and struggling to recover from its devastating effects. For the first time in more than a decade, Nigeria’s economy is in recession. The oil industry is the country’s main economic stay.
On Tuesday, Nigerian security forces reportedly opened fire on demonstrators at a protest site in the commercial capital Lagos hours after the state imposed a curfew amid rallies against police brutality in Nigeria. Witnesses told Reuters that the soldiers fired at the protesters in the Lekki district of the capital on Tuesday.
“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, a security officer. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said.
The Cable reports that at least three people have died in the shooting. Amnesty International has said in a statement it had received “credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos.” It said it was investigating “the killings”.
Footage seen on social media show scores of people demonstrating while other Nigerians are calling for an end to the reported shootings. The Nigerian army in a post on Twitter denied deploying soldiers to attack #EndSARS protesters who assembled at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a series of tweets said 25 people had been wounded. The governor of the largest city in Africa also described the shooting incident on Tuesday night as among the “darkest hours from our history as a people.”
“As the Governor of our state, I recognise the buck stops at my table and I will work with the FG (federal government) to get to the root of this unfortunate incident and stabilise all security operations to protect the lives of our residents,” Sanwo-Olu added.
Lagos, including four other states in Nigeria, has announced an indefinite curfew after claiming criminals have hijacked the protest. For two weeks now, thousands of people have been taking to the streets of Abuja and Lagos demanding an end to police violence. The protesters first demanded the shutdown of a notorious police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which has long been accused of extortion, torture and extrajudicial killings.
Following days of widespread protest, the authorities disbanded SARS and reassigned personnel to other units.