The United States condemned police brutality in Lagos Thursday, two days after at least 12 protesters were shot dead by Nigerian Security Forces.
“We welcome an immediate investigation into any use of excessive force by members of the security forces. Those involved should be held to account in accordance with Nigerian law,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Late Wednesday, Nigerian Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo expressed his condolences and promises justice for those shot dead at the Lekki toll plaza.
Osinbajo's comments, in a series of tweets Wednesday night, were the first public comments from the country's leaders referring to Tuesday’s shooting in Lagos state.
President Muhammadu Buhari — who has said little about the protests engulfing his country — did not mention the Lekki shootings in a statement Wednesday but issued a call for calm and vowed police reforms.
Amnesty International on Wednesday reported that a total of 38 people died on Tuesday. Amnesty also said at least 56 people have been killed over the past two weeks in protests directed at the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, which the international rights group accused of torture and murders.
The government disbanded SARS last week but that has not tempered the outrage, with some demonstrators defying a curfew on Wednesday, which reportedly lead to more shooting, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Amnesty also claims in its report that security cameras at the toll gates where protesters had gathered were removed by government officials prior to the shooting.
In addition to investigating what happened Tuesday night, the rights group also wants to know who gave the orders for the soldiers to be there, said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s military has denied responsibility for the shootings near the Lekki toll gates.
There were reports of shots being fired during demonstrations in other Nigerian towns, including the capital city, Abuja.
It is unclear if there were any casualties.