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Hearings begin into killings of Nigerian protesters

Sanwo-Olu: There is no international pressure 07:01

A week after the killing of activists protesting police brutality in Nigeria’s largest city, a Lagos state government judicial panel began hearings into the violence on Tuesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted on Sunday that the panel had his “full support”, but protesters say his administration has for years ignored their calls for reform.Demonstrators took part in daily protests across Nigeria for nearly two weeks over widespread claims of kidnapping, harassment and extortion by a police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The eight-person Judicial Panel of Restitution at the Lagos Court of Arbitration will look at the claims against SARS, which was disbanded on October 11 in response to the protests, and also investigate last Tuesday’s deadly incident at Lekki Toll Gate.

Tuesday saw only two complainants give testimony after the panel appeared over two hours late.

Both cases related to historical SARS brutality and not recent killings.The first petitioner, Okoye Agu, said that in 2012 he spent 47 days in SARS detention where officials tortured him and extracted two teeth.

He said his wife and mother, who came to try to help him, were also beaten.Agu also said his property and car were sold by SARS officials, and even though a court awarded him N10m ($26,000) in 2016, he hasn’t been compensated at all.

The second petitioner spoke briefly before his case was adjourned until next week so the police commissioner could be present.

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