Nigerian authorities have imposed a curfew in eight more federal states as troops are deployed to curtail further violence in which scores of people have been killed.
The new move followed a 24-hour curfew imposed on residents in the commercial capital Lagos as officials tried to curtail rising violence that marked the protests against Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria police.
The eight states are Edo, Ekiti, Ondo, Abia, Plateau, Osun, Kwara and Imo.
In Edo, protesters stormed a prison and freed more than 1,900 inmates. They also burnt public property.
The protests started peacefully on October 8, forcing the government to ban SARS and take other actions to redress injustices of the past as demanded by protesters.
The government directed all states to set up victim support funds to compensate victims of SARS brutality as well as set up judicial panels to listen to complaints.
But the protests worsened on October 20, degenerating into violence across all parts of Nigeria.
Apart from blocking major highways, many police stations were burnt down and some policemen killed.
In an update on the situation in Edo, the federal government reported on October 21 that 1,993 inmates had escaped during attacks on Nigerian correctional centres.
The government said that besides freeing the inmates, those who attacked the facilities looted the centres and also carted away weapons from the armoury.
The Director of Press in the Ministry of Interior, Mr Mohammed Manga, said: “They came in large numbers, bearing dangerous weapons and attacked the officers on guard duty. They were unmistakable on their mission, which was to force the cells open, free the inmates and carry out other nefarious activities.
“Two Nigerian Correctional Service Custodial Centres in Benin City and Oko in Edo State were attacked yesterday by protesters purportedly under the #ENDSARS aegis, freeing (at the last count) 1,993 inmates in legal custody and looting the centres, including the weapons in their armoury.”
In Lagos, a mega city of more than 20 million people, reports say that several people were killed and others injured after security forces opened fire on protesters in Lekki, the epicentre of the protests.
Following the shooting, the local government said the incident will be investigated.
Governors of Ekiti and Osun states narrowly escaped an attack in violence that led to destruction of malls, police stations and looting.
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In Plateau, a state that is recovering from an ethnic and religious crisis, a place of worship was razed down during the anti-police protests.
In Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, protesters blocked major roads, including Airport Road.
Some anti-protest youths have in some cases attacked the protesters.
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