BRITAIN’S high commissioner to Nigeria has shut down all of the country’s visa centres and offices for the next 48 hours in response to the ongoing protests against the massacre of Nigerian youths at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.
Last night, the men of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army opened fire on unarmed protesters at the toll gate, in what is being referred to as Nigeria’s Sharpeville Massacre. Over the last fortnight, the young and peaceful protesters had been demonstrating against police brutality and had been calling for the dissolution of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit.
Yesterday morning, however, the nationwide protests descended into violence as government-sponsored thugs attacked protesters. In response, hoodlums attacked police stations and officers of the force, sending the whole nation up in flames, to which Governor Sanwoolu responded with a curfew due to start at 4pm.
As dusk approached, workers at the toll gate began removing the CCTV cameras at the facility, so what was being planned would not be recorded. Then, under the cover of darkness, the Nigerian Army attacked shooting at unarmed civilians, killing dozens and injuring scores.
Leading to widespread anger, the killings have sparked off fury across Lagos State today with angry demonstrators burning down the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Governor Sanwoolu’s family home, the TVC News premises and the Nigerian Ports Authority building in Apapa. In response, the UK high commission has decided to close all its centres in the country for the next 48 hours.
All appointments for Thursday and Friday have been rescheduled for Monday, October 26. It is not yet clear what will happen, however, if the protests spread into next week or escalate any further.
A high commission spokesman said: “Due to the ongoing protest in Nigeria and for the safety of both staff and applicants, our Nigeria centres will be closed for 48 hours at a minimum. For applicants with booked appointments within this period, please you will need to reschedule your appointment for next week, from 26th October 2020.
“We will continue to post regular updates on this page, so please keep checking back for the latest information on reopening. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.”