The Nigerian military has issued a warning to “subversive elements and trouble makers” to desist after a week of protests about police brutality.
The government has also banned protests in the capital Abuja, citing public safety measures to tackle Covid-19.
Demonstrations against police brutality have taken place in cities across Nigeria in the past week.
The protests have continued despite authorities agreeing to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars).
The unit has been accused of extrajudicial killings, extortion and torture, especially of young people.
Protesters say that groups of men wielding machetes and other weapons have attacked them over the past two days, in both Abuja and the country’s biggest city, Lagos.
Army spokesman Col Sagir Musa said in a Facebook post: “The NA [Nigerian army] hereby warns all subversive elements and trouble makers to desist from such acts as it remains highly committed to defend the country and her democracy at all cost.”
He went on to offer to “support the civil authority in whatever capacity to maintain law and order and deal with any situation decisively”.
The statement has been received as a veiled threat by protesters, reports the BBC’s Chris Ewokor from Abuja.
Find full statement below:
NIGERIAN ARMY REMAINS RESOLUTE TO THE PEACE AND STABILITY OF THE NATION
1. The Nigerian Army (NA) wishes to reassure law abiding citizens that it is highly committed to the sustenance of peace, security and defence of democracy in Nigeria. As a responsible and law abiding organisation, the NA reaffirms its unalloyed loyalty and commitment to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari and the Constitution of the Country.
2. The NA hereby warns all subversive elements and trouble makers to desist from such acts as it remains highly committed to defend the country and her democracy at all cost. The NA is ready to fully support the civil authority in whatever capacity to maintain law and order and deal with any situation decisively. All officers and men are directed never to be distracted by anti democratic forces and agents of disunity.
Acting Director Army Public Relations
14 October 2020