Rights group urges Nigeria to end police attacks on fuel protesters

LONDON (BNO NEWS) -- Amnesty International on Thursday urged Nigerian authorities to end the alleged excessive use of force against protesters after at least one person was killed earlier this week during protests over fuel price increases.

According to witnesses, a 23-year-old student was killed on Tuesday when police tried to disperse protesters in the state capital of Ilorin. However, police officials have claimed he was stabbed to death by other protesters, according to the London-based rights group. 

"The police have a duty to protect lives and property and uphold the rule of law. It is therefore completely unacceptable for them to use live ammunition against protesters," Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Africa
, said.

Under a controversial regulation, known as "Police Force Order 237", police officers can shoot at protesters whether or not they pose a threat to life. The regulation directs officers to fire "at the knees of the rioters" and prohibits firing in the air. 

"Force Order 237 is being abused by police officers to commit, justify and cover up illegal killings at every given opportunity. This regulation goes against international standards and should be repealed immediately," Rigaud said.

Thousands of Nigerians have taken to the streets across the country to protest against the removal of a state fuel subsidy that caused fuel prices and transport fares to double.
 Civil society groups and labor unions have announced further protests on Monday and Wednesday.

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