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Sports stars take to social media to condemn police brutality in Nigeria

Nigerian activist Aisha Yesufu tells CNN's Becky Anderson she's horrified by Nigerian forces opening fire on peaceful protesters in Lagos.

Posted: Oct 22, 2020 1:31 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2020 1:31 PM

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo and heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua took to social media to condemn police brutality in Nigeria, following eyewitness reports that soldiers opened fire on protesters in Lagos on Tuesday.

Demonstrators have taken part in daily protests across the country for nearly two weeks over widespread claims of kidnapping, harassment, and extortion by a police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Tuesday saw the state governor impose a 24-hour curfew and the deployment of anti-riot police to the city.

One witness at the protests, Akinbosola Ogunsanya, told CNN the shooting began after the lights were turned off at the Nigerian city's Lekki tollgate.

CNN has not yet been able to confirm casualties and the state governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said there were no fatalities.

Following Manchester United's 2-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, Nigerian forward Ighalo posted a video message on Twitter, pleading for intervention from world leaders as well as the United Nations.

"I'm sad and I don't know where to start from," Ighalo said from inside PSG's home stadium.

"The Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens, sending military to the streets to kill unarmed protesters because they are protesting for their rights. It's uncalled for."

He added: "I am ashamed of this government. We are tired of you guys and we can't take this anymore.

"I want to call my brothers and sisters back home to remain safe. Be indoors, please don't come [outside]. Because this government are killers and they will keep killing if the world does not talk about this."

Britain's world heavyweight boxing champion Joshua also tweeted a video on Tuesday with a message of support for the protestors.

Born in Watford, north west of London, to Nigerian parents, Joshua is proud of his connection to the African country.

The fighter has a tattoo of Africa etched on his right shoulder, with Nigeria visibly outlined.

"In my prayers at night, I'm praying for peace and positivity because I know the people on the ground aren't trying to be heard for their own benefit. It's of benefit for the next generation," he said.

Joshua later posted a succession of tweets: "The situation has escalated, the violence and killings are horrendous. All because of people saying they want to live in peace?

"I pray God opens the gates for the heroes of Nigeria! This was never a trend for me! It's real life and I want to learn how to make lasting change.

"I'm looking at hospitals to support, along with food and care packages in the time being."

READ: Odion Ighalo -- The footballer turning Nigerians into Manchester United fans

Former Nigeria international soccer star and two-time African Player of the Year Kanu Nwankwo also reacted to unconfirmed reports that protesters were killed during Tuesday's demonstrations.

"Pray for Nigeria [...] stop the killing and no more death #EndSARS #ReformTheNigeriaPolice," he tweeted.

"Why why why [...] stop killing our people #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG #UnitedNationsHelpNigeria #UnitedNations #UnitedKingdom #UnitedStatesofAmerica."

The controversial police unit was disbanded on October 11 and a replacement force will be trained by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Reuters reported Monday, but protesters in Nigeria have demanded further police reforms.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
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Lamar584480
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Union392873
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Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
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Tippah275665
Copiah274557
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Simpson271778
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Marion250778
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Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
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Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
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St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
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Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
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Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
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Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
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Wilcox120825
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Greene87032
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