Local authorities in Lagos ordered the indefinite closure of schools on Tuesday, October 20, ahead of further planned protests against police brutality in the city. The Lagos State schools commissioner stated that the decision had been made in the interests of student safety and encouraged schools to undertake distance learning, but did not indicate when they would be permitted to reopen.
The announcement follows a day of large-scale protests linked to the #EndSARS social media campaign on Monday, October 19, which saw severe business and transportation disruptions in several areas of the commercial capital. Thousands of protesters reportedly took to the streets in the Ogba and Ikeja areas of the city, blocking traffic throughout the day on a number of major roads including those around Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS), and disrupting some flights. Dozens of smaller protests were also held in other areas of the city. Although most of the protests passed relatively peacefully, some clashes were reported.
Further large-scale protests are expected in Lagos on Tuesday, with many businesses in the city suspending operations and travel due to the expected disruptions. The main gatherings are scheduled to be held at the Lekki Toll Gate and around government offices in the Alausa area of the Ojodu district, but protests are likely throughout the city.
Further travel and business disruptions are likely in Lagos and other towns and cities throughout Nigeria in the near term, with violent unrest remaining likely in flashpoint areas.
A series of protests organized by the #ENDSARS social media campaign have been held across Nigeria over the past few months and have intensified in recent days, with demonstrations having led to several fatal clashes between protesters and security forces. Unrest has continued despite an announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari that the controversial SARS police unit would be disbanded and replaced by a new agency called SWAT, a move which protesters have rejected.
Those in Lagos are advised to monitor the situation, adjust travel itineraries and avoid unnecessary overland movement in the immediate term, avoid the vicinity of any demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.