A group that has been key in organising protests against police brutality that have gripped Nigeria in the last three weeks has urged people to stay at home.

The Feminist Coalition also advised people to follow any curfews that may be in place in their states.

The move comes amidst reported threats against the group’s members.

The streets of Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, the centre of the protests, remained quiet on Thursday night but there is an atmosphere of fear.

Lagos and other parts of Nigeria have seen buildings torched, shopping centres looted and prisons attacked since Tuesday night’s shooting of protesters in Lagos.

Rights group Amnesty International said security forces killed at least 12 people, although Nigeria’s army has denied its involvement.

The protests began three weeks ago with mostly young people demanding the disbandment of a notorious police unit.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), which had been at the centre of protests against police brutality, was dissolved on 11 October.

On Thursday night President Muhammadu Buhari urged protesters to stop demonstrating and instead engage with the government “in finding solutions”.

He did not however mention the shooting of protesters in Lagos which has led to global condemnation and criticism.

Mr Buhari’s speech has been widely criticised on social media, the birthplace of the #EndSars movement.

For many it was tone deaf, in that it failed to substantially address some of the key demands of the protesters. But it also reinforced the disillusionment with the current regime many young Nigerians have been feeling, correspondents say.

What did the Feminist Coalition say?

In a statement posted on Twitter the group – which has been using the hashtag #EndSars to rally protesters – said that it condemned “every form” of violence that had occurred, saying that young Nigerians “need to stay alive to pursue our dreams to build the future”.

“We are merchants of hope. Our priority is always the welfare and safety on the Nigerian youth,” it said.

It added: “Following the president’s address, we hereby encourage all young Nigerians to stay safe, stay home, and obey mandated curfew in your state.”

The group also said that it would no longer be receiving money but will use $400,000 (£306,000), most of it donations from aboard, to fund hospitals bills, legal aid, and relief for victims of police brutality.

Other groups and celebrities have also been influential in organising the protests – it is not clear if they will follow the move by the Feminist Coalition.

It’s unclear what comes next for the #EndSARS movement. On the surface, most of their five points demands have been met:

But a key demand remains unanswered: there’s been no talk of compensation, or justice, for victims of police brutality and their families. Still, one thing is clear, there’s been a political awakening amongst young Nigerians at home and abroad.

There’s already talk of the 2023 presidential elections and using the lessons learnt during these protests to field a candidate to campaign on issues relevant to this youthful nation.

If the architects of the movement can keep the momentum gained over the past month, it may prove impossible to put the genie back in the bottle.

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