A protester holds up a placard at Gani Fawehinmi square during a protest against a fuel subsidy removal in Lagos January 9, 2012. Picture: REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
At least five people were shot dead Monday during protests over an oil price hike in Nigeria while a nine-year boy was reportedly trampled to death by a crowd, officials and medical sources said.
Sixteen others suffered gunshot wounds, with most of the violence in the northern city of Kano, where police clashed with demonstrators.
The head of Nigeria's Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, said three people were shot dead in the economic capital Lagos while another was shot in Kano, where a boy also crushed to death in a stampede.
"My understanding is that the nine-year-old appears to have been trampled in what looks like a stampede in Kano," he told AFP.
Earlier, a hospital source in Kano reported at least two dead, a 25-year-old and 27-year-old, from gunshot wounds, bringing the nationwide toll to up to six.
A union leader accused police of shooting dead a protester in Lagos. Police spokesman Samuel Jinadu confirmed the death and said an officer had been arrested.
Police fired tear gas and shot into the air as thousands of protesters converged on the governor's office in Kano, the largest city in the north.
Clashes broke out with police who pushed the protestors back as they tried to enter the Kano governor's office, an AFP correspondent reported.
Protesters set two vans ablaze and also tried to torch the home of central bank governor Lamido Sanusi in Kano, but were stopped by police.
The office of the secretary of the state government, its highest administrative officer, was also set ablaze, causing serious damage.
The strike came after the government's deeply controversial move to end fuel subsidies on January 1, which caused petrol prices to more than double in a country where most of the 160 million population lives on less than $2 a day. -Sapa-AFP