…Protesters now ask for good governance
…Candlelight procession for victims
…To watch premiership matches on screen at Lekki today
…Plan Sunday service at same venue tomorrow
Four protesters died yesterday and scores of others were critically injured as protests by Nigerian youths against police brutality, tagged #EndSARS, entered day nine across the cities in the country.
Businesses and social activities were also paralysed while motorists groaned from gridlock witnessed on the road as a result of the protestS.
By Gabriel Enogholase, Ozioruva Aliu
The #EndSARS protest in Benin City, Edo state yesterday turned awry with two persons feared dead as suspected thugs hauled pebbles at the protesters who besieged the Edo State House of Assembly and shot sporadically into the air leaving one of the protesters identified simply as Ikpomwonsa dead and many injured. In reprisal, the protesters took the fight back to where the thugs were converging at the museum ground in King’s Square (Ring Road) and in the process, one of the suspected thugs was also said to have been shot dead.
The attack was said to have started when the suspected thugs tried to stop the protest which according to them would disrupt collection of levies from road transport drivers.
The protesters in anger engaged the suspected thugs in gunfire and later took their protest to government house where they insisted that the Deputy Governor, Hon Philip Shaibu should be part of their protest which he did as they all marched back to Ring Road.
A victim who was caught in the web during the free-for-all, Godswill Abere, had his forehead broken and smeared with blood. Mr Abere said he was not part of the EndSARS protest, but was given the beating of his life over alleged claims that he was taking pictures of the fight.
Many of the youths carried placards urging good governance some of which were directed at the National Assembly. One of the placards directed against the National Assembly read “Your Monthly Allowance Can Pay 100 Policemen”
Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki however condemned the attack on #ENDSARS protesters.
The governor, in a statement, charged the Edo State Police Command to come out in full force to provide adequate security to the protesters, as they were exercising their rights as concerned citizens of Nigeria.
According to him, “I have just learnt that hoodlums have attacked #ENDSARS protesters, who have conducted themselves peacefully in Benin City. I extend condolences to the victims of the attacks, including those who lost their lives and others who were injured by the thugs. It is disheartening that anyone would attack a peaceful assembly of young people who are expressing genuine concerns over police brutality and intimidation in their own country. I hereby call on the Edo State Police Command to get out on the streets and provide adequate security for the protesters and ensure that no one is harassed in the course of exercising their rights.”
By Dayo Johnson Akure
In Ondo, one person was reportedly killed and three others seriously injured as a car rammed into #ENDSARS protesters in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Vanguard gathered that the ugly incident occurred in front of the Governor’s office. Eyewitness account said that a Toyota Camry marked LND 778 GL and two commercial motorcyclists rammed into the crowd. While one person was said to have died on the spot, others were rushed to the state hospital. Contacted , the spokesperson of the state Police command, Tee Leo Ikoro confirmed the incident. The protest by the youths across all the tertiary institutions in the state entered the third day yesterday. Reports had it that # EndSARS protest was also held in Akokoland in the Northern senatorial district of the state yesterday.
Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
#EndSARS protesters in Abuja defied the ban placed on street demonstrations by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, and continued their mass action on Friday. The protesters, who were demanding justice for all victims of police brutality and killings, blocked the high-traffic Umar Musa Yar’Adua Highway a.k.a. Airport road. The road serves as a major entrance and exit to the nation’s capital.
Beginning their march from the Unity Fountain in Maitama district, the protesters stormed the City Gate and shut down the route to the airport. The relentless protesters, mostly youths, bore placards, flags, and banners that conveyed their demands in various forms. They finally put vehicular movement to a standstill at the popular Dantata bridge intersection of the road which they occupied.
Those who had flights to catch were forced to pick alternative routes. When it was 2:00pm, some Muslim youths observed their Juma’at prayers on the road. Similar demonstrations and Juma’at services on the road were also held at Gwagwalada. These mass actions came barely 24 hours after the ban by the FCT Security Committee was activated. The committee had directed that all street demonstrations, protests, and processions would not be allowed anywhere within its environs henceforth.
By James Ogunnaike
In Ogun state, the protesters who shut down Abeokuta and other major cities in the State paralyzed commercial activities. In Abeokuta, the State capital, the angry youths as early as 6am laid siege at strategic locations and halted free flow of vehicular movement in the state capital.
The popular NNPC under bridge leading to Kuto and Okemosan was completely shut down as protesting youths took over the road, singing solidarity songs.
Aapart from some operatives of the NSCDC, police officers were conspicuously absent at the locations.
Other locations taken over by the protesters included Panseke in Abeokuta, Sagamu, Sango – Ota and Ijebu – Ode. Some of the inscriptions on their placards read “Our voices must be heard”; “Say No to Police Brutality”; “Iphone no be gun”.
Speaking with newsmen, a veteran Nollywood actor, Yemi Sodimu said, “What we are seeing today and indeed for the past few days is the result of not paying attention to a young generation. You cannot continue to do the same thing the same way over a long period of time and expect a different result. These young ones are asking for a paradigm shift and whether we like it or not, we have to listen to them.”
In Lagos, the protesters partially shut the third mainland bridge in Lagos. The bridge, which connects the mainland part of the state to the island, is one of the busiest in the country. At 5:30pm on Friday, protesters chanting “End SARS!” prevented free flow of traffic on one section of the bridge, leaving people who are returning from work stranded. Motorists also groaned over gridlock on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as a result of protest The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions as they blocked the expressway, causing gridlock.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who monitored the situation reports that the gridlock affected both lanes of the expressway.
The gridlock which started from Mowe axis of the expressway in Obafemi-Owode Local Government, Ogun, had extended to Magboro end of Lagos axis. Passengers who could not bear with the gridlock were, however, seen trekking. Some of the motorists, who spoke with NAN expressed their displeasure over the situation. Mr Muyiwa Akande, a commercial driver, told NAN that he had been in the gridlock for more than five hours as at the time of filing this report.
Akande, who explained that he left Ibadan around 8 a.m for Lagos, said he was still in the gridlock as at 1p.m.
The protesters also held a candlelight procession last night for victims of police brutality at Lekki, which served as their meeting point. They will also view premiership matches on screen today and hold Sunday service at the same venue tomorrow.
By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
In Osogbo, the Osun state capital the protesters observed jumaat service on Gbongan-Osogbo express road. They were joined by truck drivers who were caught up in the gridlock and other motorists who could not make it to the mosque. The protesters arrived Olaiya junction in their numbers around 10am to continue their daily routine which was disrupted on Thursday by hoodlums, who attacked them.
The Osun Coordinator of RevolutionNow movement, Olawale Bakare, while addressing journalists said they were well prepared for the hoodlums who attacked the peaceful protesters yesterday, adding that their attempt to hijack the protest would not succeed.
He added that their demand was to overhaul the Nigeria Police and not replace SARS with SWAT without proper reform of the security outfit. To curb unexpected attacks, the protesters blocked the Odi-Olowo Olaiya road, Old-Garage to Olaiya and Okefia to Olaiya junction as well.
Businesses were paralysed as shop owners around Olaiya junction could not display their wares as some of the protesters were unruly and were harassing shop owners in the area.
However, when it was 2pm, the Muslims among the protesters decided to pray at the scene.
Meanwhile shortly after the prayers, some protesters were seen with dane gun, shooting into the air at intervals, while they defied downpour which lasted for about 10minutes, to ensure that no vehicle breached the barricades placed on the roads. After about seven hours, the protesters opened all the roads and ensured that normalcy returned to the express road.
The massive crowd of protesters in Anambra state converged on Awka, the state capital, from where they moved to the disbanded SARS office to demand the shut down of the facility. The Akwuzu SARS office, led by one James Nwafor, had been accused of arbitrary arrests, torture and extra-judicial killings.
The protesters, who were led by Chinedu Okoli, highlife maestro better known as Flavour; Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, a rapper better known as Phyno, Kingsley Okonkwo, singer better known as Kcee, were chanting “End SARS! End SARS!”.
Governor Willie Obiano, while endorsing the #EndSARS protest on Thursday, announced that Nwafor would be prosecuted. The governor said he would visit all the SARS offices in the state and ensure the immediate release of protesters who have been detained by the police.
Similarly in Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who described the protest as a solemn moment for the country, called for prayers and a minute silence for the departed souls of victims of extra-judicial killings in the nation. The governor, who was accompanied by his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Ezeilo, commended the protesting youth for their peaceful conduct and urged them to remain law-abiding.
He therefore promised them that his administration would intervene and look into their demands, accordingly.