…Buhari, Osinbajo’s daughters, celebrities join campaign
…Protests spread home and abroad
…Kaduna protesters want squad officers deployed to fight terrorism in N/East
By David Royal, Tunde Oso, Lagos, Shina Abubakar, Osogbo, Boluwaji Obahopo, Lokoja, Adeola Badru, Ibadan, James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The nationwide #EndSARS protests gained more global support, yesterday, with international celebrities such as John Boyega, Cardi B, Big Sean, Trey Songz, Temi Otedola and Chance the Rapper declaring support for the campaign from their United States, United Kingdom, Canada and European bases.
Renewed protests against SARS had erupted a week ago after a video went viral, showing a man allegedly gunned down in Delta State by operatives of the police unit. Nigerians yesterday continued the nationwide #EndSARS protest march in defiance of an appeal for calm by Buhari on Friday.
In Ogbomosho, Oyo State, one Jimoh Isiaka, who was reportedly shot later died at Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso. Abdulrasaq Olawale, Oluwadamilare Gbolohunmi, and five other persons sustained injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.
Angry Governor Seyi Makinde declared the situation as highly regrettable.
According to him, “I have contacted the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, and other relevant agencies and investigations into what led to the unfortunate incident are still ongoing. I pray that God grants the parents of Jimoh Isiaka the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss”.
Protesting youths were stopped at Ogun State Government House, especially as Governor Dapo Abiodun was not there to address them.
The peaceful protest later turned on its head when the protesters stormed the palace of the Olowu of Owu in Abeokuta, venue of the 2020 Owu Day Festival and vandalised Ogun Deputy Governor Noimot Salako Oyedele’s vehicle and also injured a police officer. In Imoru, Ijebu-Ode, some irate youths attacked a police station in the town, vandalising and looting the station. The youths, who were seen in a video footage, destroyed police patrol vehicle, while window glasses and doors were broken. Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, condemned the incident, warning youths against such acts.
In Abuja, #EndSARS protesters camped at @PoliceNG HQ, Abuja for many hours chanting various slogans and singing. In Lagos State, placard-carrying protesters chanted “EndSARS” as they marched through the streets peacefully.
#EndSARS protesters in Kaduna asked the Federal Government to redeploy the SARS operatives to the North East to fight banditry, terrorism and other security challenges. One of the protesters, Mohammed Safiyanu, said, “They should go and fight them if they are not ready to end it. They should stop killing our innocent youths. Kaduna State Government should take SARS to Birnin Gwari, there are many people dying there. They deserve to be there, not inside the town. They don’t deserve their brutality.
Protesters in Iwo, Osun State stormed Oluwo’s Palace, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, and, disappointed that the monarch was not in the palace, headed to the Adeeke Divisional Police Headquarters, where they were received by the Divisional Police Officer. President of the Federation of Iwoland Students union (FILSU), Mr. Iromini Ismail, in his address, accused SARS operatives of impunity and brutality.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Zahra, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s daughter, Kiki, also weighed-in on the protests.
Zahra shared an image on her insta-story that said: “#EndPoliceBrutality”. Kiki Osinbajo also shared a post on her Instagram page saying “Police brutality must end now” using the hashtags #endpolicebrutality and #endsars.
In his tweet, John Boyega, a British-Nigerian actor, said, “Three years ago Nigeria’s police chief re-organised SARS after public condemnation about the violence that came with their operations. That change has done nothing for Nigerians and today many are still in danger.”
According to Trey Songz, “Police brutality here in America often is an abuse of power driven by race. To be brutalized, extorted and murdered by your own people is unimaginable. Prayers up and I’m researching ways I can help. #EndSARS.”
Chance The Rapper also weighed-in: “I just started reading up on this travesty taking place in Nigeria. If you have more info to dispense in the replies, I’m all ears.
Segun Awosanya (SEGALINK), Convener of the #EndSars movement, said, “Calls for #EndSars increased because people are beginning to see that there is a gap in the implementation and execution of the change that they have been yearning for.”
The Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria said, “Across the country, Nigerians are protesting for an end to SARS’ extortion, brutality and extra-judicial killings. Yet, at this time, @PoliceNG officers are ripping it apart, shooting and tear-gassing peaceful protesters without provocation. This reveals their true nature. #EndSARS!”
Country Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, Idayat Hassan, on her part, urged Buhari to disband SARS now, saying the unit was beyond reforms.
DCP Frank Mba, Police Force Public Relations Officer, however, maintained that SARS cannot be scrapped because of the ongoing fight against crime in the country.
“We need them to continue to respond to violent crimes. We need them to continue to respond to armed robberies. We need them to continue to respond to kidnappings,” he had said.
Meanwhile, Osun State Governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, pleaded with citizens to remain calm in the face of the protests, adding that government was already responding to their outcry.
Speaking through his Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, the governor urged them not to take the law into their hands considering that Osun is a peaceful state, and the President had promised to reform the police.
Also urging caution, Co-ordinator, Sub-Sahara Peace and Awareness Foundation, Mr. Abdullahi Ali-Kano, in Kano, canvassed a holistic reform of the security organization to enhance its operations, and protect lives and property in the country.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) too cautioned that the protests may develop into a full blown chaos if care was not taken.
It’s National Public Relations Officer (PRO), Comrade Adeyemi Azeez, in Abeokuta, raised the alarm that the protests had already been hijacked by hoodlums to take advantage to wreak havoc on law abiding citizens.