By Bose Adelaja
Thousands of protesters who defied the Wednesday downpour to join the nationwide #EndDARS Protests in Alausa, Ikeja area of Lagos were taken aback as some hoodlums hijacked the protests to attack the protesters and road users.
The protests against the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and reform of the Nigerian Police which began on Wednesday October 7, 2020, has entered Day 8.
The incident occurred at about 4pm as the protesters marched in-between Alausa and Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.
The Wednesday protests were carried out amidst downpour across the state.
However, they were able to mobilise, countered the hoodlums and apprehended four of them.
Speaking with Vanguard, one of the protesters, Seun Abioye said the attack caught them unawares as the hoodlums numbering 15 came from nowhere to disrupt the protests.
It was gathered that before the protesters could bargain consciousness, the hoodlums have succeeded in snatching cash, smart phones and other personal effects as the protesters ran helter skelter before some of them regained boldness to counter the protesters who took to their heels on noticing that they were being overwhelmed.
While some of the hoodlums were able to escape unhindered, four were not so lucky as they were apprehended and handed over to the Police.
Narrating his experience to Vanguard, one of the protesters, Abdulahi Kazeem said the attack came at a time they least expected it. He said, “we have all relaxed since the Police were monitoring the protests, alas! The Policemen stood aloof and watched the the scenario. If we had not launched a counter-attack, many of us would have landed in the hospital,” he said.
According to him, the hoodlums came with matchets, cutlasses and broken bottles to attack the protesters thereby diatrupting the peaceful protests.
The protests which was more of a carnival of sort which kicked off at about 10am with chanting of National Anthem by all protesters at Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja.
The protesters were entertained with musicals by some Disck Jokeys (DJs).
While the protests were ongoing, some spirited Nigerians reached out to the protesters in cash and kind.
In a chat with Vanguard, the National Coordinator of Education Right Campaign Hassan Taiwo Soweto said the protests won’t be called off until their demands are met. “We are tired of fake promises by the government and we shall ensure the promises made during these protests are kept,”
Speaking further he said, we don’t trust a government that arbitrarily breach agreement with labour and trade unions. In 2009, the federal government entered into an agreement with Academic Staff University Union, ASUU but as I am talking to you, none have been met. How do you expect us to trust such government,?”
The protests disrupted free flow of traffic within Ikeja and it’s environ and Lagos/Ibadan Expressway as many road users could not meet up with various appointments.
Soweto urged road users to endure the pains, “parents should bear with us and endure the gridlock since the protests are in the interest of Nigerians. The traffic jam is unfortunate and all of f us should bear it. Labour unions should declare three days strike in solidarity for the protests while market men and women should also go on strike. This will send a signal to the government,” said the Comrade.
Similarly, protests were staged in VGC, Lekki and Sangitedo, Lagos State as the major roads in the axis were blocked by the protesters who were supported by key musicians, artistes and song writers in the state.
As at 11am, traffic gridlock has stretched from the Admiralty Way to A rahsm Adesanya, Lekki Phase 1 and their environ.