By Luminous Jannamike
Nigerian youth calling for an end to police brutality and extrajudicial killings took to the streets of Abuja, painting #ENDSARS on the floor of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport entrance.
The protesters also stormed the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force to draw similar graffiti while chanting solidarity songs.
In the same vein, the youth vowed not to back down on their demand for justice for all victims of police brutality in the country, including those that were killed at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos penultimate week.
At the heart of the resumed protest is an unresolved dispute with the Federal Government over the implementation of the 5-for-5 demand of the #EndSARS protesters.
Some prominent activists, who took part in Sunday’s march include Omoyele Sowore, Deji Adeyanju, Raphael Adebayo, Sidney Usman and several others.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday, one of the protest coordinators, Raphael Adebayo, said: “Yes, we were at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport yesterday (Sunday) to remind Nigeria and the world that we are not tired yet. We also visited the IGP’s office at Force Headquarters, because we want to see genuine police reform.”
Asked why they resumed the #EndSARS protest even when President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the youths to come forward for negotiation with the Federal Government, he said: “You don’t demand justice on a negotiation table. You don’t send those guilty of murder to jail on a negotiation table. You don’t end impunity on a negotiation table.
“The change we want will not be forged on a negotiation table, it will be forged on the streets. #EndSARS is here to stay until the Federal Government listens. NO going back.”
Meanwhile, mixed reactions have trailed the resumption of #EndSARS protest in the nation’s capital.
Some residents said that the protest was necessary to keep the government on its toes, while others expressed worry that the resumed street demonstration could lead to another security clampdown on innocent civilians in Abuja.
Thompson Uti, a resident, said that the frustration in the country has been mounting making the protest necessary.
He urged the government to expedition action in the police reforms and other matters affecting the masses.
“The government has had enough time to turn things around for the people. But the masses believe they are not ready to change. So, we need the protests and even beyond what the youths are demanding with #EndSARS,” he said.
Similarly, another resident, Olawale Ali, said: “We must continue to demand justice for peaceful #EndSARS victims who were massacred at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos. May their patriotic memories of a just Nigeria bless us. May the National Anthem they chanted & the flag they held inspire patriotism.”
But in his opinion, Aaron Mgbame said that resuming the #EndSARS protest when those who perpetrated the alleged shooting of unarmed protesters in Lekki have not been brought to book could endanger more lives.
Mgbame, however, advised the protesters to develop a plan of action before hitting the streets again.
“Don’t resume the protest and you will not be found on the streets when trouble comes. Going to the streets right now will endanger more lives if we are going there is no clear-cut plan of action. Let’s take this agitation as a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.
Also, Sa’ad Ismail, said: “Those who resumed the #EndSARS protest should be thankful that Mr President is a good man. Were it not, all those who are inviting the resumption of the protest after the destruction and death that trailed the last attempt would have been arrested for interrogation.”