Suspected hoodlums on Friday swooped on #EndSARS/SWAT protesters in Benin, killing two protesters.
Another protester was killed in Akure when a car rammed into protesters also on Friday.
But it was the other way round at Ikola, a Lagos suburb, on Thursday when a suspected protester smashed her car into a tricycle, killing two of its occupants.
The police said the suspect’s driving was reckless. Several people were injured in the three incidents.
The Nation reports that the protests continued in many parts of the country yesterday.
It was particularly intense on the Lagos/Ibadan expressway where the protesters blocked the road to traffic, and Abuja where youths barricaded the Abuja city gate and the airport road, leaving motorists and commuters in severe agony.
Elder statesman and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Afe Babalola, called for an immediate dialogue between the federal government and the youths with a view to finding a solution to the lingering crisis.
He warned that delay in resolving the issue on time could be dangerous.
And the man who was instrumental to the setting up of the now disbanded anti-robbery squad in 1984, Mr. Fulani Kwajafa, says he now feels “sad” and “guilty” about what the agency turned out to become.
“SARS of today is not the same SARS I established in 1984,” Kwajafa told the BBC.
One of the Benin victims, identified as Ikpomwosa, was shot. The name of the other victim was not immediately available. He was macheted.
The hoodlums, who were mostly in red tee-shirts, struck at Ring Road, close to the Oba of Benin Palace.
Eye witnesses said the hoodlums claimed the protesters prevented them from making money from their daily issuance of tickets to commercial drivers.
The other protesters scampered to safety and then regrouped and continued moving round Benin and its environs.
They terminated the protest at Government House.
We gathered that injured protesters were treated at the nearby Edo State Government-owned Central Hospital, Benin.
Ikpomwosa’s body was taken away in an ambulance while the other deceased was taken away by some of the protesters.
One of the protesters, Efosa Igbinoba, said: “We started the protest from Sapele Road, Benin, but on getting to Ring Road in the state capital, hoodlums suddenly appeared with cutlasses, guns and other dangerous weapons and they attacked us, thereby disrupting the protest, but we quickly regrouped.
“We are demanding police reformation. We are undeterred. We will continue with the protest, until the police are reformed.”
A furious Governor Godwin Obaseki condemned the attack and charged security agencies to ensure that protesters were adequately protected.
He said: “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.”
Edo State Government gives security agencies 24 hours to fish out killers of the protesters.
Addressing the protesters at the Kings Square in Benin City, Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, said the government will not fold its arms and watch harm come the way of young people exercising their rights as citizens of the country.
He said he had directed security agencies to “fish out those behind the attack.”
He added: “The police, the Department of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies have been ordered to bring to book those guys that harassed you and killed that young man.”
“Some of you sustained injuries; I can see them from here; they have 24 hours to bring the attackers to book.
“I have ordered that the victim be taken to the morgue; we are going to give him a state burial because the martyrs of this struggle must be remembered. He will be remembered for being part of this struggle. He is a martyr already and by the grace of God, he will never be forgotten.
“By the grace of God, when all these reforms have taken place, it will be on record that he joined the struggle for emancipation. I want to assure you that the Edo Government believes in your peaceful protest.
“We will not fold our hands as a government and watch miscreants brutalise anyone involved in this protest. So, please maintain your calm and orderliness during the protests.
“We are with you in this struggle. President Muhammadu Buhari has also said that there is going to be a reform, but we, as a state, are going to ensure that we have a reform that is people-friendly because the police are meant to protect lives and property not to destroy them. I want to assure you that we are with you on this.”
Car rams into protesters, kills one, injures three
A Toyota Camry car and two commercial motorcycles rammed into the Akure protesters killing one person on the spot. Three others were injured.
The incident occurred close to the Ondo State Governor’s Office.
Ondo Police spokesman, ASP Tee-Leo Ikoro, who confirmed the incident, said the bereaved family had agreed to accept their fate.
The family requested for the body for burial.
‘Reckless’ protester kills two in Lagos
In Alimoso area of Lagos on Thursday, an alleged protester smashed her car into a tricycle during the #ENDSARS protest in the area.
The Lagos State Police Command said it arrested one Mrs. Nike Lawal of 30 Anjorin Street, Aminkanle, Lagos State, for driving recklessly and killing two innocent persons with her Toyota 4Runner SUV.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in a statement, identified the victims as Ojo Azeez, 27, and Yusuf Sodia, 26, both of Command road, Alagbado, Lagos State. He said the men died on the spot.
He said: “The suspect, who intentionally removed the number plates on her SUV, shortly after the accident, joined the protest at AIT junction, Alagbado, and started driving recklessly before the fatal accident.
“The Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has commiserated with the families of the deceased and assured them of the command’s commitment to obtain justice in the case.”
Adejobi also said that Odumosu had arrested and commenced an orderly room trial of the four policemen who were caught assaulting a young lady protester in a viral video at Surulere on Monday.
He said the policemen are Inspectors Bagou Micheal, Ekpoudom Etop, Nnamdi Makita and Akinyemi Benson.
According to Adejobi, “The policemen, who are attached to the Divisional Police Headquarters, Surulere, Lagos State, are cooling off in the cell while the orderly room trial continues. He has also ordered the arrest of the policeman who slapped an aged mother in another viral video at Iyun Street, Surulere, on the same day.”
#EndSARS protesters in Lagos State and Abuja were scheduled to hold candlelight processions last night in honour of victims of extrajudicial killings in the country.
Motorists groan as protesters block Lagos-Ibadan expressway
The protests continued in many parts of the country yesterday but it appeared to have been more intense on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where protesters blocked the road and Abuja where youths barricaded the Abuja city gate and the airport road, leaving motorists and commuters in severe agony.
The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions as they blocked the expressway, causing gridlock on both sides of the road.
The gridlock which started from Mowe axis of the expressway in Obafemi-Owode Local Government, Ogun, extended to Magboro end of Lagos axis.
Passengers who could not bear the gridlock resorted to walking.
Some of the motorists, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), expressed displeasure over the situation.
Mr. Muyiwa Akande, a commercial driver, said he was in the gridlock for more than five hours.
Akande, who explained that he left Ibadan around 8 am for Lagos, said he was still in the gridlock as at 1pm.
“Ordinarily, this journey should not take me more than one and half hours maximum but I have spent more than five hours in the gridlock,” he said.
“This is terrible and something urgent must be done.”
Another driver, Mr. Ismail Olayiwola, said he left Osogbo as early as 7 am with the hope of getting to Lagos before 11am but was surprised to meet the gridlock in Mowe.
Olayiwola said he had spent more than six hours in the gridlock.
He appealed to the youths to put a stop to the protest for the sake of the masses.
Protesters defy ban order, block airport road, Abuja
Youths in Abuja defied the ban placed on protests by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and took to the streets afresh yesterday.
The protesters blocked the city gate and also the ever busy Airport Road disrupting vehicular movement and other activities.
The security committee of the Federal Capital Territory Administration had on Thursday said ongoing protests endangered the lives of Abuja residents and placed a ban on the street protests.
The security committee described the protests as a violation of safety rules.
But the protesters said it would take more than a notice of ban or other form of threat from the government to make them drop their agitation.
Endsars protesters take over streets in Ogun
The protesters also stormed the major streets of Abeokuta yesterday, paralysing commercial activities.
The protesters were buoyed the more by the presence of a Hip Hop artist, Kizz Daniel.
Some of the inscriptions on their placards read “Our voices must be heard”; “SARS Na Fraudster#EndSARS”; “No More Audio Ban”; “Say No to Police Brutality,”
“Iphone no be gun.”
Protesters disrupt Fayemi’s address at state assembly
Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, was similarly grounded yesterday by the protests.
The protesters, who converged at the popular Fajuyi Park, blocked major roads in the city, causing traffic gridlock.
Motorists were stranded for hours and some were forced to take alternative routes to their destinations.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, who was on his way to the State House of Assembly for a State of the State address to mark his second anniversary as governor, was forced to stop and speak to the protesters.
While reiterating that the youths had genuine agitation for holistic reforms in the police, Fayemi appealed to them to continue their protest in a peaceful manner and avoid it being hijacked by hoodlums.
The governor, who had a hectic time addressing the youths, noted that the government at the federal and the state level had received their demands, saying steps were being taken towards renewing the confidence of the people in the police.
The protesters later stormed the House of Assembly when Fayemi was presenting the State of the State address, disrupting the event.
It took the intervention of the police for Fayemi and other dignitaries to be whisked out of the place unhurt, as the protesters became unruly.
SARS founder, Kwajafa ‘sad ‘over disbanded unit’s turnabout
The man who was instrumental to the setting up of the now disbanded SARS, Mr. Fulani Kwajafa, says he is now sad and guilty about the unit’s turnabout.
“SARS of today is not the same SARS I established in 1984,” Kwajafa told the BBC.
“I always tell my wife that I was sad [that] what I created with good purpose and direction has been turned into banditry.
Although he expressed support for SARS and the creation of a Special Weapon and Tactics Team (SWAT) in its place, the retired police officer said the changes might be undermined if there’s no “change in mentality.”
The former police boss accused the agency of “brutality” saying that the officers’ acts could have been driven by “greed.”
Dialogue with #Endsars protesters to avert revolution, Babalola tells FG
The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), yesterday told the Federal Government to dialogue with the youths protesting against police brutality and to meet their demands.
He also advised President Muhammad Buhari to caution Police Inspector General Muhammed Adamu against the use of force on the protesters, saying acting otherwise could lead to a revolution.
Babalola spoke at ABUAD Farm while addressing farmers across the 16 local government areas of the state at a session in commemoration of World Food Day.
He stated that the youths are not only protesting against police brutality but also the ‘insurmountable problems’ of poverty, unemployment, corruption, systemic and leadership failure.
Babalola said Nigeria’s future looked threatened if the hydra-headed problems afflicting the country were not addressed, adding that Nigerians were struggling with poverty in its naked form.
He condemned the attacks on aggrieved Nigerian youths protesting against extra-judicial killings, extortion and harassment, describing the actions as illegal and unconstitutional.
“It’s sad that our police authorities could stoop so low to have attacked Nigerians protesting against brutality, extortion and harassment by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad,” he said.
“Protest is a legitimate way of expressing opinions concerning government actions or inactions. The rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are guaranteed under the constitution as fundamental rights.
“So, it’s fundamental that people should have a right to protest. Our youths took to the streets protesting because there is something paining them. They are telling the people in power that there’s pain. The pain may be poverty, unemployment, corruption and what the police are doing; and so, no sensible government will not react to it.
“It is expedient that the government should negotiate immediately and meet their demands to avert revolution.”
Some activists call for suspension of protest
A civil society group, Activists for Good Governance (AGG) and its allies yesterday called for the suspension of the on-going #EndSARS protest to allow the Federal Government and the police authorities carry out the promised reforms.
AGG made the call at a press conference on the #EndSARS protest at the International Press Center at Ogba, Lagos.
Co-Convener of AGG, Comrade Gbenga Soloki, said the government has to demonstrate genuine commitment to fulfill the promises made so as to restore the confidence of the people.
The Convener, Comrade Declan Ihekaire, asked the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to step down honourably and apologise to Nigerians that it took this long for him to scrap and replace SARS despite series of their activities that he has been aware of.
Soloki said: “The sad truth is, trust has been lost! But the Nigerian government has the opportunity to rally the civil society and the organised private sector now to stem the tide and win the trust of the Nigerian people by implementing a comprehensive reform of the Nigerian police.
AGG said if within one week it did not see a genuine demonstration of the commitment; it would not hesitate to call out its members across the nation for a coordinated action against the federal government “that will make the on-going rehearsal look like a kindergarten prep”.
While acknowledging the scrapping of SARS by the IG, Soloki said what was required immediately was a complete review and overhaul of the policing system in Nigeria.
He said: “we are of the view that the hasty renaming of SARS as another Special Weapon and Tactics Team (SWAT) is a poorly conceived approach to solving an endemic problem.
“We don’t just want a change in name but a complete reform of the standard operating procedure of the new crime-bursting outfit and indeed the Nigerian police.”
AGG placed the following demands on the government, which includes an immediate end to all forms of police brutality, setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry into the operation of the disbanded SARS to bring offenders to book.
Other activists present at the briefing were: Rasak Oladosu of Grassroots Democratic Initiative, Shina Loremikan of Campaign Against Impunity and Raheem Ajayi of The Development Initiative and others.
Falz, Joe Abah say no to meeting on police brutality
Nigerian rapper, Folarin Falana, a.k.a Falz, and Joe Abah, former Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, yesterday withdrew from a virtual meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports to discuss police brutality.
Lined up for the meeting were Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu, human rights activist Segun Awosanya, Falz and Abah.
Falz said he pulled out because he was given false information on the event.
Abah soon followed suit citing absence of more youth voices.
“Following @falzthebahdguy’s withdrawal from this event & the absence of more youth voices, I will regrettably no longer be moderating this event,” Abah said.
“I was only ever meant to be the moderator. Nothing else. I suggest that the format for the event be changed to hear more youth voices.”
The protesters’ hashtag #EndSars has been receiving endorsement across the world.
Endorsements have come from such global celebrities as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, US rapper Kanye West, gospel singer Kirk Franklin, footballers Mesut Ozil and Marcus Rashford.
On Friday, Twitter launched a clenched fist emoji in a show of support for the protests.