Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
At least two person have been feared dead and scores sustained varying degrees of gunshot injury on Friday in Benin, Edo state, as hoodlums hijacked the #EndSARS protest.
One of the dead protester was identified simply as Ikpomwosa.
The protest by hundreds of youths which began on a peaceful note at the city centre, later turned bloody, as the hoodlums clashed with the protesting youths.
The hoodlums were said to have suddenly appeared with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons to attack the protesters.
While some of the protesting youths took to their heels, others stayed back to persuade the hoodlums that the peaceful protest was for all of the youths and that they were not out to fight anybody.
It was further learnt that the hoodlums who were clad in red T-shirt, were saying “why are they disturbing our work,” and in the process brought guns, cutlasses and other dangerous to attack the protesting youths.
Some of those who received gunshot injuries in the ensuing violence were later rushed to the nearby Central Hospital, while the body of Ikpomwosa was convayed in an ambulance through the Reservation Road to the Government House.
One of the injured persons, Abere Godswill, during the attack, said the hoodlums descended on him thinking he wanted to video them while removing the cutlasses from their vehicle
“I didn’t joined the protest, I was coming from the bank when I met them on the road. Because I held phone in my hand, they started beating me saying I wanted to video them. They collected the phone and I had to run for my life,” he said
The youths however, later regrouped after the hoodlums had been chased away and continued the protest.
Also speaking, one of the protesters, Efosa Igbinoba, said they were at the Ring Road to protest police brutality and good governance in Nigeria, only to be attacked by hoodlums.
“We started the protest from Sapele Road, but on getting to the Ring Road, hoodlums just appeared from no where with cutlasses and guns to attack us and disrupt the protest.
“Our demands are, don’t end SARS and come with Swat. Police should be reformed as well as reduction of salary of the members of the House of Representative and the Senate,” he said.
Another protesters, Victoria Nkechi, (60), said she is on the street to support the youths in their protest for good governance.
“Years ago, I called for protest due to bad governance, but no body listen to me. Today, I am glad that they are protesting for good governance today,” she said.
Also speaking about the protest, Dennis Osaretin said they were out in solidarity with the protest that is currently going on across the states , calling for a total overhauling of the nation’s security architecture.
“I am here to show solidarity to the Nigerian youths on their recent call for the end of SARS and not just the end of SARS but for a total haul and reform of the Nigeria Police and the entire Nigeria security architecture and to a larger extent, a total reform and overhaul of the Nigerian states because all we are looking for now, is a state that works for all, a state that works for the youth, provides employment, provides safety and security for our people beyond the lips service.
“We have come out here to show that we are tired of the way the country is and we want something for a change at least for once”, Osaretin said.