Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos, Seye Ojo, Ibadan and Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The campaign against police brutality and extra-judicial killings continued on Friday with young Nigerians who occupied the entrance of Lagos State House of Assembly Complex rebuffing efforts by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Assemby Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa and others to vacate the area. Friday made it third day the protest began nationwide. The protesters, who spent the night at the entrance of the complex were demanding an immediate response and immediate disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives of the Nigeria Police. Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, also stood still on Friday for more than five hours as students and youths staged EndSARS protest, which halted human and vehicular movements in different parts of the city. The logjam was experienced in Ojoo, Agbowo, Samonda, Sango, Ijokodo, Eleyele, Jericho, Mokola, Total Garden, Orita-Mefa, Agodi-Gate, Yemetu, Bodija, Idi-Ape and other parts of Ibadan. The youths in Lagos decried their harassment by SARS operatives, lamenting the rate at which many young creatives are being battered and killed by trigger-happy police officers. All pleas by the state deputy governor, Hamzat, Assemby speaker, Obasa, lawmaker representing Surulere Constituency, Desmond Elliot and others to get the protesters vacate the complex entrance went in vain. A statement by the state commissioner for information, Gbenga Omotosho said the State Government has noted the protests against the reported highhandedness of the SARS operatives. “We know how painful it is to be victims of police brutality. It is not good. The message of the protests is clear – such acts of brutality must stop. We agree. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is discussing the issue with the Police authorities and hopes that the matter will be resolved in the interest of our teeming youths and in the spirit of democracy.”
The Ibadan protesters, who converged on the main gate of the University of Ibadan had marched through Bodija Market to the headquarters of the Oyo State police command at Eleyele, where they were addressed by the Commissioner of Police, Nwachukwu Ewonwu.
The procession caused congestion on all the major roads passed through by the protesters to Eleyele. They carried placards with inscriptions that included: ‘End police brutality,’ ‘We are Nigerians.’ ‘We are innocent,’ ‘Being a youth is not a criminal offence,’ and ‘Stop killing us.’After leaving Eleyele, the protesters also marched to the Oyo State Government secretariat, where they barricaded the road in front of the main gate of the secretariat for many hours. The gates leading to the secretariat were locked when some of the youths became unruly and were effectively prevented from gaining access to the secretariat.
Meanwhile, the Delta State Police Command on Friday said nine persons have so far been arrested in connection with the murder of a Corporal, Etaga Stanley during the #EndSARS protest in Ughelli area of the state on Thursday. His service rifle AK 47 with 25 rounds of ammunition was stolen.