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The ENDSARS protest, which failed to end with IGP Mohammed Adamu’s dissolution of the special police squad, has now spread across the country.
Angry protesters, mainly youths, yesterday, continued with their march, calling on Federal Government to address police brutality holistically, reward victims and reform the architecture of governance.
Activities were grounded in major cities, including Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where the National Assembly initiated budgetary provision for victims as Senate mourned the dead and honoured ‘matyrs’ of ENDSARS protests. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the House was planning to make budgetary provision to compensate victims of the ENDSARS agitation.
President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, said the nationwide protests against killings and brutality against citizens remained within the ambit of the law.
Lawan assured that those found culpable of Police brutality against Nigerians would be brought to face the weight of the law.
Apart from Lagos and FCT, traffic and some economic activities were, yesterday, disrupted in southwest states of Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti; the South South states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Edo and Delta . The Southeast states of Enugu and Ebonyi also experienced massive protests, the same for the northern states of Kaduna, Borno Kano, where there were counter protests to sustain SARS.
Borno State Network for Civil Society Organisations (NCSO) specifically kicked against disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad and demanded that the unit be brought to the state to fight insurgency. It said the positive roles played by SARS in the Northeast had reduced Boko Haram insurgency and helped to protect lives and property in the last 10 years. But Northeast elders yesterday said the ENDSARS protests festered nationwide, because of frustration over the worsening insecurity.
Under the aegis of the Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development (CNEEPD), the elders said scrapping the police unit was not the end to insecurity. They, instead, called for general restructuring of the sector, beginning with outright removal of service chiefs as the best way to move forward.
This came as the elders kicked against the move by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai to launch a new operation, Code-named “Operation Fireball,” to tackle insecurity in the Northeast.
In the statement signed by its National Chairman, Engr Zana Goni, the group said the declaration by Buratai to launch the operation was diversionary, saying it was “new wine in an old bottle.”
IN other parts of the country, the demands were the same: Osun protesters paraded a mock coffin with the photograph of the country’s leader. Commercial activities in major parts of Osogbo and Ile-Ife cities were paralysed, as Nigerian youths protesting Police brutality occupied the streets.
They turned the #EndSARS protest into carnival of sorts as they danced. Despite heavy downpour, the activists stood their grounds and continued their protest.
The protesters, in their hundreds, took over the popular Olaiya Junction, the heart of Osogbo and mounted large loud speakers while a disc jockey was dazzling them with assorted songs.
The youths had assembled at Olaiya around 10am and barricaded all roads around. They denied motorists and motorcyclists access to the roads.
Amid chants of #ENDSARSNOW, the protesters engaged themselves in a dancing competition for fun. This development attracted passersby who crowded the protest area to feed their eyes.
While the dancing and jubilation were ongoing, another group of youths stormed the scene and started chanting anti-government songs.