SAN FRANCISCO, October 17, (THEWILL) – Nigerian youths again on the 9th day of protests, occupied roads, streets and other city centers to voiced out their grievances against police brutality and government hash policies
Today, protesters home and abroad demand a change in the attitude of leaders- “we voted for change, we need change”, they yelled.
From what started like a road walk for prayers across Nigeria on Saturday morning, the #EndSWAT protest soon spread all over Nigeria and across boundaries- Benue, Niger, Abuja, Osun, Lagos, Benin, Enugu, Ogun, Lagos, Rivers, Imo, Anambra to London and Netherlands.
In Benue, thousands of youths grounded activities in Makurdi the state capital. The protesters, who gathered as early as 6am at IBB Square, marched through major roads in the town disrupting vehicular movement around the town.
Most of the protesters who bore placards and banners with inscription “End Police Brutality”, “End SARS Now”, “Reform Nigeria”, “Lazy Youths Are Tired”, “Sack Service Chief”, Nigerian Want Their Country Back” and “Reform the Police”; conducted themselves peacefully as they walked and sang songs of solidarity.
In Osun state, the protest nearly took a disastrous turn as hoodlums infiltrated the protest and attacked the convoy of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, who was addressing the protesters. The protesters had told Governor Oyetola their demands and sought the arrest of one Asiri Eniba, who had attacked them on Wednesday and earlier on Saturday..
However, the discourse took another turn when thugs who infiltrated the crowd of protesters, attacked vehicles, including that of the governor, smashing their windscreens and windows. Oyetola’s convoy barely escaped the hoodlums as security shot into the air to whisk the governor away.
In Niger state, youths under Coalition of Northern Group embarked on a peaceful protest to demand an end to insecurity in Nigeria. Carrying placards, they converged on the Minna City Gate before embarking on a long walk to the popular Mobil Roundabout, chanting songs of freedom. The youths asked both the Federal and State Governments to address the problems of bad road infrastructure, epileptic power supply among other issues.
They decried the spate of killings by bandits in many parts of the state, and the seeming inability of security agencies in providing a lasting solution to the problem.
In Enugu, human and vehicular traffic were grounded at Major roads in Nsukka. The protesters numbering about 5000 youths adorn in black and white converged art Unions primary School Odengbo Nsukka as early as9.am, marched through army barracks to Orba Echera, Aku and Enugu toad chanting EndSWAT solidarity song.
In Edo state, protest took a very dramatic turn as youths in their thousands converted part of the road under the pedestrian bridge by the University of Benin Main Gate into a kitchen as they cooked and ate ‘jollof’ rice turning the protest into the carnival-like affair.
The demonstrators blocked the stretch of the Benin–Lagos road from the old toll gate end to Uselu Market, making travellers make a detour to other routes to find their way into and out of the city. Protesters also barricaded the popular Kings Square where the Friday attack occurred.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Babatunde Kokumo has ordered the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) to commence a full scale investigation into the immediate and remote cause of Friday’s killing of a protester by gunmen vowing “to arrest the perpetrators of this dastardly act for prosecution in court accordingly.”
Also, the Edo State Government on Saturday debunked the rumored hack of its official website. A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said the state government’s website is up and running and not hacked as alleged.
At the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, protesters blocked the Abuja-Keffi road. The protesters had on Friday occupied the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport road.
In Lagos, protest took the form of a mega rally. Protesters barricaded the Lagos-Ibadan Express Road and other major streets around the Berger area of the state.
The State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu also on Saturday visited the family of the driver hit by stray bullet during last Monday protest in Surulere.
In Rivers, youths in the state converged on Garrison Park in Port Harcourt Local Government Area to pray for Nigeria and against all forms of brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). From Garrison, the group moved to Government House where they held worship and prayers, seeking God’s intervention to end all forms of oppression in the nation.
In Imo State, youths across the 27 local government area gathered at strategic locations in Owerri to pray for Nigeria. While some gathered at Government House roundabout, some gathered at popular Assumpta roundabout and Freedom Square roundabout.
And in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, youths from different churches took to the streets to seek the face of the Lord in finding spiritual solutions to the sociopolitical and economic crisis in the country.
Also in Delta state, youths mobilized themselves for a prayer walk in Asaba The youths who gathered at the Interbau roundabout walked through Nnebisi road, praying to God to heal the nation
Across Nigeria, Nigerians in Holland led by Natasha Anochie and Whitney Usoh marched to the Nigeria Embassy in Netherlands. Received by a minister at the embassy, Mr Kabiru Musa, the group sent a strong worded letter of 5 of 5 demands to President Buhari.
The letter, written by Abiola Elizabeth Adegoke and Haniyat Kehinde Bakare demands immediate release of all arrested protesters in Nigeria; justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families; an independent body to oversee the investigation & prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days); psychological evaluation & retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officers before they are redeployed; increase Police Salary so they are adequately compensated for protecting lives and properties for citizens.
In London, protesters walked round the streets demanding for a better Nigeria.