Despite the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Nigerian youths on Monday resumed protests in different parts of the country.
The protesters said aside from the scrapping of the unit, they wanted all arrested protesters released and justice for all victims of police brutality, in addition to compensation for their families.
In Lagos, the youth took to the streets and blocked strategic locations to disrupt traffic flow in the Lekki, Akoka, Surulere, Ikeja, Ajah, Alausa, Ago Palace Way, FESTAC Town, Agege, Ebute Metta, Obalende, among other areas in the state.
Hundreds of motorists were trapped in the gridlock caused by the demonstration, while some commuters were stranded at various junctions, as many were forced to disembark from vehicles and trek to their destinations.
However, tragedy struck after a policeman, Erinfolami Ayodeji, and a driver, Ikechukwu Ilohamauz, were shot dead during the protest at Surulere.
Two inspectors, Ekei Joshua and Peter Agabi, were critically injured and were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Surulere.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the driver was the first to be felled by a police bullet, which angered the protesters and led to reprisal.
Hoodlums, who reportedly hijacked the protest, were said to have attacked the office of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the state police command on Iyun Road, Surulere.
They were said to have vandalised the office and released two suspects in custody.
In the process, Ayodeji was shot dead, while his colleagues, Joshua and Agabi, who sustained bullet wounds, were rushed to hospital.
A witness said, “The driver that was killed was only a passer-by; he was not involved in the protest.”
Our correspondents obtained clips as policemen cracked down on some of the protesters, including females, brutalising them as they took them into detention.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the two deaths.
While denying that the police shot the civilian, he said the two surviving cops were in critical condition.
“Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident. The CP has ordered the Homicide Section of the SCIID, Yaba, Lagos to carry out thorough investigation into the incidence for further police actions,” he added.
In another protest on the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos, the protesters, who stormed the tollgate area around 4.30am, barricaded the various entry and exit points of the tollgate to block vehicular movements.
A witness, Demilade Agboola, said the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was booed while addressing the protesters.
He said, “When the Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, wanted to address the protesters, they said they did not want to speak to him and demanded that the President should address them.
“It was at that point that they started splashing water and throwing plastic bottles in his direction to stop him from addressing them. They even booed him while he was leaving the premises of the protest. I witnessed everything and what the protesters were saying was that this was not the first time the Inspector-General of Police will tell Nigerians that SARS had been banned; they want a statement from the President himself.”
However, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, denied the incident, adding that the governor’s presence at the protest ground was a show of courage.
Heb said, “They did not even throw; they sprinkled water, and it touched everybody, including me. The governor went there on a peace move without any security. It was a show of courage. You can’t have that kind of crowd and one or two persons will not want to create a scene. But thank God, there was no scene. They did not throw anything at us.”
Some other protesters blocked the toll gate area of the Murtala Muhammed Access Plaza.
They sang solidarity songs and displayed placards with various inscriptions, including, ‘SARSMUSTEND,’ ‘Chibuike Amana deserves justice.’
Many travelers had to find alternative means of transportation.
Several motorists, who expressed frustrations with the gridlock, said they were stuck in the traffic for several hours.
Airline operators, however, said the protest did not affect their flight operations.
In Abuja, the peaceful protesters, most of whom wore black T-shirts, rallied at the Berger Bridge, Wuse, blocking the road and chanting, ‘End police brutality now.’
This paralysed vehicular movement in the area, as impatient motorists made U-turn to avoid getting caught up in the gridlock.
In Benin, Edo State, many commuters were stranded as the #EndSARS protesters and transport workers blocked the Ring Road area in the city.
The protesters blocked the road for the better part of Monday with their cars, while people who closed from work found it difficult to find their way home.
The marked taxi and minibus operators also withdrew their services over alleged extortion by members of the National Union of Roads Transport Workers and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria outside their official daily payment of N400.
In Ilorin, Kwara State, over 5,000 protesters reportedly converged to demand an end to police brutality and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The protesting youths gathered at the Challenge area, carrying different placards with inscriptions lamenting police brutality and unlawful killings.
The convener of the protest, Miss Baliqees Salaudeen, said despite the disbandment announced by the IG, “cases of abuse of citizens and unlawful killings of citizens by the Nigeria Police have increased.”
Thereafter, the protest was taken to the Kwara State Government House on Ahmadu Bello Way, where they demanded to see the governor.
Receiving the protesters on behalf of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, assured that their complaints would be looked into.
The Osun State Government Secretariat, Abere, was shut for several hours on Monday, as protest against extortion and brutality by SARS operatives continued in Osogbo.
The protesters had stormed the secretariat gate around 9am in large number and demanded audience with the Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola.
Although the protesters were told that the governor was unavailable, they, however, refused entreaties by other government officials that attended to them to leave the premises.
The security men at the gate were forced to shut the entrance and prevented movement into the premises to stop the protesters from gaining entry.
Workers resuming duty were also forced to take alternate routes into the various offices.
During the protest, the protesters moved through Olaiya Junction to Ogo Oluwa area of Osogbo and stopped at the junction leading to the Osun State House of Assembly, singing songs to demand executive order from government scrapping SARS.
One of the conveners of the protest, Seyi Adelaja, said they did not trust the IG, who had earlier said SARS had been scrapped.
Stay away from protesters, Oyo gov tells police
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State also ordered the police to stay away from protesters in the state in order to forestall tension and further loss of lives.
The governor spoke against the background of the violence in Ogbomoso which left bloodbath in its trail during the #EndSARS protests at the weekend.
Makinde announced that personnel of the Operation Burst, in conjunction with other security forces in the state, would attend to rallies within the state in the meantime.
In a broadcast on #EndSARS protests in Oyo State on Monday, the governor said, “The past few days have been ones of grief for the people of Oyo State. I cannot imagine the pain and frustration of the parents and families of those who have died or are hospitalised as a result of the actions of the Nigeria Police Force during these #EndSARS protests.
“Therefore, we have deployed members of Operation Burst to the hot spots, especially Ogbomoso, to ensure that as people protest, they will not be harassed or brutalised.”
The Ajia Balogun Olubadan, Chief Adegboyega Adegoke, also condemned the killing of protesters in Oyo and called on relevant security agencies to carry out a holistic investigation into the killings.
Adegoke, in a statement he personally signed on Monday, also condemned the invasion of the Palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Ajagungbade, and the alleged attack on the Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Mr Sunday Dare, by irate youths.
Police charge protesters in Ogun, Delta
Meanwhile, the police in Ogun State on Monday charged three #EndSARS protesters with attempted murder and vandalising a Lexus Sports Utility Vehicle worth N100m.
The three protesters – Adeniji Sodiq (25), Mutairu Faruq (19), and Olatoye Joseph (23) – were also accused of using weapons.
The defendants were brought before a Magistrate Court in Abeokuta on Monday.
However, their pleas were not taken.
In the suit marked M/SC/29/2020, the police preferred four charges against the defendants.
One of the charges read, “That you, Adeniji Sodiq, Mutairu Faruq, Olatoye Olalekan Joseph on the same date, time and place in the aforesaid magisterial district did attempt to kill one Ajagbusi Taofik by hitting him with dangerous weapons and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 320(1) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ogun State, 2006.
“That you, Adeniji Sodiq, Mutairu Faruq, Olatoye Olalekan Joseph ‘m’ on the same date, time and place in the aforesaid magisterial district did unlawfully and maliciously damage Lexus 570 Bullet proof 2019 model valued N100,000,000 property of one Alhaji Olabode Kacheef Oyedele, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 451 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ogun State, 2006.”
The police applied for an ex parte order to detain the three defendants for 60 days to allow them to investigate the case thoroughly.
However, the court ordered that they be detained for 14 days.
In a related development, no fewer than 14 persons were on Monday arraigned before an Ughelli Magistrates’ Court in connection with last Thursday’s #EndSARS protest in the Ughelli area of Delta State.
The protest led to the alleged killing of a police Corporal, Stanley Etaga, and some protesters, as a police patrol vehicle was damaged.
In suit number MU/193C/2020, six of the accused persons were arraigned on one count of breach of peace by constituting themselves into nuisance.
The six persons are Precious Mudiaga, Onome Ovie, Ovie Brume, Umukoro Joshua, Duku Evans and Oroghodo Friday.
The other eight were arraigned on five counts bordering on felony and murder in suit number MU/194C/2020.
The eight accused persons include Iboyi Emmanuel, Umukoro Rukevwe, German Oghenekevwe, Moses Eduwekon, Oke John, Ogbonna David, Prosper John and Akpovwigho Eloho.
Prosecutor, Brenda Ejelonu told the court that the offences against the 14 accused persons contravened different sections of the criminal code Cap C21, Vol 1 laws of Delta State of Nigeria.
The presiding Magistrate, E.A. Odjugo adjourned the case to October 29, and granted the first six defendants bail in the sum of N50,000 each, with one surety in like sum.
The court however, ordered that the other eight be remanded at the Federal Custodial Centre in Sapele, where they would be quarantined for 14 days before being transferred to the Warri Correctional Centre.