Truth & justice

Soldiers confront protesters as more states join #EndSARS campaign

*Wike join protesters, seeks police reform

•Video cameraman assaulted in Abuja, one more dies in Oyo

• Group demands visa ban for Lagos, Ogun, Oyo CPs

The call for an end to police brutality and reform of the force gained more support across the country on Tuesday, as more states joined in the #EndSARS protest.

The protest, which was largely peaceful, held in many parts of the country with some confrontation with security agencies.

In Abuja, soldiers prevented the protesters from gaining access to the National Assembly.

Soldiers assault cameraman, Abuja protesters

The soldiers also assaulted the some of the protesters and an Arise TV cameraman, who was covering the rally.

The protesters were moving towards the National Assembly complex entrance when the soldiers blocked their path and ordered them to turn back.

The youth in their hundreds chanted, ‘End police brutality’, and knelt while singing the national anthem.

But about five armed soldiers swooped on them and the Arise TV team and assaulted them.

They also snatched the Arise TV camera and disrupted a live coverage of the demonstration.

It is the second time security operatives would attack the Arise TV journalists in 48 hours.

Police disperse Adamawa protesters

In Adamawa State, the police dispersed a group of youths, who attempted to protest.

One of them, who spoke to PUNCH Metro on condition of anonymity, said they wanted to stage a peaceful protest from the Police roundabout to the office of the Commissioner of Police.

Wike join protesters, seeks police reform

In Rivers State, where Governor Nyesom Wike had placed a ban on protests, thousands of youths marched in Port Harcourt to the Government House, where they demanded that Wike addressed them.

The protest brought social and economic activities to a halt.

Veteran Nollywood actress, Hilda Dokubo; ex-Big Brother Naija housemate, Tacha; and popular comedian, K. O. Baba, among others, were among celebrities at the protest, which led to a complete lockdown of the city.

Wike, who joined the protesters later, called for a total reform of the police force.

He said, “I never supported us to be here. I took an oath to protect the lives and property of the people of the state.

“Rivers State is a state in this country that has suffered in the hands of SARS. When we raised the alarm about SARS activities, they did not give attention. When it happened in other places, you want me to listen.

“I will not do that. No governor in this country can say they have challenged SARS the way we have done. When there was so much kidnapping in this state, I raised an alarm to the Federal Government. They said it was politics and I prayed to God that it should be all over the country. It has now gone round the country; it is no longer politics.

“I am the only governor that has come out to start end SARS protest. No other state. We have lost so many people in this state to SARS. No state supported us. SARS has killed our people a lot. The same SARS has killed in another state, they want me to protest, I will not. Rivers blood is important to me. Rivers State cannot play a second fiddle role.

“I will do what is right at all times. Every Nigeria must support the reform of the police.”

Youths again block Lagos roads

In Lagos, the agitation for an executive order from the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), approving the five demands of the #EndSARS protesters continued with the youth blocking major highways and preventing vehicular movement.

The protesters converged on the tollgate in Lekki and the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, the secretariat end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Allen roundabout, Akowonjo and Abule-Egba, among other areas in the state.

Speaking at the protest in Ikeja, musical artiste, Eedris Abdulkareem, demanded that in addition to ending police brutality, tariffs and taxes enslaving Nigerian youths should be abolished.

In Lekki, celebrities, including Folarin Falana, aka Falz the bad guy; Jude Abaga, aka MI; Paul Okoye, aka Rudeboy; Banky W and Seyi Awolowo, among others, were seen protesting alongside the youth.

Commuters trapped in the gridlock for hours disembarked from their vehicles to trek to their various destinations.

Osun protesters damage fire vehicle

In Osun State, youths in Osogbo, Ilesha and Ile Ife trooped to the streets.

Protesters, upon sighting the operational van of the Federal Fire Service on the Osogbo/Gbongan Road attacked the vehicle.

Both the rear and back screens were smashed, while two of the occupants of the van were also injured, as the driver drove onto the police premises in Oke Baale, Osogbo, to escape from the mob.

Another protester dies in Ogbomoso

Another victim, Ibrahim Abdulganiyu, who was on Sunday shot during the #EndSARS protest in Ogbomsoo, Oyo State, is dead.

A former Vice-Chairman, Ogbomoso Central Local Council Development Area, Chief Ademola Olawale, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Tuesday.

He said the 19-year-old victim, who lived in the Saja area of the town, was buried immediately.

Another resident of the town, who confirmed that the death toll had risen, said he heard the news of Abdulganiyu’s death on Ajilete FM (Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State).

Recall that a bystander, Jimoh Isiaka, was killed on Saturday during the protest against the in the town.

There was gridlock for several hours in parts of Ibadan, the state capital, on Tuesday as protesters besieged major roads in the metropolis.

The aggrieved youths, bearing placards with different inscriptions, chanted anti-SARS songs as they moved down major streets in Ibadan to press home their points.

Some lawmakers in the Oyo State House of Assembly expressed solidarity with the protesting youths, which comprised artistes, students and members of the #RevolutionNow Movement.

Two arrested, freed in Kaduna

In Kaduna, the police arrested two protesters who joined their counterparts to demand an end to SARS and police brutality.

They were eventually released on the orders of the state Police Commissioner, Umar Muri.

The protesters, who were in large numbers, lamented how SARS operatives had over the years unleashed terror on them.

Entertainers lead Ogun protest

In Ogun State, Nollywood actors, Odulade Adekola and Bolaji Amusan, aka Mr Latin, and a popular Fuji musician, Sefiu Alao, led a peaceful protest against police brutality in the state.

The celebrities took off from the Panseke area of Abeokuta and walked through to the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ogun State council, where they addressed journalists.

Amusan, who is the National President of the Theatre Arts and Motion Picture Producers Association of Nigeria, said it was high time the government took decisive actions to straighten the police.

He said, “After #EndSARS protest, what next? It’s time for the Federal Government to begin holistic reforms of the police.

“The police must stop this brutality against fellow Nigerians. We are saying no to all forms of intimidation, illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings.”

Imo youths protest

In Imo State, scores of youths took to the streets of Owerri in protest against what they called police brutality and extortion.

The protesters, who took off from the Freedom Square at the Warehouse junction in the state capital, caused gridlock.

Clad in black attire, the protesting youths displayed placards, which sought reforms of the Nigeria Police Force.

They said the announcement of the disbandment of SARS was not enough.

Delta Govt House entrance blocked

In Delta State, thousands of protesters blocked the entrance to the Government House to add their voices to the campaign against SARS.

The protesters, who demanded an audience with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, vowed to remain at the Government House and barricaded the entrance to the seat of power.

They were not deterred by the torrential rainfall, which drenched them for several hours.

Peaceful protest in Ebonyi, Enugu

In Ebonyi State, the protest was peaceful, as the youth moved from the popular Presco junction, Abakaliki, through Udensi roundabout to the Government House.

Bearing placards with different inscriptions, the youth noted that the disbandment of SARS was not enough, adding that a holistic overhaul and reform of the entire police system would save the day.

In Enugu, business activities were partially paralysed as hundreds of youths joined the protest against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.

The protest started around 9.30am from different locations in the state capital.

While music stars like Flavour, Phyno and Zoro were among the group that started from the Michael Okpara Square, another group led by a rights activist, Larry Oguego, started from the Institute of Management and Technology.

Although Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi did not come out to address the protesters, they, however, snubbed the Deputy Governor, Cecilia Ezeilo, who attempted to address them on behalf of the governor, who was said to be around.

The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdulrahman, while addressing the protesters at the police headquarters, commended their orderly conduct.

Abdulrahman observed that the majority of the protesters were decent people, adding that their demands were legitimate and would be looked into.

Ondo protesters decry police attitude

In Ondo, hundreds of youths gathered at the Road Block area of Akure, the state capital, and headed towards the Oyemekun and Oba Adesida roads, chanting various solidarity songs.

They also carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘#EndSARS,’ ‘#SARS must end’, ‘Save the youth,’ among others.

One of the protesters, Mr Olusegun Oladele, decried the attitude of the men of the Nigeria Police towards the youth.

Group seeks visa ban for Lagos, Ogun, Oyo CPs

A group, Concerned Nigerians, has asked the United States of America to impose visa restrictions on the Commissioners of Police in Lagos and Ogun states, Hakeem Odumosu and Edward Ajogun, respectively.

It accused them of supervising extrajudicial killing of protesters.

The group had earlier asked the US to impose a visa ban on the Oyo State CP, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, over the killing of a bystander during the #EndSARS protest.

The group’s demand was contained in a letter to the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, dated October 12, and titled, ‘An urgent appeal for visa ban on senior police officers supervising extrajudicial killings of #EndSARS protesters and rights violations in Nigeria’.

The letter, signed by the Coordinator of the group, Deji Adeyanju, read, “It is important to note that these senior police officers refused to stop the extrajudicial killings of #EndSARS protesters within their commands by officers under them.

“They are, therefore, vicariously liable for the actions of the officers under them. The Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, went further with impunity to charge two protesters for attempted murder. We also request that this visa ban be extended to members of their families.”

Another group, Coalition of Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria, voiced its support for the disbanding of SARS.

A spokesman for the group, Edomobi Promise, in statement on Tuesday, said SARS had constituted itself into a terrorist organisation.

The group called for total overhaul of the police.

We’ve disarmed SARS officers, says Odumosu

The Lagos CP, Odumosu, says he has complied with the directive of the IG disbanding SARS.

Odumosu, who addressed a group of lawyers protesting police brutality as part of the raging the #EndSARS campaign, said already policemen under SARS had been disarmed and their offices shut down.

He added that suspects in their custody had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department in Panti for the continuation of investigation.

He assured the protesting lawyers that they would never find any SARS operative in operation again.

“If you go to their offices in Surulere and Gbagada, they are under lock and key; we only posted policemen there to guard the places. They are no more functioning,” the CP said.

Odumosu, who commended the protesters, led by a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, for their maturity and decorum, added that no single participant in the #EndSARS protest had been killed by the police since the protest started last week.

He said the person who died from a stray bullet at Surulere on Monday, was not a protester but a driver, who came out of his car to check the cause of the gridlock on the road.

Odumosu added that police officers seen in a viral video harassing a female protester had been arrested and were being detained.

Also, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Trust in the 2019 election, Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, on Tuesday, canvassed for an efficient police service run by well-trained officers and men.

He said such officers must be motivated and well paid consistent with acceptable Standard Operating Procedures and made accountable to the protection of citizens; fundamental human rights.

Ogun, Imo, Delta, Oyo govs call for calm

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, appealed to #EndSARS protesters in the state to be peaceful, calm and civil in their conduct.

He pledged that his administration would facilitate investigation into any act of brutality of citizens by law enforcement agents.

Abiodun also promised to facilitate compensation of victims, while identifying and holding errant law enforcement officers accountable.

The governor said this on Tuesday in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin.

He also enjoined security agencies to always exercise restraint and avoid use of force in managing peaceful protests.

His Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodinma, urged the youth in the state, who besieged the Government House in Owerri that the President would reform the police.

Uzodinma said the President was democratic and sensitive to the demands of the Nigerian people.

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, on his part, said the ongoing nationwide protest was a reflection of leadership and family failures over the years.

Okowa, who stated this while addressing the protesters at the Government House, Asaba, said there would not have been any need for the protest if leaders were accountable to the people.

He told the protesters that as youths of the nation, they had every right to organise themselves to protest against societal ills.

The governor announced the constitution of a five-member Police Complaints Committee, with two representatives of the youth as members.

Governor Seyi Makinde, while addressing the #EndSARS protesters at the Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, promised to secure the release of all arrested protesters.

He said his administration had put in place mechanisms to ensure the safety of protesters.

Makinde, who was accompanied by the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Debo Ogundoyin; the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Seun Fakorede, and some members of the state House of Assembly, lauded the protesters for conducting themselves peacefully.

He added that beyond the #EndSARS protest, there were underlying challenges of anger and frustration in the land, noting that leaders should do more on employment creation.

Bring all SARS personnel to Borno to fight B’Haram

In Borno State, a pro-SARS rally was held in Maiduguri, the state capital, to protest the recent disbandment of the police unit by the Federal Government.

The Chairman of the coalition of civil society organisations, Ahmed Shehu, noted that even though they were not happy with happenings in other parts of the country, SARS operatives had contributed to the fight against terrorism in the North-East.

The protesters, who carried placards and banners, marched through Bolori roundabout to the Government House roundabout.

In a letter presented to Governor Babagana Zulum, which contained their demands, Shehu said the group was shocked by the sudden disbandment of SARS.

He said SARS personnel in Borno State were engaged in life-saving operations and were actively participating in supporting the military in counter-insurgency operations.

“Borno citizens have good experience with SARS, hence we are requesting the President to deploy all the SARS formations across the country in Borno State to assist in the fight against insurgency,” he added.

Dangote, CBN gov’s peace moves rejected

An attempt by business leaders, including Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to stop the #EndSARS protests met a brick wall on Monday as protesters insisted that it would continue.

Activist, Aisha Yesufu, stated this in a series of tweets while responding to reports that she and other protesters met with the business community.

While admitting that she had a Zoom meeting with the business leaders, Yesufu said she told them that they should speak with the President instead.

Yesufu said she was lured into the meeting, adding that she would not have attended it in the first place if she knew the agenda.

NHRC to set up probe panel on SARS

The National Human Rights Commission said on Tuesday that it would set up an independent investigation panel to look into human rights violations by SARS.

A statement by the commission’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Fatimah Mohammed, said the proposed IIP would be set up “within the next one week.”

The NHRC’s plan to set up the fresh panel came about 16 months after a presidential panel headed by the Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, submitted its report recommending, among others, the proscription of SARS.

Those from the police commands in the North and the South-West will be trained at the Police Mobile Force Training College, Ende, Nasarawa State and the Police Mobile Force Training College, Ila-Orangun, Osun State, respectively.

The statement was titled, ‘IGP orders all defunct SARS personnel to report at the force headquarters for psychological and medical examination.’

It also disclosed that the IG had ordered all personnel of the defunct SARS to report at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for debriefing, psychological and medical examination.

The statement read, “The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, today, 13th October 2020, in accordance with section 18 (10) of the Police Act 2020, ordered all personnel of the defunct SARS to report at the Force Headquarters, Abuja for debriefing, psychological and medical examination.

“The officers are expected to undergo this process as a prelude to further training and reorientation before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties.”

Commenting on the setting of SWAT, two leading anti-SARS protesters, Aisha Yesuf and Deji Adeyanju, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, called for a commission of inquiry into the extrajudicial killings, illegal detentions and other unlawful activities by the disbanded SARS.

IG meets govs today

On his part, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the IGP would meet with governors on Wednesday (today).

Sanwo-Olu stated this in an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday after meeting with the President, adding that he had earlier met with the IGP.

“Part of the takeaway for me is that all the governors are on the same page. We are having a governors forum meeting tomorrow. The IG will be briefing us at that meeting and further clear directives and decisions will be taken by all the governors,” he added.

Sanwo-Olu said he had presented protesting youths’ letter to Buhari. As proofs of government’s commitment, Sanwo-Olu said all protesters arrested on Monday have been released.

On its part, the Presidency said the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad had approved the demands of #EndSARS protesters.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Presidential panel on police reforms swings into action, okays five-point demands of protesters.’

Adesina said following directives by the President on dissolution of SARS, the IGP convened a meeting with stakeholders, agreeing to meet the demands.

According to the presidential spokesman, the meeting, organised by the Office of the IGP and the National Human Rights Commission, was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations, activists from the entertainment industry and the EndSARS movement and development partners.

He quoted a communiqué of the meeting signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, as, “Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.

Presidential committee approves setting up of panel within one week to probe SARS’ human rights abuses

According to the presidential aide, the forum approved the proposal to set up an independent investigation panel to look into the violations of human rights by the SARS and other segments of the police.

“The forum agrees to the setting up of this independent panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week; an open call for memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the police will be released by the Commission within one week,” he added.

In the National Assembly, a bill seeking amendments to the NHRC Act passed first reading in the Senate on Tuesday.

The proposed legislation, titled, “National Human Right Commission Act CAP N46 LFN 2004(Amendment) Bill,2020”, was sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola.

The bills seeks to curb the rampant extra-judicial killings by amending the NHRC Act, CAP N46, Law of the Federation of Nigeria,2004.

Meanwhile, the Senate also observed a one-minute silence for Jimoh Isiaka and other youths who were killed during #EndSARS protests.

This was sequel to a motion by Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, who drew the attention of the Senate to the ongoing protests by the youth.

He particularly regretted the protest in Ogbomoso which degenerated into a confrontation between the security operatives and the youth. Isiaka was killed recently in Ogbomoso, Oyo State when protesters and the police clashed.

Lagos to set up panel of enquiry

In Lagos State, Governor Sanwo-Olu said he would set up a panel of enquiry that would comprise youth leaders appointed by #EndSARS protesters, members of the public, government officials and security agencies to look into allegations of human rights abuses levelled against SARS operatives in the state.

According to a statement titled, ‘Sanwo-Olu moves to get justice for victims of SARS brutality, sets up panel,” by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, the governor said the panel would bring indicted police officers to book and get justice for victims killed and maimed by operatives.

The governor disclosed this while addressing anti-SARS protesters at the State House, Ikeja.

In a related development, an artiste, David Adeleke, aka Davido, on Tuesday met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

According to a statement by the Speaker’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, titled ‘Gbajabiamila assures of key reforms in Nigeria Police,’ Davido demanded the release of all detained protesters.

Also, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has written the IGP, demanding the release #EndSARS protesters in different parts of the country.

In the letter, the minister described the disbanding of SARS as the right step following the nationwide outcry of high-handedness, human rights violation and harassment of the youth and other Nigerians by some of the officers of SARS.

The Kogi State Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello, at a press conference in Lokoja on Tuesday, urged protesting youths to trust Buhari, adding that the President would carry out police reforms he promised.

But the Christian Association of Nigeria demanded an administrative or judicial investigation into the activities of SARS with a view to bringing the culprits to book.

The organisation in a statement by its President, Dr Samson Ayokunle, commended Buhari and the IGP for being sensitive and responsive to the clarion call for the disbanding of SARS.

Makinde visits Ogbomoso, gives Soun N100m, victims N1m each

The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, visited the families of slain victims of #EndSARS protest in Ogbomoso on Tuesday.

The governor also inspected the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, following the attack on the palace during #EndSARS protest on Sunday.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Taiwo Adisa, said this in a statement on Tuesday.

Makinde said the sustained protest in many parts of the country was a wake up call to leaders to address the problems facing the people especially the youths.

The governor approved an immediate release of N100m to the Soun of Ogbomoso for the renovation of the palace.

He also gave N1m each to the families of the deceased and made a commitment to the families to work with them to know the areas the government could be of help to them in order to cushion the effects of the losses of their loved ones.


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