as thugs attacked protesters in Osun
By Fisayo Akinduro, Kayode Olabanji & Saheed Balogun
As the #Endsars protests embarked upon by Nigerian youths continues to gain momentum, the agitation is spreading across Ondo State, as youths in Akoko and Okitipupa joined their contemporaries in Akure to express their disapproval for police brutality in the country.
The protest, which began in the state on Monday in Akure, was endorsed by youth in other parts of the state, causing heavy traffic jam on major roads.
Despite the Federal Government’s announcement that the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) were dissolved and replaced by Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), the protest never ceased as the youth continued to demand total reform of the Nigerian Police Force.
Some of the protesters, who spoke in separate chats with The Hope Metro said both SARS and SWAT were the same but with different nomenclatures.
She said as long as no executive order was given by the FG, the protest would not stop.
According to Olaoluwa Akinwale, “What is the difference between SARS and SWAT – it is just a matter of name. We are not deceived by this. We are wiser and we know what we want. The Nigerian Police Force should be reformed and rebranded”.
Another protester, Kemi Ajetumobi added that “Police officers, their barracks, stations and ammunition need reformation. We want to see the policemen we can call friends. We want to feel protected when they are around.
” We have suffered for long. But this time, we say NO to oppression in our land. We are not our forefathers, we are the leaders now”, she said.
In the same vein, some youths under the agies of Coalition of Ondo Youths (COY) in Okitipupa, have joined the protest against the Police brutality.
They peacefully from Irele junction, Igbokoda road, to the Okitipupa main market, LGA Secretariat and stopped at Okeraye roundabout.
The protest slow down commercial and economic activities in the Okitipupa metropolis and mild gridlock was caused by the peaceful protest.
While addressing the youths, the Convener of COY, Mr Fadesola Ojamomi, said the protest was to join other youths in the country to end unlawful brutality, harassment and killing of youths by SARS operatives.
According to him, We march out peacefully today in solidarity to our brothers and sisters that have been brutally abused and killed by SARS operatives.
He said ; “We are also using this opportunity to send signals to the SARS and Police Operatives to stop the harassment, brutality and killing of Nigerian youths.
“This protest, however, is not to defend cyber – crimes or other criminals, our stand is that anyone suspected of any crime must be thoroughly investigate and taken to court of law.
Osun protesters hold civil servants hostage
Protesters in Osogbo, Osun State have held civil servants hostage at the state secretariat and also shot sporadically into the air to scare residents.
They had earlier visited the State House of Assembly complex, demanding that the Speaker addressed them.
The protesters did not allow the Chief Whip of the Parliament, Tunde Olatunji to address them, saying it’s only the Speaker who should address them.
They removed the All Progressives Congress, APC, flag and replaced it with #EndSARS flag.
However, the youths moved to the state secretariat to barricade it while clamoring for government to address them.
Some of the protesters said political office holders felt too big to address them.
Meanwhile, the State Government has lamented the hijack of the ongoing #EndSARS protest by some hoodlums.
The Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, in a statement disclosed that some elements with ulterior motives and evil intentions had infiltrated the ranks of peaceful protesters of the State.
He said that the government was shocked to find out that the #EndSARS protest in the State had been hijacked by some criminal elements.
According to him, some hoodlums shot into the air several times at the gate of the State Secretariat and held workers hostage for hours.
He alleged that some of them drove dangerously through the State capital in unmarked cars.
“Peaceful protest is a fundamental human right of citizens in a democracy, and Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s administration totally supports any expression that does not hurt the people or jeopardize the peace of the State.
“The government has a responsibility to protect its citizens, and would not fold its hands while hoodlums take over the streets of Osun,” he said.
The Hope Metro gathered that the protesters harassed innocent residents and forcefully collected their belongings around Olaiya junction at 8:30pm on Wednesday.
Armed thugs attack Osun protesters
Some coordinated armed thugs on Thursday morning displaced #EndSARS protesters in Osogbo with cutlasses, knives and some other dangerous weapons.
The suspected thugs who were seen in buses and on motorcycles warned the protesters to stop the protest or they would have mercilessly dealt with.
According to an eye witness, he said, the hoodlums came through old-garrage to Okefia to dispatch the protesters who were exercising their constitutional role.
“The protesters just gathered here. They did not harass nor disturb anybody. They were just chanting songs demanding for their right,”he said.
Oluwo begs protesters
Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, has appealed to #End SARS protesters across the country to go home in the interest of maintaining peace in Nigeria.
The monarch made the appeal while commending the protesting youths for rising to challenge the killings of innocent souls in the country.
Oluwo in a statement made available by his media aide, Alli Ibraheem, hinted on the likely hijack of the demonstration by hoodlums, saying government, monarchs and other stakeholders have heard their voices.
He said further protest may affect the peace in the nation, calling on peace loving Nigerians to give government planning moment for effective and robust reform of the Nigerian Police.
“I commend Nigerian youths for their tenacity. It is clear they have a voice. Their voice is heard.
“They are reasonable force of reckon. And the government, has, in the interest of the nation, taken a drastic step for better, effective policing through the needed reform”
“I appeal to the protesters to go home. They have demanded the change of policy on policing and it is heard. It will not be good for Nigeria and the protesters if their demonstration is hijacked by enemies of the nation.
otesters to dissipate similar energy on ritual killings and cultism.