#EndSARS protesters on Monday defied the threat by the Federal Government to deploy security agents in quelling their protests against police brutality across the country.
Protesters, mostly youths as early as 7am trooped out in major cities in Lagos, Ogun, Edo, Abia, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Ebonyi states blocking roads and calling for police reforms.
But in Abuja, security operatives and thugs attacked #EndSARS peaceful protesters at various locations.
In some locations in Abuja, security agents watched as thugs attacked protesters.
Recall that since October 8, youths, who are calling for disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police, have been embarking on peaceful protests.
The Federal Government on Sunday warned the protesters that it would not tolerate a descent into anarchy.
The protest leaders, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the protests were peaceful and accused government of using police and thugs to disrupt the demonstrations.
Protesters block Lagos-Badagry, Lagos-Ibadan roads
On Monday, vehicular and human movements were at a standstill in many parts of Lagos including Ijanikin, Iyana Isashi and Agbara axis of the Lagos – Badagry Expressway as angry youths protested against police brutality.
Ovi Kuponu, one of the coordinators of the protest, Ovi Kuponu, told journalists the youth in Badagry and Agbara came out to protest deplorable state of the expressway and bad governance.
Vehicular movements were totally paralysed in Ikeja, Lagos State capital.
Thousands of youths occupied the stretch of Awolowo Road from Allen Junction to the Lagos State Secretariat in Alausa.
Travellers stranded as protesters block Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abeokuta roads, others
Almost all the major roads in Ogun State were blocked on Monday by the protesters.
But besides SARS, the protesters said they were protesting against bad governance.
Some of the areas affected included Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Arepo and Mowe areas, Sagamu Interchange, Presidential Boulevard, Oke-Mosan, Panseke, Camp-Osiele, Owode-Yewa, Ilaro, Ado-Odo, Sango and Papalanto.
The protesters, under the aegis of concerned Mowe youths, assembled at Mowe Junction as early as 8am and blocked Sagamu Interchange.
Also, thousands of youths in Owode-Yewa in the Yewa South Local Government Area of the state blocked some roads in protest against bad governance.
Protesters shut down Edo
Also, Benin, the Edo State capital, was shut down by protesters under the aegis of the #EndSARS agitation.
All the major roads in the city were blocked as early as 7am with bonfire dotting strategic points in the city.
On Ekenwan Road for instance, from Agho Junction to the popular Ekenwan Military Barracks, youths converged on Evbotubu Junction, Utagban Junction; First and Second Power Line Junctions; Debvekewen Junction and Leaders College Junction.
The entire city centre was on a complete lockdown as protest points were set up in the various roads such as Airport Road, Akenzua-Plymouth Road, Ring Road and Siluoko Road.
In all the points, the messages by the protesters remained the same: ‘No to SARS’ and ‘Buhari must go.’
The protests also grounded Umuahia metropolis in Abia State.
The protesters, started their demonstration from Abia Tower of Peace, along the Federal Expressway headed for the city centre, where major roads were blocked.
Moving through Okpara Square, the protesters went to the Government House to see the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who did not address them.
Angered by this, the youth blocked the Government House – Federal Medical Centre – Aba road – Ikot Ekpene road junction and cooked their meals there.
Shouting slogans against Buhari and the police, the protesters were carrying placards with inscriptions such as ‘End SARSSARS, ‘SARS must end, reform Nigeria.’
The protesters in Ekiti State blocked all major roads in virtually all communities in the state making intra and inter-city movements impossible.
It was impossible for many workers and students to get to their offices and schools, Also protesters stormed the state secretariat, Ado Ekiti and schools where they chased workers and students away.
Also, youths in Akure , the Ondo State capital on Monday took the protest to the Ilesa-Akure-Owo Expressway where they were singing different solidarity songs and barricading the road.
The protesters used trucks to block the road preventing vehicular movements. For several hours, there were no movements of vehicles while travellers were stranded on the road.
Youths in Kano also protested against police brutality on major streets in Sabon Gari area of the metropolis.
The protesters, some of whom were clinging on tricycles, and private vehicle rooftops were displaying placards with different inscriptions such, ‘End SARS, SWAT, end KAROTA, end police brutality, end Kano corruption’, among others.’
Protesters block Ebonyi Govt House for six hours
Presenting their demands through their spokesperson, Steven Ugama, they called on the state Governor, David Umahi, to set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the illegal activities of the SARS.
Responding, Umahi, who described their action as constitutional, assured them that nobody would molest them.
In Osun State, #EndSARS protesters returned to streets in Osogbo, the state capital, occupying Olaiya Junction and forcing traders in the area to close their shops.
Recall that five protesters were shot dead by security agents in the state on Saturday.
Offices were shut down and business activities paralysed in most parts of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital as the #EndSARS protesters blocked major roads to press home their demands.
The protesters, mainly youths, chanting anti-poor government songs and bearing placards with different inscriptions, blocked the Challenge, Agodi Secretariat, Apata, Total Garden, Eleyele, Bodija, Eleyele, Ologuneru, Idi Ape and other roads in the city. They also blocked Lagos-Ibadan Expressway end of the city.
Eight vehicles razed as suspected thugs attack car mart
In Abuja, security operatives and clubs-wielding thugs on Monday descended on #EndSARS protesters.
While the police and soldiers dispersed the campaigners with tear gas and horse whips, hoodlums assaulted them and set ablaze eight vehicles at Kabusa Junction, Apo, and at the Central Business District.
Trouble started when the thugs, who objected to the blockage of the Apo road by the #EndSARS protesters, attacked the activists with sharp objects and also vented their anger on the cars parked at the roadside car mart.
A video of the burning cars also went viral on social media.
The violence sent panic waves among residents of the area who were caught in the attack.
Security personnel at the scene were said to have failed to stop the rioters from hurting the people.
A resident, Nana Ekanem in a tweet said she narrowly escaped being hurt, adding that she had to take a back road to avoid the scene.
“The protest has turned into a riot in Apo area. It was by God’s grace I got home. The Bolt (car) I took had to drop me inside Apo resettlement, I had to walk through Mechanic village. Anti-SARS protesters blocked the road, were burning tyres, I saw injured men,” she tweeted.
The FCT police spokesperson, ASP Mariam Yusuf, confirmed the incident, stating that investigation had commenced into the riot.
In the second attack which occurred at the Central Business District, a vehicle was set ablaze by the suspected thugs.
The police said no life was lost in the attack on the activists who were displaced from the Central Bank of Nigeria headquarters which they occupied on Sunday night while defying a downpour.
The Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, confirmed the attack in a statement by the FCT police spokesperson, ASP Mariam Yusuf, titled, ‘Commissioner of Police FCT calls for calm.’
He attributed the incident to what he described as “a clash between #EndSARS and pro-SARS protesters.”
The command also confirmed the death of an #EndSARS protester, Anthony Onome, who died as a result of injuries sustained during an attack by suspected hoodlums in Kubwa on Saturday.
The National Hospital spokesman, Dr Tayo Haastrup confirmed Onome’s death to The PUNCH on Monday.
“Onome died during treatment on Saturday and his body is in our mortuary. I dont know if he was among the protesters but he was brought to the hospital for treatment after he was stabbed, “ he explained.
The PUNCH had reported that the protesters who blocked the Kubwa-Zuba expressway during the Saturday rally were dispersed by the hoodlums wielding dangerous weapons.
Thugs also dispersed some protesters who closed some sections of the Shehu Yar’Adua Expressway leading to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to traffic.
Protesting youths had from the early hours of the day barricaded the road at Kuje, Soka and Airport Junctions, leaving motorists stranded.
The situation which grounded movements around those sections of the road left air passengers stranded.
Those who flew into Abuja from other parts of the country found it difficult to access the city centre since the expressway was completely blocked.
Intending passengers who wanted to fly out of Abuja also had hectic time getting to the airport.
Some of them had to make do with trekking a long distance and later engaging the services of commercial motorcyclists once they have trekked pass the barricades.
One of our correspondents, who was one of those who were stranded under the Kuje Junction bridge for hours, noticed that the protesting youths were not violent.
Some of them were busy playing football on the hitherto busy expressway while some others were dancing to the tunes emanating from a car stereo.
Hawkers, especially those selling sachet water and snacks, made brisk business as the youth patronised them.
At a point, one of them who claimed to be a medical doctor, knelt on the road and pleaded with others to allow a middle-aged man who claimed his wife was on admission in an hospital, to go.
“Great Nigerian youths. I am begging you in the name of God to allow this man to go. I am a medical doctor and he has shown me proof that his wife is in the hospital and about to undergo a Caesarean Section.
“I know that except he gets to the hospital to sign, his wife will not be attended to. Please allow him go,” he pleaded.
His plea moved his colleagues who quickly removed the barricade for the man who was being driven in a grey Mercedes Benz car to go.
They however stopped other motorists driving behind the man from seizing the opportunity as they were quickly stopped and the barricades returned immediately after the man’s car left.
At about 3pm however, scores of armed thugs wielding sticks were sighted running in the gridlock towards Kuje Junction.
Some protesters who were inside a Golf car alerted their colleagues to the presence of the armed thugs.
Immediately the announcement was made, the barricade was dismantled and stranded motorists started finding their way out of the gridlock.
Our correspondent, who joined others to quickly escape from the scene, did not encounter any other barricade from Kuje Junction to Dantata Bridge on the expressway, from where he made a detour into Idu Industrial
The security personnel allegedly whipped the protesters at Marraraba, a suburb of Abuja, and cleared the road which was barricaded by the youth.
Scores of #EndSARS protesters similarly blocked the Bwari-Kubwa road preventing motorists and commuters from plying the road and leaving workers and other commuters stranded.
I narrowly escaped being shot – Protester
A protester, Uche Philips said he narrowly escaped being shot during the attack on #EndSARS protesters at the CBN, adding that his car was riddled with bullets.
He explained that the attack was carried out around 4am by hoodlums who he alleged were sponsored by the government.
Phillips, whose car was earlier vandalised by thugs during an attack on the campaigners at Berger roundabout last Wednesday, stated, “At 4am, we were attacked and my car was riddled with so many bullets but nobody died.
“The vehicle that was carrying our disc jockey was set ablaze and the equipment burnt. What we are doing is a peaceful protest, the government should stop sending thugs after us. We are only fighting for justice in our country, it is a peaceful protest.”
A Kabusa resident accused some unidentified police operatives of masterminding the attack at Apo, adding that he saw them talking to the thugs shortly before they assaulted the people and burnt seven cars.
“I saw the policemen talking to the thugs behind the Rano filling station at Apo shortly before the miscreants carried out the attack on the people and the car mart,” he told one of our correspondents last night.
But the Minister of Youths and Social Development, Sunday Dare, met with the President over the protests.
The minister told State House correspondents after the meeting held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja that the President told him that he had nothing against the youth protesting against SARS.
He said Buhari however advised the youth to ensure that their protests were peaceful.
Also on Monday, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, at a NAN forum, admonished political, religious, traditional and opinion leaders to stop instigating youths for EndSARS protests so as to avert anarchy.
“Leaders should stop instigating the protests because that could lead to anarchy,” the minister said.