On Monday, Security operatives took over some venues of mass action planned by youths in Abuja who are protesting against police brutality and extra-judicial killings.
This is in spite of the several warnings and advice from civil society groups and well meaning Nigerians that the military high command should not deploy soldiers to streets until the #EndSARS protests are abated nationwide.
While some soldiers mounted roadblocks and barricades at the popular AYA roundabout, police officers took positions in front of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) headquarters with Armoured Personnel Carrier and water cannons. The soldiers who took over the AYA roundabout conducted screenings on vehicles heading into the Abuja city-centre through the Nyanya-Mararaba highway.
They also kept the traffic flowing at a reasonable pace. Recall that the protesters, under the banner of #EndSARS movement, had defied Sunday night rain and camped overnight outside CBN headquarters calling for a reform of the Nigeria Police Force.
They had also vowed to occupy major roads in Abuja and its environs to press home their demands on Monday. Police Brutality in Karu Meanwhile, armed policemen on Monday morning brutalised some #EndSARS protesters in Karu, a border town between Abuja and Nasarawa state.
Security operatives had told the protesters to leave the Mararaba-Nyanya-Karu highway and go home. But the youths, bearing various banners with inscriptions such as ‘EndSARS Now’, ‘#Endpolicebrutality’, #EndBadGovernance’ etc. stood their ground and sang protest songs and chants before the policemen. Suddenly, the policemen descended on the protesters and beating them with whips and gun butts to forcefully disperse them.
When our correspondent visited the area, the undeterred youths had regrouped and continued the protests as more people joined the demonstration in the area. Some of the protesters, who spoke with our correspondent, expressed concern over the fresh act of police brutality, even in the face of the ongoing protests against the menace.
A protester, Adekunle Joshua, said they had a premonition that the security agents would apply force to disperse them.
He stated, “We had the feeling that they (operatives) would use force against us today (Monday). So, it didn’t really come as a surprise to us.
“But we will keep frustrating the government until they back down and implement the 5-for-5 demands to the latter.”
Another protester, Elijah Garta, stated: “This issue of brutality cannot change overnight, but we are willing to fight it till the end.
“This morning, the police at Karu beat us for no clear reason. You can see the lady beside me, she was physically assaulted by the officers.
“All we want is for the those in power to wake up, because police brutality is a problem only the government that can solve.”
A female victim of the police brutality simply identified as Tina, while reeling in pain, claimed the security men also took away her phone forcefully during the assault. Protest gain momentum in other parts of Abuja Meanwhile, the #EndSARS protests continued to gain momentum in different parts of Abuja on Monday.
In Apo, Kuje, Sokale and Tasha-Bwari districts, the protests showed no sign of abating as more youths join the mass action. The demonstrators took over major roads in these areas, and forced some commuters to reverse their movement and seek alternative routes to their destinations while others were stranded along the block routes.
Pro-SWAT protesters takeover Unity Fountain Ground But in what seemed like another major counter move against the #EndSARS protesters, Pro-Special Weapon Tactics (SWAT) occupied the iconic Unity Fountain protest ground in Abuja under the cover of a combined team of security personnel.
The protesters decked in white shirts and face caps, which had ‘#WeSupportSWAT’ boldly inscribed on them, staged a mini rally at the venue. The #ProSWAT demonstrators had a Disc Jockey on hand to provide them with music stimulation.
SWAT is the new unit announced by the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu as a replacement to the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad. But the #EndSARS protesters have vehemently rejected the formation of the new unit unless other issues of police welfare and justice for victims of brutality and extrajudicial killings by security agents were addressed.
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