Protesters halt activities in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan

THE NATION Newspaper- Oziegbe Okoeki, Precious Igbonwelundu

For the 12th day running on Sunday, youths protesting police brutality especially by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), continued their activities across the country.

Hundreds of them gathered at Alausa and Lekki in Lagos from morning.

As at 11pm, the crowd of protesters at Lekki was huge – they stay put, singing, chanting and displaying their placards.

In Ibadan, they blocked the entrance to the Government House in Agodi.

In Benin – all road in the Edo State capital were completely blocked for the better part of the day, leading thousands of travellers stranded.

The protesters turned back vehicles on the way to the airport. Many travellers could not make their trips. They picketed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) offices.

In Ilorin, the youths were attacked by people suspected to be “cultists”. Many were injured.

The protesters announced the establishment of a helpline centre to meet the needs to their members. They also launched an online radio platform named “Soro soke” (speak up).

According to them, the helpline is 01 700 1755. “For the users, these are the prompt numbers: Press 1 for medical. Press 2 for legal. Press 3 for food and supplies. Press 4, 5, or 6 for mental health emergencies.” @fkabudu tweeted.

They said the online radio was introduced to aid the coordination and communication of the protesters’ activities nationwide.

The online radio which is accessible via has programmes and live reports of missing and found #EndSARS protesters, and other updates on the protests across the country.

When our correspondent tuned in to the online radio around 2pm yesterday, music were being played on the need for their voices to count and on reforms in the country.

Dr. Oby Ezekwesili via @obyezeks tweeted: “I heard our innovative young ones of the #EndSARS protests have just launched an online radio station? Wow! These ones na real generation! #GenerationIncredibles.”

Church services were held at Lekki Toll Gate Plaza and Lagos House of Assembly complex entrance, Alausa Secretariat – the two epicentres of the protests in Lagos State.

The service at the Alausa tagged: “Interdenominational Protest Sunday Service” had “The Glory of the Latter House” as its theme. It was presided over by Pastor Leke Adeboye, who laced his sermon with Haggai Chapter 2.

Pastor Leke is a son of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), General Overseer Pastor Enoch Adeboye.

“I am speaking from the good book, some people call it the Bible, I call it the Holy Book, the book says, the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former, this is what is happening in Nigeria right now,” the cleric said in his sermon.

Commending the protesters for speaking louder against oppression in the land, using the now popular mantra “Soro Soke” (speak louder), he admonished the youths to always speak up against injustice in the land.

He said: “We are a generation that cannot be silenced, we don’t off our mic here; we always speak loud here. We shall no longer keep quiet in the face of oppression and injustice in our own country.”

Popular saxophonist Kunle Ajayi led the protesters, who were all on their knees, to sing the second stanza of the National Anthem.

At the Lekki Toll Gate Plaza, protesters warned hoodlums to stay off or face the consequence of their action.

One of the speakers during the Service urged other protesters not to entertain trouble makers.

The speaker said: “We can forestall the hoodlums’ evil agenda by showing resilience and be peaceful with them. As soon as we sight them, we should all sit down. By this, we will be passing a message that we are not here for violence. We should also be civil in our approach. Let’s not get angry with any provocative act. This would quell their aggressive mood. I pray they will not succeed,” the gathering shouted “Amen!”

The service was electrified with different praise songs, motivational remarks and intermittent prayers.

Most Senior Pastor, Monsignor Pascal led other clerics from Catholic Church (Divine Mercy) lead the first section.

The cleric hailed the peaceful nature of the protest.

Quoting verses from the Bible, he urged them to shun provocation and focus on their agitations.

Another Catholic priest praised the youth for their resilience.

Some of the protesters received the Holy Communion.

In a televised service, Daystar Christian Centre Senior Pastor Sam Adeyemi prayed for the country and enjoined the youth to be peaceful in their agitation for a better country and good policing.

The protesters continued with the blockade of the Lekki-Epe Expressway to vehicular traffic.

Food and refreshment were served.

Passengers trying to access Lagos through the Lekki-Epe Expressway had a difficult day; so were those travelling into the city through Ikorodu, where the activities of suspected hoodlums led to violence.

Many people were injured in the Lagos suburb when thugs suspected to be cultists unleashed violence on innocent people, vandalising and looting properties at Ogolonto.

The violence, which started on Saturday evening and continued till yesterday afternoon, spread to other parts of the community.

Genuine protesters barricaded the expressway to press home their demands, the hoodlums, it was learnt, took advantage of the situation to loot shops, attack motorists, smashed vehicles’ windscreens and side mirrors.

Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi said normalcy had been restored.

In Ilorin, suspected cultists allegedly attacked the protesters who converged on the General Post-Office area of the metropolis.

Another account alleged that the protesters were attacked by traders, who convert the under the post-office bridge to makeshift market on Sunday.

The clash led to pandemonium and tension in and around the area.

It was gathered that some of the traders sustained injuries. No life was lost.

The other account said suspected cultists carried out the attack and that one person was feared killed.

Police spokesman Ajayi Okasanmi confirmed the attack.

He said nobody died.

Okasanmi said: “I’m aware of the protest and alleged attack on some traders, but I am not aware of the death of anybody.”

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq described the attack on protesters as despicable and intolerable.

“I vehemently denounce the violent attacks on the protesters and I call on the security agencies to ensure that the dastardly act is addressed immediately. The daredevil attackers must be identified, arrested, and prosecuted immediately. The attack must not go unchallenged,” AbdulRazaq’s spokesman Rafiu Ajakaye issued the statement.

The statement reads: “Peaceful protest is a constitutional right and no government or individuals are allowed under the law to abridge such a right. While we continue to urge the young protesters to remain peaceful while their legitimate grievances are addressed, I hereby call for security beef up to prevent the reoccurrence of such attacks on the protesters or other residents of the state.”

Movement around the popular Effurun Roundabout in Uvwie Council Area of Warri, Delta State, was impossible as protesters gathered in large numbers.

Effurun Roundabout is a major inroad on the East-West Road linking the Southsouth to other parts of the country.

Most of the protesters were carrying the national flag and placards with several inscriptions written on them.

Some of the inscriptions read: “If we don’t get the reform we need, we won’t stop protesting”; “Soro soke”; ”#EndBADGOVERNANCE”; “#EndPOLICEBRUTALITY”; “Fight for tomorrow now”; and “EndSARS, EndSWAT”, among others.

They also demanded justice for slain victims of police brutality in the state and across Nigeria.

Like Lagos and Warri, business and social activities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, were almost at a halt.

The protesters blocked major roads in Abuja causing massive gridlocks across the city and forcing many drivers to wrongly drive against their lanes as they frantically looked for routes to be on their way.

The protesters blocked major areas including Banex, Wuse Market, Kubwa Expressway, Gudu Junction.

The city was almost like a ghost town. Many people who were not part of the protests, suspended their activities for the day.

A group of the protesters held their Sunday Service near the Ministry of Finance building.

Yesterday was the most horrible for motorists and pedestrians in Benin City since the protests began 12 days ago. The Edo State capital was in total lockdown.

The angry protesters blocked all the entry and exit points in Benin with bonfires, logs of wood and other heavy objects, making some motorists to abandon their vehicles, while many others opted to endure the complete standstill.

The stranded pedestrians were also forced to trek long distances to their destinations.

Earlier in the day, the ever-busy Benin-Lagos Expressway was barricaded in front of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) at Ugbowo.

Some motorists from Ore/Lagos, Akure and Asaba/Onitsha were using alternative village to access Benin.

Another set of protesters converged on the main gate of Ageen Aluminium on the Benin-Lagos Expressway to block the alternative routes.

Thousands of protesters on the Ekenwan-Barracks Road, near Ekenwan Campus of UNIBEN, also blocked the busy road.

The protesters on Ekenwan Road turned the road to a makeshift kitchen to prepare food which they ate.

Sapele, Auchi and Asaba/Onitsha roads were not spared of the blockade. Road users groaned.

Protesters caused a mild scene around Agodi Secretariat Road, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital as motorists and other road users were forced to use alternative routes.

Around 1pm, protesters started assembling at the Roundabout opposite the Agodi Secretariat Gate. Unsuspecting road users en route the Agodi Secretariat road were forced to make a detour, driving against traffic.

The Oyo State government said it had created an email account and a section on the state’s website for residents of the state to report violations and brutality by policemen.


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