Youths, activists protest in Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Plateau, Edo, Rivers, Enugu, Abia, others

THE NATION newspaper

Youths and activists on Wednesday defied the police by peacefully protesting in Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Plateau, Edo, Rivers, Enugu, Abia and Delta states to mark the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protests.

It was a battle of wits between the organisers of the events and security men in some states as they tried to outsmart each other.

A journalist was arrested in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, as policemen dispersed protesters.

Protesters defy police orders in Ibadan
Despite warnings by the police, groups of youths yesterday staged a peaceful protest in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital city.

The youths, who were dressed in black, carried placards and sang solidarity songs expressing displeasure about the continuous detention of some of those arrested over the #EndSARS protest last year.
Although the Iwo Road axis was manned by heavy security presence, the protesters in a convoy of about five cars with a minibus carrying speakers moved around the Iwo Road Roundabout.

Despite the protests, business owners, shop owners and residents move freely in the axis without fear.

But, the protest led to mild traffic congestion in the area. Officers of the traffic unit of the police were on hand to help manage the traffic situation before degenerating.

Police special forces, including Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Anti-Kidnapping Squad (AKS), Anti-Bomb Squad and other officers, were strategically located in the axis.

Coordinator of the group, christened: “Take it back movement”, Oyo State chapter, Emiola Solomon, said the group is protesting the continuous detention of some of its members, who were arrested since last year.

A mild drama played out when the protesters stopped at the Ibadan-Ife axis of the Iwo Road Roundabout and faced the police officers who were seated and monitoring the situation.

Despite the intimidating songs and verbal attacks on the police officers, the policemen remained calm and assured the protesters of the readiness to ensure the protest was not hijacked.

The protesters, later guided by security operatives, walked from Iwo Road through Idi Ape to Agodi Gate before terminating at the Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi.

They later marched on to Ojoo where they were billed to stage a candle procession.

Addressing the protesters at the entrance, the Executive Assistant to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security, CP Sunday Odukoya (retd), said the case is still in court and urged the protesters to be lawful in their conduct.

Ojoo, a major centre announced for yesterday’s protest, and the main gate of the University of Ibadan were deserted this morning by protesters.

When our correspondents visited the two sites famous for protests, scores of armed and unarmed policemen were seen at strategic locations obviously to prevent the planned protest.

Soldiers were also seen patrolling UI-Sango-Ojoo Road.

Security men disrupt peaceful protest in Plateau

Some youths in Plateau State stage a peace #EndSARS protest in the evening at the National Museum headquarters in Jos to honour the victims, who died last year. However, the aggrieved youths in their small numbers converged at the National museum at about 6:00 pm to begin the solemn event.

The peaceful event took close to an hour before armed security personnel stormed the venue and asked them to leave, calling their gathering illegal.

The event was climax with candlelight as a sign of respect to the fallen heroes.

One of the activists, who craved anonymity, told The Nation: “It is not about people coming out en-masse. This is a solemn event in which our little number is enough to commemorate the death of youths, who sacrificed their lives during the October 20, 2020 #EndSARS protest across the country.”


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