NEWS: Soldiers Brutalize Newsmen, #EndSars Protesters In Abuja


…As Police announce SWAT to replace SARS

…Buhari okays 5-point demand by ‘EndSARS’ protesters, as Police reforms begin

…Protesters continue rallies on Lagos roads

…Sanwo-Olu orders release of arrested protesters, promises N200m compensation to families of victims

…Protesters defy Wike, storm Port Harcourt streets; gather at Govt House

…Wike says he won’t join protest  because nobody listened when Rivers was affected

…Ebonyi youths demand justice for victims of Police brutality

…Zulum asks IGP to redeploy disbanded SARS to fight Boko Haram in Borno

…IGP orders SARS personnel to report at Force Hqtrs for debriefing

EndSARS protesters who stormed the National Assembly to register their grievances against the special unit of the police to the leadership yesterday had a raw deal in the hands of soldiers deployed to the area.

Also yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Muhammed, announced the setting up of a new Special Weapons and Tactics Team, SWAT, to replace the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.

These came on a day the protests spread to Port Harcourt in Rivers State; Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Ondo states, continued in Ibadan, Oyo State, even as it escalated in Lagos and Kaduna states.

The protest in the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt, was particularly triggered by the governor, Nyesom Wike, who banned any such protest in his state.

Barely a few hours after the ban by the governor, youths in their hundreds defied the ban, trooping onto the streets of Port Harcourt to join their colleagues who had been on the protest nationwide for up to a week.

This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday directed the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, to respond to the five demands of protesters against the brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.

Soldiers maul protesters in Abuja

The protest in Abuja, which entered its sixth day, started as a peaceful demonstration, as the protesters marched to the National Assembly to register their complaints against SARS and the need for reformation of the police force before the leadership.

Exactly one kilometre to the NASS complex, the #EndSARS protesters ran into a military road block, chanting solidarity songs.

They were stopped by the soldiers at the same point mobile policemen sprayed them with water cannon last weekend.

As the protesters continued their rendition of the National Anthem, the soldiers asked them to retreat but they insisted on seeing principal officers of the National Assembly.More in Home

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An argument ensued between both parties, following which the soldiers descended on  two Arise Television cameramen and the protesters.

The soldiers hijacked one of the cameras, arrested the cameraman and used the butt of their rifles to attack the protesters, including journalists in their midst.null

As the camera was seized, the the Arise TV reporter dissolved into the protesters and continued his reportage of the incident.

Consequently, only his voice was heard on air without visuals, as the camera had already been seized by the soldiers.

The females among the protesters could be heard screaming in the background of the report. It was later learned that the soldiers used tree branches to flog the protesters.null

After about 40 minutes of the melee, the camera was returned to the crew of the television station but the soldiers stood their ground, insisting that the protesters would not enter the NASS complex.

NASS members remained indoors

One of the protesters, who pleaded anonymity, lamented that for the period their torture in the hands of the soldiers lasted, no lawmaker from the National Assembly intervened, even though they were at plenary at the time.

When the situation simmered, the EndSARS protesters continued with their agitation for reformation of the Police.

Protests escalate in Lagos

In Lagos, protesters refused to retreat, despite pleas by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had been appealing to them in the last  48 hours to do so, as they continued to ground businesses and vehicular movements across the state yesterday.

It will be recalled that #EndSARS protesters stormed major highways in Lagos and other states in the country on Monday, on the sixth day of their protests against police brutality, harassment, and violation of human rights, particularly against youth on the pretext of being Advanced Fee Fraudsters, otherwise known as “Yahoo Boys.”

The protesters, mainly youths, yesterday extended their protests to other arteries and inner roads in the metropolis on the seventh day of the protest.

They refused to vacate Alausa, Lagos House, Secretariat, Ikeja, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lekki Toll Gate, Ikorodu Road, Alimosho, FESTAC Town, Ogba, and Egbeda, among other areas.

At 9am, the protesters converged on Government House, Alausa, Ikeja in what seemed like a carnival.

From Alausa, they proceeded to Allen Avenue Junction, Ikeja, blocking the major roads before stopping at Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.null

They insisted they would not call off the protests unless the Federal Government acceded to their demands.

Speaking with Vanguard, some of the protesters said the ongoing protests were being supported by some spirited Nigerian youths who were tired of bad leadership, stressing that the protests should not be linked to individuals, human rights groups or bodies.

Commenting on the recent proscription of SARS by the Inspector-General of Police, one of the protesters, Sanyaolu Juwon, said the IGP’s pronouncement does not hold water as this is the fourth time Nigerians would witness the proscription of SARS without subsequent follow-up.null

The protesters, who called for the  immediate resignation of the Inspector General of Police, said four Nigerians were shot by men of the Nigeria Police Force, despite the IGP’s directives to his officers.

He said:   “Four Nigerian youths were shut during the protests across the country. Also, our colleagues are facing trials in Ogun- and Oyo states, with little or no concern by the IGP.

“If the brutality and killings of innocent Nigerians continue under  the IGP, we are not ready to leave the streets.”null

Speaking further, he said President Buhari should issue an executive order to ban and stop the activities of SARS across the nation.

“Our demands are: ‘no Police officer should carry a pump action gun on the streets of Nigeria. In civilized countries, policemen carry pocket guns but policemen  in Nigeria carry ammunition and this is dangerous in a democratic setting.

“The IGP should tender his resignation letter, justice for all victims of Police brutality and President Buhari should issue an executive order on the ban of SARS.”

Lekki-Epe road shut down

The protesters also shut down the Lekki-Epe expressway tollgate at about 9:00am, causing serious traffic gridlock that grounded vehicular movements, even as they marched from the tollgate to Ikoyi and back to the tollgate.

Consequently, motorists and commuters were stranded for hours, just as it happened the previous day.

Sanwo-Olu, who told  protesters at Alausa yesterday that he had to suspend his trip to Abuja as a result of the continued protest, said the state government has earmarked N200 million as compensation for families of victims of  SARS’ killings.null

He also said the state government would set up a panel of inquiry, comprising youth leaders appointed by #EndSARS protesters, members of the public, government officials and security agencies, to look into the allegations of human rights abuses against SARS operatives in the state.

The objective of the panel, the governor said, is to bring indicted police officers to book and get justice for victims killed and maimed by SARS operatives.

Besides, Sanwo-Olu also set up a Trust Fund to compensate the families of the victims of police brutality in the state. According to the governor, management and disbursement of the funds will be completely supervised by Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, appointed by members of the public.null

Sanwo-Olu further promised to convey the request of the protesters to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

Arrested persons released

To douse the current tension in the state, the state police command has released all those arrested  during the #EndSARS protests, in compliance with Governor Sanwo-Olu’s directive.

Those  released include Nkemakolam Okpara Felicia, female. 27; Nduka Treasure Chiamaka, female,21;  Adefila Olanrewaju;  Adeola Adebayo,; Ayodeji Ayeni; and Adebola Ojabodu


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