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ENDSARS ANNIVERSARY: Undeterred youths protest in Lagos State

16:02 Oct 20 2021 Lagos State

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UNDETERRED by warnings of various state commands of the Nigeria Police against street protests, Nigerians, across the nation, on Wednesday, staged rallies, protests, processions and converged on various locations across the country in commemoration of the first year anniversary of what has been branded the October 20, 2020 massacre at Lekki tollgate, Lagos, which occurred during the #EndSARS protests that rocked the nation last year.

Braving the odds and huge security presence at the Lekki tollgate, protesters began to trickle in at about 8.00 a.m. with the police initially arresting two persons that included a journalist, Bisola Alawode.

However, the organisers of the #EndSARS memorial, including popular Nigerian rapper, Folarin Falana (Falz) and comedian, Mr Macaroni, made good their words on staging an #EndSARS memorial car procession when, at about 8.30 a.m, about 150 vehicles and motorcycles blaring horn unabatedly swooped on Lekki tollgate.

For hours, the convoy ran circles around the tollgate with drivers and occupants of the vehicles holding Nigerian flags while chanting #EndSARS, #EndSWAT, #EndPolicebrutality among various other messages to the Nigerian authorities.

Among their messages were calls on the Nigerian government to release those arrested in the wake of last year’s #EndSARS protests, an end to police brutality which they noted had persisted, an end to bad governance with lamentation about the high cost of living and call for equity and justice in the Nigerian system.

From several rounds of motorcade procession around the tollgate, the protest moved to vehicles staying at a point with protesters coming out to voice the messages on the occasion of the first year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests.

Pushing, dragging, arresting of persons ensued afterwards as security operatives battled to prevent the protesters from forming a crowd at the tollgate.

With the protesters staying resolute and the atmosphere becoming tense, security operatives resorted to shooting teargas canisters, as people ran in different directions.

Throughout the day, there was huge presence of armed police officers stationed especially at areas that served as protest grounds for last year’s #EndSARS protests.

As a result of the security presence, residents and shop owners went about their normal businesses without disruptions.

Some of the business owners who were victims of the looting that characterised the protests told Nigerian Tribune that while they still bore a psychological trauma, they had erected strong barricade to secure their stores.

Police describe 10 arrested protesters as miscreants:

No fewer than 10 people were arrested as the armed policemen described them as ‘miscreants,’ saying that apart from defaulting on the agreed modalities between the organisers and the police for the conduct of the exercise, some of them were arrested with weapons.

The police also said the arrested journalist, Bisola Alawode, could not provide any form of identification at the venue but was later released on the order of the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu.

Odumosu said, “We agreed that they should keep moving. Any vehicle that is abandoned, we will take them from here to protective custody.

“We arrested some people now with machetes. These are miscreants. Today is a working day. I called Tope who is one of the leaders, and he said by 10.00 a.m., they had left. I spoke with their leader who represented them at the panel, and he said they had left.

“Those cannot be protesters but hoodlums and that is why they were chased away so that peaceful citizens can go about with their lawful businesses.”
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