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HomeNewsEndSARS Anniversary: Police Ready to Stop Protests Around the Country

EndSARS Anniversary: Police Ready to Stop Protests Around the Country

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Security agents and protesters my clash in many cities across the country on Wednesday as activists and youths insist on gathering in public spaces to commemorate the first year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, which happened last year.

Heavily armed police personnel, on Tuesday, took over the Lekki tollgate area, which was the hotbed of last year’s protests.

#EndSARS memorial protests are planned to take place in Lagos, Abuja, Aba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Enugu, Yola, Ibadan, Benin City, Jos, Ilorin, Asaba and Osogbo, among others.

In October last year, spontaneous protests had erupted in different parts of the country against police brutality, especially by the personnel of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad, and the #EndSARS movement soon garnered international support.

The protests, however, turned bloody on October 20, 2020, when soldiers and policemen fired at the protesters in Lagos.

Abuja, the nation’s capital, hoodlums attacked the protesters and injured many of them. They also looted warehouses and set ablaze over 18 cars and vandalised more than 12 vehicles.

In response to the outcry, the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad police unit, the fourth time the Federal Government had disbanded it.

On October 19, 2020, the President accused the protesters of trying to cause anarchy and warned that the government would not tolerate that.

The police have, however, warned the organisers and attendees of the commemorative protests to desist from going ahead with their plans as they will be arrested and prosecuted.

In Lagos, personnel of the state police command embarked on a show of force on Tuesday to intimidate the organisers and participants of the #EndSARS memorial protests in the state.

Fully armed personnel in police patrol vehicles were seen patrolling potential protest grounds in a show of force.

Lagos State Police Command, however, said no form of street protest in commemoration of the #EndSARS anniversary would be tolerated in any part of the state.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, in a statement on Tuesday, dispelled the rumour circulating on social media that the police had agreed to allow street demonstrations to commemorate the #EndSARS protest anniversary scheduled to hold today (Wednesday).

Ajisebutu said, “The attention of the Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to a post being circulated on social media insinuating that the police in Lagos have agreed to allow street protests in commemoration of the one-year #EndSARS anniversary on October 20, 2021.

“On the contrary, the police will only allow indoor and virtual events in commemoration of the #EndSARS anniversary and will provide adequate security at the venue(s) if known. This is in recognition of the rights of every Nigerian to express his or her interest.

“We wish we could permit such street protests. However, intelligence at our disposal has revealed plans by some faceless groups or individuals to stage an anti-#EndSARS anniversary protest in the state on the same day.

“In view of the conflicting interest between the pro and anti-#EndSARS anniversary groups and threat to cause mayhem, the command once again warns both groups against any form of street protest between now and October 20, 2021 and beyond.”

In Osun State Police Command, on Tuesday, warned against any unlawful assembly or gathering in commemoration of the #EndSARS protests anniversary in the state.

The spokesperson for the command, Yemisi Opalola, said intelligence available to it indicated plans by some youths and groups of people to embark on protests.

Opalola said the state Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode, had given a marching order to area commanders, divisional police officers and tactical units to be at alert and nip in the bud any act capable of truncating the peace of the state.

She said the commissioner also advised parents and guardians to warn their children and wards to be law-abiding and desist from protests and public gatherings, adding that the police would arrest and prosecute anyone who acted contrary to the directive.

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Oludare
Oludare
Lawyer, Bibliophile, Polyglot, Traveller
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