#EndSars Protests Claim Lives in Edo State

Thugs suspected to have been paid and sponsored by unknown persons are said to have attacked  #EndSARS protesters on Friday in Benin City, the Edo State capital, leading to the death of two protesters.

The suspected thugs are alleged to have thrown rocks at the protesters who besieged the Edo State House of Assembly and shot sporadically, leaving two persons reportedly dead and many injured.

The protesters, in a reprisal attack, took the fight back towhere the thugs were converging at the museum ground in King’s Square (RingRoad) where they engaged in a brawl.

A victim who was caught in the web during the free-for-all,Godswill Abere, suffered serious head injuries. Mr Abere said he was not partof the #EndSARS protest, but was beaten up over claims that he was takingpictures of the brawl.

“I was just on my way from the bank. When I got to the AirportRoad, some boys just attacked me because I was holding my phone. They claimedthat I wanted to take pictures and videos of them. So, they snatched my phoneand started hitting me from different angles.

“I am yet to recover the phone. They have my phone. The make isTecno Camon 12. I was not part of the protest,” Mr Abere lamented.

The activities of the protesters caused the Ring Road axis to bedeserted for the fear of possible escalation of violence, while motorists wereleft with no option than to seek alternative routes to their destinations.

However, one of the #EndSARS protesters, Dennis Osaretin, saidthey were in solidarity with the protests that are currently going on acrossother states. He called for a total overhauling of the nation’s securityarchitecture.

“I am here to show solidarity to the Nigerian youth on theirrecent call for the end of SARS, and not just the end of SARS but for a totaloverhaul and reform of the Nigeria Police and the entire Nigeria securityarchitecture, and to a larger extent, a total reform and overhaul of theNigerian states.

“All we are looking for now, is a state that works for all, astate that works for the youth, provides employment, provides safety andsecurity for our people beyond the lip service. “We have come out here to showthat we are tired of the way the country is and we want something for a changeat least for once,” Mr Osaretin said.

Attempts to get the comments of the police were not successfulas the state police commissioner, Johnson Kokumo, and the command’s policepublic relations officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, did not answer several calls to theirphones.

But the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, condemned the attackon #EndSARS protesters in Benin City by unidentified hoodlums, noting that athorough investigation would commence immediately to bring the culprits tojustice.

The governor, in a statement, charged the Edo State police commandto come out in full force to provide adequate security to the protesters, asthey were exercising their rights as concerned citizens of Nigeria.

According to him, “I have just learnt that hoodlums haveattacked #EndSARS protesters, who have conducted themselves peacefully in BeninCity. I extend condolences to the victims of the attacks, including those wholost their lives and others who were injured by the thugs.

 “It is disheartening that anyone would attack a peaceful assembly of young people who are expressing genuine concerns over police brutality and intimidation in their own country.

“I hereby call on the Edo State Police Command to get out on thestreets and provide adequate security for the protesters and ensure that no oneis harassed in the course of exercising their rights.”