…Ogun, Ekiti, Enugu, Delta raise probe panels on police brutality
…I watched helplessly as stray bullet killed my driver – Victim’s boss during Sanwo-Olu’s visit
…Woman arrested over death of 2 demonstrators
By Our Reporters
#ENDSARS protests took a deadly turn, yesterday, after Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State was attacked by suspected hoodlums in Osogbo, the state capital.
Two persons were reportedly killed during the protest in the state.
One of the victims, a motorcyclist, was said to have been hit by stray bullet at Oke Ayepe area of the state capital while the other, yet to be identified, fell off his motorcycle and died during the commotion that attended the attack on Oyetola.
Earlier, yesterday, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State had raised the alarm that the protests had been hijacked by members of an opposition party.
In Lagos, residents were practically grounded as youths, who were protesting for the 10th day, blocked major highways in the state.
As early as 8 am, the protesters had occupied the roads, forcing motorists to a standstill.
Many motorists had to abandon their vehicles to trek to their destinations.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu separately visited the family and boss of Ikechukwu Iloamauzor, a driver, who was allegedly killed in Surulere area of the state by police stray bullet during the protest on Monday.
Emotional boss of the victim, Sam Okafor, narrated to the governor how he watched helplessly as stray bullet killed his driver.
Protesters also shut down Makurdi, Benue State capital, while Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Delta and Enugu state governments raised panels to probe police brutality in their respective states. There were also protests yesterday in Abuja, Kaduna and Port Harcourt.
Reports from Abia State said the state government warned opposition politicians to steer clear of the #EndSARs protests by youths to avoid violent escalation or loss of lives.
Youths across the country have since last Wednesday been protesting against brutality by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) leading to the disbandment of the specialised arm of the police.
The authorities replaced the outfit with what they called SWAT which was also rejected by the protesting youths who listed some demands to include sanctions for SARS operatives who may have erred and compensation for victims.
On Friday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo tendered government’s apology on the activities of the disbanded SARS.
Before then, Osinbajo and the 36 state governors had, during a meeting on Thursday, agreed that judicial panels be set up by the governors to investigate the activities of SARS and other police units in their respective states.
Oyetola had reportedly joined the #EndSARS protest in Osogbo before things went awry.
The initially peaceful protest, held from Oke-Fia to the popular Olaiya Junction in the state capital, turned violent when some hoodlums attacked the convoy of the governor.
He addressed the protesters but while he was rounding off his speech, some hoodlums, wielding dangerous weapons, attacked his convoy and damaged several vehicles. The hoodlums also injured many of the protesters.
Oyetola was quickly ferried away from the scene, while those who sustained injuries were taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.
The governor, while addressing the protesters before the attack, said that the youth had spoken loud and clear, adding that government would continue to protect their interest.
It was an emotional scene when Sanwo-Olu visited the family and boss of Iloamauzor who was allegedly killed in Surulere by stray bullet during the on-going EndSARS protest in Lagos.
Speaking to the wife of the deceased, Ngozi, and family members, the governor, who was accompanied by the Attorney General of the state, Mr. Moyosere Onibanjo (SAN), described the incident as unfortunate and assured the family of the victim of justice.
He explained that he came with the Attorney General to enable him hand over the matter to him, personally and immediately directed the AG to take over and ensure that justice is done, adding that a panel set up to investigate the incident will be inaugurated tomorrow.
During the governor’s visit to Iloamuazor’s boss, Sam Okafor, an eye witness to the incident, explained that the deceased was not participating in the protest that led to his death. Okafor said that they ran into the protesters in Surulere on their way to Ilupeju.
He narrated: “We were stuck in the traffic caused by the protesters, who were shouting EndSARS. For more than 40 minutes, there was no movement. I wound down the windshield for fresh air while Iloamuazor got down from the car to stretch his body. After stretching, he put his both hands into his pockets and was trying to figure out where the traffic started. Suddenly we heard gunshot three times. The next thing I saw was Iloamuazor falling from his position. His hands remained in his pockets as he fell. I ran out from the car and screamed for help. People came and started performing all sorts of things to save him. The police came to the scene and I told them my driver had been shot on the spot.”
Meanwhile, Lagos witnessed heavy traffic following protests embarked on by #EndSARS protesters who occupied many highways in the state.
The protest took a twist as demonstrators moved into inner roads and other major highways.
The areas occupied by thousands of protesters with attendant traffic gridlock include Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos Abeokuta Expressway by Cement Bus stop, Ikorodu Road, Funsho Williams Avenue, Awolowo Way from Ikeja under bridge to Alausa Secretariat, Gbagada Expressway inward Oshodi Bus Stop, LASU-Iba,, Yaba, Mainland Local Government Area.
The inner roads occupied include Igbogbo-Baiyeku in Ikorodu, Shasha-Akonwonjo, Egbeda-Idimu-Ikotun Road, Igando, Capitol Road, Agege, Apple Junction, Festac, Okota, Ogunnisi Road- Ogba, among others.
The traffic gridlock affected an about – to – wed convoy along Isheri-Ikotun Road,Alimosho as they ran into the protest forcing them to a halt.
It took fervent plea from guests and passers-by before the protesters later cleared the crowd to allow the convoy who were stuck for about 30 minutes have access way to their destination.
Makurdi shut down
Thousands of youths grounded activities in Makurdi, Benue State capital.
The protesters, who gathered as early as 6am at IBB Square in the High Level area of the town, marched through major roads in the town disrupting vehicular movement and creating gridlock around the town.
Most of the protesters who bore placards and banners with inscription like “End Police Brutality”, “End SARS Now”, “Reform Nigeria”, “Lazy Youths Are Tired”, Sack Service Chief”, Nigerian Want Their Country Back” and “Reform the Police” conducted themselves peacefully as they walked and sang songs of solidarity.
As they sang and danced the protesters also ensured that the town was not littered as selected members took out time to pick all trashes dropped in the course of the march.
After marching through the town, the protesters again converged at the IBB Square for a break promising to resume the march much later.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said he had set up a committee to receive complaints from members of the public on illegal detention, extortion and brutality by officers of the police as agreed during a meeting between VP Osinbajo and state governors.
Akeredolu spoke while addressing #EndSars protesters in front of the Government House, Alagbaka, Akure.
He said that the committee is headed by a retired Chief Judge and would commence work this week.
Delta State government also constituted an eight-member judicial panel of enquiry to investigate allegations of police brutality and extra-judicial killings in the state.
A statement by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Chiedu Ebie, said the panel, approved by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, would receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra–judicial killings in the state.
The SSG said the panel would investigate complaints from victims of the disbanded SARS or any other police unit, with a view to ascertaining their validity.
He said that the panel was also expected to recommend compensations and/or other remedies appropriate for each case.
According to him, the panel has Justice Celestina Ogisi (rtd.) as Chairman and Mr Omamuzo Erebe as Secretary.
In Ogun, Governor Dapo Abiodun said he had appointed Justice Solomon Olugbemi (retired) as Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Investigation on alleged cases of police brutality in the state.
“The committee is to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality, human rights violations or related extra-judicial killings; evaluate evidence presented and recommend compensation and other remedial measures, where appropriate”, Abiodun said.
He also announced a Special Security and Human Rights Committee with himself as Chairman.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for the second time in two days, addressed some youths in Enugu State who were protesting against police brutality, announcing the setting up of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra judicial killings.
Ugwuanyi, who addressed the #EndSars protesters amid cheers, reiterated his endorsement to the state government’s position on the demands made by the protesting youth, disclosed that the panel will be chaired by a High Court Judge with two representatives of the Civil Society Groups and one retired Police Officer of high repute as members.
Other members of the panel, according to Ugwuanyi, include one youth representative, one student representative, a representative of the State Attorney General and another from the Human Rights Commission.
The governor who applauded the protesters, led by two prominent artists, Flavor and Phyno, for the peaceful nature of the protest expressed the solidarity of the government and people of the state to their cause.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, on his part, revealed that his administration was taking steps to ensure justice for victims of police brutality in Ekiti State through the setting up a Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS and Related Abuses in the state.
Fayemi spoke while presenting the State of the State Address on the floor of the State House of Assembly, Ado-Ekiti before the state legislators and other distinguished personalities as part of activities marking his two years in office.
He said: “In line with the recommendation of the National Economic Council, I have today constituted a Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses in the State.
“The panel will look at all verifiable cases of SARS brutality and fatality and ensure offending SARS officers are identified and prosecuted appropriately while victims or their families are duly compensated.
“Membership of the panel will include a retired judge of the State High Court as Chairperson, and representation from Civil Society Organisations, including youth groups.
“The Honourable Attorney-General will publish additional details, including giving information on how our citizens can access the panel.”
Abia warns against politicisation of protests
While warning opposition politicians in Abia State to steer clear of the protests by youths under the auspices of #EndSars to avoid escalation or loss of life as such could be hijacked by hoodlums to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens, the state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, assured that the state government was fully in support of young Nigerians expressing their views through peaceful protests. “Abia State Government has uncovered plots hatched by a certain politician in the state to hijack the peaceful agitation of #EndSARS protesters and turn it into a political tool to attempt to get what he couldn’t get using the constitutional means that the ballot box is”, Kalu said.
“The State Government is aware of the funding and mobilization of at least two Abia born musicians who are resident outside the state to provide cover for those who will be brought in from Monday to attack marked government establishments under the guise of protesting against the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS). Bloggers and some broadcast media practitioners were also funded to launch attacks against the government to incite the people against the government and we have turned over the list of those involved in the plot to security agencies and the Governor has directed full protection for genuine #EndSARS protesters”.
Okiyi, who assured that youths of the state are free to join others across the nation to protest against extra judicial killings and brutality by a section of law enforcement agents and other real or perceived ills of the police, appealed to them to resist attempts by politicians to hijack their genuine agitation. He said the State Government is working with security agencies in the state to ensure the protection of genuine #EndSARS protesters as well as identify and question all those involved in unwholesome plot to endanger the lives of the protesters including one Nwosu, his sponsor and accomplices who are behind the dastardly plot.
In a related development, Lagos State Police Command said it had arrested one Mrs Nike Lawal, one of the #EndSARS protesters, for allegedly driving recklessly and killing two persons at Ikola Road, Alagbado area of Lagos, on Wednesday.
According to the state command spokeperson, SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Lawal was the driver of Toyota 4Runner SUV that ran into a tricycle and killed the duo of Ojo Azeez, 27, and Yusuf Sodia, 26, both males of command road, Alagbado, Lagos.
Adejobi stated that the suspect, who intentionally removed the number plates on her SUV, as of the time of the incident, joined the protest at AIT junction, Alagbado, and started driving recklessly, like many other protesters, before the fatal accident.