As police in Rivers fire live rounds at demonstrators
The Pan-Niger Delta Forum PANDEF, yesterday, canvassed intervention of the African Union (AU) and the international community to end the #EndSARS protests across the country before things get out of hand.
PANDEF also condemned the brutalisation of Nigerian youth by hoodlums along with police officers across the country, particularly in Abuja and Benin City, Edo State.
It demanded an immediate end of the intimidation, harassment and physical assault of young Nigerians, who are protesting peacefully having been frustrated over the state of the nation.
PANDEF’s national chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd.), said the call for intervention was based on the fact that if the Federal Government failed to handle issues surrounding the protests properly and continued in the present manner, it won’t augur well for the country in terms of the socio-economic and political consequences.
“We had expected President Muhammadu Buhari to address the youth in a fatherly manner to assuage their justified anger, instead of deploying the military and police against them and the tactless enabling of hired, armed thugs to unleash terror on peaceful protesters,” he said.
He said PANDEF also deems the nationwide Operation Crocodile Smile exercise announced by the Nigeria Army, as provocative and another unnecessary misadventure, adding, “PANDEF’s stance is that soldiers have no business trying to do police job and do not have to get involved in the #EndSARS protests.
“They are more needed in the North East and North West where Boko Haram and bandits are making life unbearable for citizens.”
Nkanga said it was unbelievable that the police would stand aloof and watch, while hoodlums attack peaceful protesters in parts of the country.
He lamented that protesters in Kano and other cities in the north, supporting SARS are allowed to process around the cities without being attacked and the police shooting at them.
POLICEMEN at Rukpokwu in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, fired live ammunition sporadically into the air to scare away #EndSARS protesters who stormed the area yesterday.
But what would have resulted to bloodbath was, however, averted as the protesters decided not to enter the SARS office following the sporadic gunshots.
The protesters, who had converged on the Obiri Ikwerre flyover along the East-West Road, had initially planned to storm the Port Harcourt International Airport, but decided to take their protest to the SARS office midway to express their grievances against police brutality.
Undeterred by the gunshots, they marched past the SARS chanting anti-police songs and demanding an end to police brutality and extra-judicial killings.
Also, a pro-Buhari group staged a protest in Port Harcourt seeking an end to the #EndSARS demonstrations in the state.
Leader of the group, Fred Taria, said the #EndSARS protests ought to ended to give way for peaceful dialogue with government.
Commissioner of Police (CP), Joseph Mukan, who addressed the protesters at the police headquarters on Moscow Road, said he would communicate their message to the appropriate quarters.