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Soldiers take over streets of Abuja as Edo state protest takes to violence

Soldiers take over streets of Abuja as Edo state protest
Soldiers take over streets of Abuja as Edo state protest

Soldiers have been stationed around strategic places in the federal capital territory (FCT).

This development comes amid protests by Nigerians demanding an end to police brutality and a reform of the force.

The #EndSARS protests have persisted for more than a week across the country.

The army had issued a statement, saying it would embark on a nationwide operation codenamed, ‘Crocodile Smile’.

Civil society organisations had kicked against the army’s plan to deploy soldiers in the streets to clamp down on protesters.

Although the army said its operation was not targeted at protesters, on Monday, soldiers could be seen lined up on major roads across the FCT.

Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, a group led by Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, had warned the army leadership of consequences if soldiers unleashed violence on protesters.

#EndSARS protesters in the nation’s capital have faced attacks by thugs wielding clubs and machetes.

Anthony Onome, a protester, was stabbed on Saturday when he and other agitators protesting against police brutality were attacked by hoodlums in the Kubwa area of the FCT.

He died on Sunday.

Meanwhile in other news: Hoodlums break into Benin prison, set inmates free.

Benin City Edo state, witnessed a very scary and worrisome state of emergency and terror as the intended end SARS protest took a violent approach. Some hoodlums and thugs joined in the protests and began perpetrating their own negative and evil agenda.

Mobile movement was grounded in every nook and crannies of the city beginning from ring road (the king’s square). Bonfires were located at every access leading into the king’s square which is the centre of the city. the state’s house of assembly and airport were on on lockdown as well.

There was also a prison break as close to a hundred inmates were let loose through the main gate at the entrance of the prison facility. There was also another video recording online of showing personals though not officially dressed in uniforms, who shot at inmates as they tried to scale through the high fence of the prison’s wall. When one of the inmates who escaped was interviewed by protesters and eyewitnesses he simply narrated the injustice that led to him being imprisoned in the first instance without trial and fair hearing since 2016 and was relieved to be out as he kept running away.

Majority of the citizens had to carry leaves while walking on the streets. Many businesses especially markets where shut down as well. Most traders had to go back home for fear of vandalization and looting as witnessed by those leaving around upper sokponoba area where thugs collected money from citizen even those trekking along the road. Parents who managed to take their children to school where scared of how to pick them up. as thugs collected outrageous sum to allow passages through the numerous barricades that they set up.

Three police stations where attacked and burnt down after setting free those held in custody.

The song on the lips of those protesting was no longer “end SARS” but “Buhari must go”

The above scenarios led to the state government Governor Godwin Obaseki to pronounce a state of emergency and decreed a curfew beginning from 4pm.

Gift Joseph Okpakorese

Staff Writer

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