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Movements grounded, commuters stranded in Lagos, Ogun #EndSARS protests

By Bertram Nwannekanma, Odita Sunday, Isaac Taiwo and Yetunde Jeariogbe
20 October 2020   |   4:16 am
Vehicular movements was grounded in most parts of Lagos and Ogun states yesterday as the protest against the disbanded police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit entered its third week.

#EndSARS protesters at Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, Abule-Egba bus stop, Lagos…yesterday. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Hoodlums attack station, damage police vehicles in Lagos
Vehicular movements was grounded in most parts of Lagos and Ogun states yesterday as the protest against the disbanded police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit entered its third week.

On the Lagos-Ibadan highway, the protesters carried placards with different inscriptions as they blocked the expressway on both lanes around Mowe and Arepo.

As early as 7:00a.m. the ever-busy highway was blocked forcing many commuters and motorists to return home. Some commuters were also trekking to locations where they can ride on motorcycles at exorbitant prices.

Those who were able to get bike early in the morning paid as high as N2,000 from Mowe to Berger but were stuck as they could not reach their destinations following the withdrawal of commercial vehicles from the road.

One of the commuters, Mr Edozie Johnson, who left Aseese at 4:30a.m. towards Lagos, said entering and going beyond Alausa from the expressway was hectic even before 7:30a.m. Some motorists who diverted towards FRSC-Ogba-Road were hooked in gridlock. Many commuters who decided to make a detour following the situation got stuck again as the protesters mounted a roadblock on the road.

Thousands of commuters and motorists were also stranded in different parts of Ogun State as #EndSARS protesters grounded movement and commercial activities. The protests took place in major cities of Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Sango-Ota and Mowe.

All major entry routes into Abeokuta, the state capital, were closed against the users. In Abeokuta, the protesters laid siege at strategic locations including NNPC junction, Panseke, Ibara under bridge and Camp junction along Obantoko in the state capital.

As early as 6:00a.m. the demonstrators defied early downpour and gathered at the locations in further protest against police brutality and bad governance.

The protesters employed the services of private security guards and bouncers who manned the blockades at the various protest locations, while a handful of the operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were also sighted. However, operatives of the state police command were conspicuously missing at the locations.

Addressing the protesters, a lawyer and activist, Kayode Akinsola, said the protest would continue until the government meets their demands. According to him, the youths are displeased with the way the country is being run and thereby demanding better governance.

He bemoaned insecurity, poor infrastructure and joblessness, saying: “Graduating with a first class degree does not guarantee employment in Nigeria.”

MEANWHILE, some scenes of violence were reported in the #EndSARS protest in Lagos yesterday when some hoodlums descended on some policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State command at Adekunle police station, Yaba, around 10:00a.m.

The 97 policemen, who were being conveyed to their various beats on routine relief duties across the state, came across the hoodlums who started shouting “No police, no police”, and stoned them. After the attacks, 19 of them were critically injured while four police vehicles were damaged.

According to police spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, “the policemen, who scampered to safety were eventually rescued and rushed to the Police Clinic at Panti, Yaba, for medical attention.

“The Commissioner of Police Lagos state, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has condemned the attack and urged officers to remain calm while they continue to manage the situation professionally. He appealed to community leaders, parents and guardians, traditional rulers and religious leaders, to caution the youths against violence and any act that is capable of aggravating tension in the state as such would be counter-productive”.