By our correspondents |
Relative calm has returned to major Nigerian cities hit by the #EndSARS protest, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s nationwide broadcast on Thursday night.
Major cities across the country had been hit by violence which left dozens dead after hoodlums hijacked the #EndSARS protest calling for an end to police brutality, looting and unleashing of mayhem on innocent citizens.
Checks by LEADERSHIP Weekend revealed that protesters in many states have suspended their actions, even as governors in some governors have relaxed the curfew imposed in their respective states.
In Lagos, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, relaxed the curfew imposed in the wake of violence triggered by the #EndSARS protest that led to the destruction of public and privately owned facilities in the state.
The governor who made the announcement on Friday while briefing journalists at the Lagos House in Marina said the residents can move around the state from today.
He said, “We have decided that we are going to be easing the curfew from tomorrow (Saturday) morning; and what that easing means is that people will be allowed to go out from 8am to 6pm.
“For emphasis, from 8am tomorrow morning, you will be allowed to go out, to go wherever you wish till 6pm in the evening. We will look at the curfew on Saturday and Sunday and we will come back to you on what will happen in the days – Monday, Tuesday, and into the week.”
Sanwo-Olu, however, urged residents to be mindful of the barricades on the roads while driving, especially at night.
He stated that he had just concluded a tour of hospitals where some of the injured persons, especially the victims of the shooting in Lekki, were receiving treatment.
The governor said as a result of the destruction of properties following the violence, officials of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) would embark on a thorough cleaning of the state.
He appealed to residents to try as much as possible to stay at home if it was not very important for them to go out.
Sanwo-Olu said, “We have commenced the clean-up of the city because the city needs a whole lot of clean-ups; a whole lot of roadblocks, tires burnt on the roads.
“So, LAWMA (officials), as you have seen, are out already and they will be working all through the night and in the event that they do not finish, I want to admonish and appeal to motorists and our citizens to be careful.
“If you do not need to go out, please stay at home, and if you must go out, please drive with a lot of caution because there’s still a lot of tires, barricades, and a lot of broken bottles on the roads.”
In the same vein, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has relaxed the 24 hour curfew imposed in Jos North and Jos South local government councils due to the #EndSARS protest which turned bloody.
Following the president’s broadcast and the ban of protests in the affected councils, normalcy has since returned to Jos and Bukuru Metropolis.
Governor Lalong after going round the city centre to assess the extent of damage and the meeting with stakeholders to review the situation and having satisfied the level of compliance by the people relaxed the 24 hours curfew with effect from yesterday Friday 6.am to 8pm.
As of the time of filing this report #EndSARS protesters have disappeared from the street of Jos as commercial banks and markets which were hitherto shut down have reopened for business in the city centre.
Also in Benue State where the people came up with their own different demands of #EndSARS protest, the tension created by the protest had been doused.
The latest of such demand was at Vandeikya local government area where protesters yesterday blocked Tse-Mker Ihugh road, which they described as a death trap for commuters.
They demanded the federal government to fix the road to enable farmers transport their agricultural produce to the markets.
Also, Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, has reduced the 24-hour curfew earlier imposed in the state to 8:00pm to 8:00am.
The governor gave the directive on Friday in Abakaliki through the commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Mr Uchenna Orji Umahi said that the new directive is with effect from Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, from 8pm to 8am across the state.
He had earlier imposed a 24-hour curfew in the state from 7pm on October 21 to forestall further breakdown of law and order by protesters.
“There shall be an 8pm to 8am curfew across the state, starting from October 23rd,” Umahi said.
In Osun State, #EndSARS protesters yesterday said they have suspended their demonstration in the state capital.
The protesting youths said they were ready to sheath their swords and allow the peace to reign once the government is also ready to replicate the same by meeting their demands.
One of the leaders of the #EndSARS in Osogbo, Osun State capital, Comrade Oluwaseun Adebisi Emmanuel, popularly called Captain made this known while addressing his colleagues at the popular Olaiya junction in the state capital.
He however threatened a comeback if Governor Adegboyega Oyetola failed to meet their demand.
Meanwhile, #EndSARS protesters in all the ten local government areas of Okeogun in Oyo State yesterday met online and unanimously resolved to comply with the directive of the Oyo State #Endsars to suspend the protests in order to give peace a chance.
The group under the aegis of Okeogun Youths #ENDSARS Protesters comprising some vibrant student union activists, artisans and unemployed graduates said after a critical appraisal of the attack on the Nigeria Police Office, Iseyin Divisional and the Nigeria Customs Base, Iseyin, they decided to suspend further protests against police brutality and bad governance in the country.
“The Okeogun Youths have taken this position in deference to the advice of Okeogun royal fathers and community leaders who have sued for peace”, they noted.
The leader of the group who for the sake of security did not want his name or that of other members mentioned said, “Protesting members agreed to shun any violent acts that could tarnish the good image of Okeogun, the home of peace, culture and integrity”.
Some suspected hoodlums had earlier gone ahead to burn and vandalised a police station in Egbeda local government area of Oyo State.
It was gathered that the police station was burnt at the middle of the night.
There were still some pockets of protest in some parts of the state during which the protesters extorted members of the public.
However, fear, tension and looting associated with the protest had been reduced as motorists and commuters now go about devoid of molestation, intimidation and harassment.
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Commissioner of Police Joe Nwachukwu Enwonwu has implored genuine protesters to yield to the plea of the President Muhamadu Buhari and the Oyo State governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, to stop the protests to prevent needless deaths occasioned by the activities of miscreants who are using it as an opportunity to carry out coordinated attacks to loot people’s properties.
He said due to the incessant attacks on the police stations and personnel, some police arms and ammunition had been carted away by hardened criminals.
#EndSARS Financiers Stop Receiving Donations, Reveal Plans On Utilisation Of Remaining Funds
Meanwhile, heeding the advice of President Muhammadu to halt the #EndSARS protest, the Feminist Coalition, a not-for-profit organization and one of the leading organisers of the #EndSARS campaign, has informed all financial supporters of the campaign to stop sending funds to the group.
The coalition also revealed plans for the remaining donated funds.
The group disclosed this in a statement titled, “A Statement from the Feminist Coalition”, issued and co-signed by Damilola Odufuwa, Odunayo Eweniyi, Layo Ogunbanwo, Ozzy Etomi, Ire Aderinokun, Fakhrriyyah Hashim, Oluwaseun Osowobi, Jola Ayeye, Laila Johnson-Salami, Karo Omu, Obiageli Alintah, Tito Ovia, Kiki Mordi and FK Abudu.
The group also urged protesters to stay indoors and observe the curfew in their respective states, saying it received a total of N147.8million cash donations in favour of the #EndSARS protests against brutality and extrajudicial killings by men of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.
It stated: “The funds were raised through the generosity of well-meaning people and concerned Nigerians who want their voices to be heard and their demands to be met.”
According to the group, it decided to stop all donation inflows following the speech by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday evening.
It noted: “The rest of the donations will go towards funding medical emergencies, legal aid for wrongfully detained citizens, and relief for victims of police brutality and families of the deceased.
“The past two weeks have been tough for many Nigerians, most especially the last two days. Many lives have been lost and properties destroyed at the height of what started as peaceful marches for the end to police brutality.
“The Feminist Coalition condoles with every Nigerian mother, father, son, daughter who has lost a loved one in these trying times. These Nigerians share the same vision for a better country as we all do and should be duly recognized as heroes.
“Following the President’s address, we hereby encourage all young Nigerians to stay safe, stay home, and observe the mandated curfew in your state.
“The Feminist Coalition has made a decision to henceforth stop all donation inflows for the #EndSARS peaceful protest. The rest of the donations will go towards funding medical emergencies, legal aid for wrongfully detained citizens, and relief for victims of police brutality and families of the deceased.”
Protests Portend Danger To Nation’s Economy – NECA
Lamenting the negative effects of the #EndSARS protest, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella organisation of employers in the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria, has pointed out that the protests forced many businesses in the country to close down, saying it portends danger to the nation’s already poor economy.
NECA’s director-general, Dr Timothy Olawale, told journalists that businesses could not operate in such disharmony under the heightened insecurity with the collateral damages to infrastructure and property, adding that the impact would resonate in higher cost of doing business.
Olawale said the social unrest and attacks on businesses witnessed in some states will definitely affect investment in the country, given the fact that the attacks and unrest was more prominent in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos.
He said, “Nigeria, already shaken and badly battered by the global crisis brought about by the pandemic, is slipping further into devastating youth protests to police brutality, insecurity, killings and lootings and breakdown of law and order in the country.
“There will be a drastic reduction of foreign direct investment as no investor, local or foreign will put money in any country where its youths are in a long-drawn protest with the government.
“The negative effects can be dire than a deeper recession.’’
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to rise up to the occasion by ensuring normalcy was restored swiftly to prevent further loss of lives, properties and investments in the country.
According to him, the government must put in place strategies to temper the current crisis including instituting deep policy reforms that would address the legitimate issues that caused the unrest.
He made case for adequate and improved welfare package which must include life insurance for the security agencies to forestall any chance of compromise and raise their level of commitment to duty.
Olawale said, “The government should change the orientation of security agents to improve the quality of service; adopt the concept of community based police systems nationwide and promote inter-and-intra state patrol in the country.
“Also, elimination of corruption and the creation of jobs; enhance and promote good governance; build capacity, perpetual training of security agents whilst involving communities in policing.”
South East Gov Sue For Peace
Meanwhile, as Nigerians and corporate organizations count their losses to the protests, the South-East governors’ forum has condemned purported audiovisual circulating in the social media branding the nationwide #EndSARS protest as an Igbo ethnic agenda.
The chairman of the South-East Governors’ forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi disclosed this in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital after an emergency virtual meeting of the southeast governors with south-east traditional rulers, Igbo apex socio-cultural group Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and religious leaders.
Umahi described the action by some unscrupulous persons as undemocratic and unpatriotic which no doubt is capable of pitching the Igbos against the northerners and south-west brothers.
Umahi said it was no longer news that the peaceful #EndSARS protest had been hijacked by hoodlums who took advantage to destroy government properties and lives.
He appealed to Nigerians to disembark on the #EndSARS protest all over Nigeria, calling on the leaders of the North, South and West to try to maintain peace among all the ethnic groups within their domain, adding that the leaders of Southeast region are doing everything possible to ensure that lives and properties of other ethnic groups are protected.
He said the governors expressed regrets over the death of #EndSARS protesters all over the country, while also condemning the shooting of protesters at Lekki Toll plaza.
He called on the authorities to bring to book the perpetrators of such an act.
The forum also condoled with the families to have lost their loved ones during the protests.