Friday, 23 October 2020 06:45

Protests may lead to point of no return - Abdulsalami warns

Says FG must dialogue with the youths

 

The over two-week-old EndSARS protest to put a halt to police brutality got worse, yesterday, as it recorded more violence, arson and deaths across the country.

From one state to another, security agents and protesting youths engaged in open and bloody confrontaion.

As the situation continue to degenerate, former military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has warned that it could lead the country to a point of no return  except a decisive action is taken.

“I am, therefore, appealing and calling for a halt to give peace a chance for dialogue.”

He said withdrawing from the streets would enable the Federal Government to concentrate on meeting their demands.

He said  already, government had apologised and promised to look into their grievances.

The former head of state said governors had also responded promptly by acknowledging the genuine grievances of the teeming demonstrating youths.

“The hijacking of the protest by criminals had resulted into violence, destruction of government and private properties ,criminal release of prisoners and the lynching and burning of policemen and innocent persons in some parts of the country.

“The demonstration continued and consequences of which it began to cause serious discomfort to the citizens as it gave opportunities for criminal elements to penetrate to tamper with the peaceful coexistence of Nigerians.

“This forced the government to send security agencies to restore law and order which unfortunately further led  to the loss of more innocent lives.

“I am therefore appealing and calling for a halt of the youth demonstration to give peace a chance for dialogue,” said.

He appealed  to President Muhammadu Buhari “to continue to address the grievances expressed by the youth and layout the programme that meet and addresses the objective of the protests.”

General Abdulsalami who expressed dismay over shooting of armless youths, saying, “the shooting has left all of us dumbfounded. It’s unfortunate.”

5 die in Lagos

As the protest continued, five persons – four women and a man- were crushed as they scrambled over food stuffs at a warehouse along Alahu Osumba Road in Kirikiri.

Hundreds of residents from Agboju, Alakija, Maza-Maza, Mile 2, Comfort Obo, Kirikiri and surrounding settlements had trooped to the warehouse to get food stuffs such as rice, garri, indomie noodles, spaghetti and sugar. A witness told Daily Sun that the victims were trampled by the surging crowd.

Investigation revealed that the warehouse belongs to son of a major transporters, who bought the COVID-19 food palliatives from government officials at a give-away price and stocked them, waiting for the auspicious time to resell.

Unfortunately, residents broke into the warehouse and carted them away.

Investigation revealed that when soldiers stormed the place in their van, they shot into the air to scare the crowd away while they loaded their van with bags of rice, garri and cartons of indomie. The soldiers were reported to have left the crowd to continue the looting after they had their fill.

Daily Sun also gathered that the protesters attempted to break into the Kirikiri Prisons but were repelled by soldiers who promptly responded to distress call.

Cop, 3 protesters die in Enugu

Despite the 24-hour curfew imposed on some parts of Enugu  government, protest have claimed lives of a policeman and three others in Abakpa.

Violence erupted as angry youths looted shops, vandalised banks, made bonfire across major roads and extorted individuals.

The protesters, who had forcefully dispersed women trading at the Abakpa market were seen wielding sticks, machetes and other dangerous weapons.

Two protesters were shot dead at Liberty junction. The shooting led to the killing and burning of a policeman at T-Junction.

Things got worse at Nike Lake Police Station where protesters engaged police for allegedly killing a protester on Wednesday. The angry youths besieged the station for close to two hours.

Eyewitnesses said the police opened fire, killed two and injured four others.

When contacted, the Police Public relations Officer, Charles Ndukwe, said he was yet to receive a formal report of the incidence.

“We don’t have a clear report on it yet.”

Magistrate Court, Police stations, FRSC property attacked in Delta, Anambra

Central Police Station (CPS), Nnewi, Anambra State, was burnt and detainees released. Eyewitnesses said the CPS was burnt down in the midnight.

Sources said the protesters also torched the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and its office equipment in Nnewi.

Sector Commander, Anambra State, Mr. Andrew Kumapayi confirmed the incident. As early as 6am, protesters had set bonfire at the popular Nkwo Nnewi Roundabout and other major streets. As a result, markets, banks and other offices were hurriedly shut.

Police at the command were said to have repelled protesters in their several attempts to burn the station. Another person was also feared dead later in the day.

Hoodlums have also razed the Magistrate Court, along Ibusa Road, Asaba, Delta State. The arson followed Wednesday’s night burning of the operational office of the FRSC and a recreational centre at Koka junction along the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha Expressway.

They also barricaded major streets and set bonfires at various locations in Asaba.

Elsewhere in the oil rich city of Warri, there was protracted shootout at the Correctional Centre also known as Okere Prison in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has imposed a 48-hour curfew.

He also announced the closure of public and private primary and secondary schools until November 2.

1 killed, 3 police station  torched

In Onitsha, protesters forced the main market and other markets, schools, banks, parks, civil and public servants to close.

As early as 7am, protesters set bonfire in various roundabouts and junctions in the city and also blocked major roads.

It was gathered that some policemen stationed at DMGS to protect lives and property were stoned and pursued by rioters.

Also, suspected hoodlums set Onitsha 3-3 Police Station ablaze and attacked a high court building. Police patrol teams were seen trying to disperse the hoodlums at DMGS roundabout and Mr. Biggs junction. 

President of Bridgehead market, Chief Sunday Obinze, said they opened for business in the morning but closed when they heard what was happening in Main Market.

There was no movement of human and vehicles in the city as all the parks at Upper Iweka were shutdown.

Police Command, Division cordoned off, banks, schools shut in Nsukka

Palpable tension also gripped the university town of Nsukka. However, to forestall  break down of law and order, Nsukka Divisional Police Station and Area Command were cordoned off.

Banks were all closed down.

Council chairman, Cosmas Ugwueze, had a a crucial meeting with representatives of youth groups to forestall breakdown of law and order during and after today’s planned protest.

All public and private schools in Nsukka have directed students not to come to school on today as a result of  planned protest.

Recall that last week Saturday, youths in Nsukka staged a peaceful protest against police brutality with no record of violence or destruction of public properties.

Edo Speaker raises alarm

Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun, yesterday, drew attention of the Assembly “to a criminally inciting voice note being circulated in the social media which speaks of plans to burn down all public establishments” in the state.

The Speaker in a statement, said while the threat would ordinarily have been considered a mere threat, it, however, aligned with the worrisome pattern of destructive activities perpetrated by hoodlums who have since hijacked the well – intentioned peaceful #ENDSARS protests by youths across Nigeria.

   “The involvement of certain political tendencies in this dastardly and cowardly efforts at destablizing  the state must be resisted.

The destruction of public and private property anywhere in Edo State only serves the interest of enemies of the State and bring untold hardship to our people. This must be roundly condemned and resisted by Edo people.

     “We, therefore call on security agencies to commit all of  its resources to ensure safety of lives and property of law-abiding residents of our state.”

Meanwhile, there is uneasy calm in Benin City, as the curfew imposed in the state by government subsists with few vehicles plying the roads.

This is even as shops, markets, filling stations and banks have shut down, forcing many residents to move from bank to bank yesterday with the hope of accessing money with their ATMs but without success.

Prices of goods were observed to  have skyrocketed in a few shops that dared to open for business yesterday.

At press time, it was gathered that Governor, Gdwin Obaseki had scheduled to hold a meeting with some leaders of civil society groups who represent the genuine #EndSARS protesters with a view to addressing their demands.

Both Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Development Awareness (CESDA) and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) have also condemned the Tuesday’s night shooting.

The two groups in a separate statements by the Chairman of CESDA, Mr. Ogunko Oluwaseyi and the National President of CDHR, Dr. Osagie Obayuwana respectively condemned attack on peaceful protesters across the country by government’s agents.

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