Protesters seeking an end to police brutality and extrajudicial killings on Tuesday have allegedly burnt down a police station around Dutse-makaranta area, Abuja.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt the protest initially began around 7.30 a.m at Police Signboard, Dutse-makaranta, with activists blocking entry points to the station that is along Dutse-Bwari route.
The large crowd stayed in place for almost two hours blasting hip hop music before policemen swooped on them with tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd, witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES.
Things became heated when the police reportedly opened fire at the protesters who refused to disperse.
“The #EndSARS protesters were doing their things peacefully. They even brought a DJ who was playing music before the police people came and teargased them.
“After exhausting their teargas, they fired gunshots at them,” said a middle-aged man who did not want his named revealed.
The #EndSARS protest at Police Signboard turned gory as the activists, who attempted to rescue their colleagues in another location close to the place—Sokale junction— who were attacked by hoodlums suspected to be government-sponsored, were stalled by gunshots from the police.
Five persons were reportedly killed by the gunfire and the hoodlum attack at Police Signboard and Sokale junction, Dutse-Alhaji, Abuja.
But the FCT police command dispelled the report as false, saying that “the protesters suddenly went berserk, leaving two persons dead and one injured.”
It claimed the violent clash was between #EndSARS protesters and those who are pro-SARS.
“The FCT Police Command wishes to unequivocally refute the malicious and mischievous story trending in some sections of social media that the FCT Police shot at five protesters at Dutse-Alhaji,” a statement by the FCT Police PRO, Maryam Yusuf said Tuesday evening.
PREMIUM TIMES also observed how a young woman became disoriented after learning of her brother’s death in Dutse-Alhaji.
Accompanied by sympathisers, the distraught woman glared into distance and said, “They killed my brother!”
It remained unclear how or where exactly her brother was lost to the riot.
In another minute, she asked where she was, dispassionately. She was then taken to Bwari police for make a complaint.
The FCT commissioner of police, Bala Ciroma, had ordered an investigation into the unfortunate incident.
Police station burnt down
As the clash between anti-SARS protesters and police raged on, a Dutse-makaranta police station was set ablaze in retaliation against the disruption and killing of some protesters.
Not only was the station razed, police vehicles and other government property such as buses were destroyed.
A similar treatment was meted out on an office shared by the Civil Defense and PHCN, just a few meters away from the station.
PREMIUM TIMES observed that businesses in the area were forced to shutter their doors as anxiety rented the air.
Though the Nigerian government had scrapped the notorious police unit, yielding to one of the protesters’ demands, the activists are now calling for an overhaul of the police reform and good governance.
As violence rocks major cities amidst the ongoing protests in the country, state governors across the nation are announcing curfews in their states to quell the unrest.