Normalcy is gradually returning to Benin City and other major towns in Edo State after the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests which culminated in two jailbreaks and the burning of at least five police stations, among other crimes.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the jailbreaks in Benin and Oko Medium Security Correctional Centres where 1,993 inmates escaped after invasion by armed persons on Monday.
The state government imposed a 24-hour curfew on Monday and subsequently reviewed its continuation on Tuesday when the situation remained tense due to the violent activities of thugs in the name of EndSARS protests.
But on Thursday, the state government further reviewed the curfew from 24 hours to 14 hours to allow for business and other activities.
“The curfew is now to commence from 4pm to 6am daily, starting from Friday, October 23 and would be reviewed after 72 hours,” the government said in a statement on Thursday.
PREMIUM TIMES observed on Friday that business activities have resumed in some parts of Benin City, Ekpoma and Auchi, some of the places most affected by the violence.
In Benin, shop owners along Akpakpava road, Lucky Way in Aduwawa Airport Road, Benin-Sapele Road and other areas were open for businesses, while road users moved freely unhindered.
Residents of Benin City and environs had found it difficult to withdraw money from banks and other financial service providers due to the activities of thugs that hijacked the peaceful protests. But PREMIUM TIMES observed on Friday that residents have started making use of the Automated Teller Machines in banks.
Okokon Akpan, a resident of Benin, urged Nigerians to give the government a chance to act on their demands.
“From my own experience, normalcy is gradually returning. Our people are still suffering and smiling,” he said. “Not much has changed, nobody here on this queue actually believes that we have achieved much from the protest.”
Another resident of Benin, Mabel Ekonye, said, “This is the first time the Nigerian youth are coming out to ask for a change which should have given the president to have written his name in gold by granting them, but he is yet to do so.
“The government should be responsive. I know that every representative in government was shocked that for the first time, Nigerians are asking for something.”
“The way forward is for the government to listen to the people. It is an opportunity for Buhari to have written his name in history but so far, he has not risen to the occasion, I hope he can do that,” Ms Ekonye added.
Another resident, Douglas Ogbankwa, appealed to the youth to allow the current peace being enjoyed in the state to continue “as no meaningful development could be achieved in an atmosphere of rancour.”
In Auchi, headquarters of Etsako West Local Government Area of the state, a resident, Ehis Ojo, said residents have started going about their normal activities.
Mr Ojo said shops along the major streets in Auchi have opened, while traders have started trading their wares in the markets.
“The situation in Auchi is calm. Residents and traders are going about their businesses without harassments by hoodlums. We pray it remains so,” Mr Ojo said.