For almost a week now, Nigerians have taken over the social media and the streets to aggressively protest against what they term as the ‘illegal’ activities of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
Before now, a series of campaigns had been launched online with the #EndSARS hashtag. It got to its peak last week after various celebrities volunteered to lead protests against harassment and incessant killing of citizens by FSARS.
The latest outcry was as a result of the shooting of a youth in Delta State last week by police officers. The police later reacted, saying the victim did not die, and that the protesters also killed a police officer.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, would later issue a statement banning the anti-robbery squad from operating on all Nigerian roads.
However, Nigerians felt the decision of the IG was an attempt to douse the tension and not resolve the problem, citing different instances where such directives have been given in the last four years.
In Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, and Ekiti, there were protests. While some persons were dispersed with teargas by police, a protester identified as Jimoh Isiaka, was shot in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, on Saturday. He later died.
The incident was confirmed by the Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde, who promised to investigate the ugly incident.
Some other six persons also sustained injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.
“This situation is highly regrettable. I have contacted the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State, Nwachukwu Enwonu, and other relevant agencies, and investigations into what led to the unfortunate incident are still ongoing,” Mr Makinde wrote on Twitter.
But the Oyo police boss, Mr Enwonu, in a statement late Saturday night, claimed his officials did not shoot any protester. He said they only teargassed protesters.
“The police in turn used tear gas to prevent them (protesters) from gaining entrance into the Owode Ogbomoso Area Command/Police Station and to prevent them from gaining entrance and attacking the station. The police did not fire a shot or kill any protester as widely circulated.”
The protests also turned violent in Ogun as youth attempted to disrupt Owu festival on Saturday. They disrupted vehicular movements in Sango and Abeokuta, the state’s capital.
Speaking on this, the police spokesperson in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a conversation with PREMIUM TIMES, said protesters were violent.
“They came for war but we tried as much as possible to calm them. We will know how best to treat them without conflicts”.
Governor Dapo Abiodun, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, urged citizens to protest peacefully and not “undermine law and order or security and safety of lives and property.”
The police also fired gunshots and teargas to disperse students protesting in Ile-Ife and Osogbo, on Saturday.
Some youth also led a protest to the palace of Oluwo of Iwo, Abdulrasheed Akanbi.
The Osun State police spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, however, denied that the police shot at protesters.
“We only dispersed them. Our men did not shoot at them,” she said.
The state governor, Gboyega Oyetola, in a statement by Funke Egbemode, Commissioner of information, urged the residents not to take the law into their own hands.
The protest also held in major parts of Lagos including popular Ikeja under-bridge, Lekki and many other places, many led by celebrities.