Protesters fled Sunday afternoon after some hoodlums attacked them while protesting police brutality in Ilorin, Kwara State capital.
Tunde Sulaimon, one of the protesters, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES, said the protest was going on peacefully “until some hoodlums attacked a lady who was on a bike.”
“They attacked the lady on the bike around the post office area. Before we knew it, one of them broke a bottle on the lady’s head. They started chasing people. I had to run inside one shop around that Muritala area,” Mr Sulaimon said.
When contacted, one of the co-coveners of the #EndSARS protest in the state, Abdulbazeet Ajede, confirmed the incident. Although he could not provide PREMIUM TIMES with details, he noted that some injured persons are already receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the police in the state, Peter Okansami, told our reporter the protest was disrupted “when some traders engaged in a brawl”. The brawl was later settled, he said.
When asked about those who sustained injuries, Mr Okansami said, “I do not have any information on that.”
The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has condemned the attacks on the peaceful protesters.
“I vehemently denounce the violent attacks on the protesters and I call on the security agencies to ensure that the dastardly act is addressed immediately. The daredevil attackers must be identified, arrested, and prosecuted immediately. The attack must not go unchallenged,” the governor said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye.
“Peaceful protest is a constitutional right and no government or individuals are allowed under the law to abridge such a right. While we continue to urge the young protesters to remain peaceful while their legitimate grievances are addressed, I hereby call for security beef up to prevent the reoccurrence of such attacks on the protesters or other residents of the state.”
PREMIUM TIMES had previously reported how the largely peaceful protest staged across cities in Nigeria turned bloody in Osun, Lagos, Abuja and other places. The attacks were allegedly perpetrated by thugs.
The protesters are demanding the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) notorious for use of excessive force and other forms of harassment and a total overhaul of the police force.
Although most of the demands have been met, including the disbandment of SARS, the protesters have refused to stop the demonstrations.
They are currently demanding the immediate implementation of some of the promises of the government on the release of all protesters in detention and the prosecution of killer-cops.