There have been numerous casualties as the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria escalated on Tuesday. Hoodlums hijacked peaceful protests and instigated riots, while the government deployed security forces to restore law and order.
Some states including Edo, Lagos, Ekiti, Plateau, Osun, Ondo and Imo declared a 24-hour curfew, and soldiers and anti-riot police were deployed across the country.
At the Lekki Tollgate in the upscale part of Lagos, protesters were shot at by soldiers with the number of casualties unconfirmed, while footage of an attempt to extract live bullets from a protester was streamed live on the Instagram account of Nigeria’s DJ Switch.
The clampdown on the Lekki Tollgate came hours after Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu announced a 24-hour curfew following days of protests against police brutality.
Gunshots were heard about two hours before the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government which begins scheduled to start 4pm Tuesday but shifted to 9pm after the governor was criticized for the short notice given.
Also on Tuesday, Nigeria’s Inspector-general of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu ordered the immediate nationwide deployment of anti-riot police officers.
Adamu ordered massive deployment of police operatives to protect lives and defend critical infrastructure in the country as well as strengthen the security around Correctional facilities nationwide.
“The Commissioners of Police in the thirty-six states of the Federation and the FCT are to identify and isolate law-breakers from peaceful protesters; immediately arrest and diligently prosecute such perpetrators of violence in their respective Commands,” the IGP had said in a press release.
The country’s President Muhmmadu Buhari on Tuesday also met with the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin and the Minister of Defense, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi at the State House.
The purpose of the closed-door meeting with the military chiefs was not known as of the time of filing in this report, but it may not be unconnected with the ongoing nationwide protests against police brutality.
Since the #EndSARS protests started more than 12 days ago, events of the past few days have shown that it has been infiltrated by hoodlums.
In South-western Oyo state, no less than three people were killed in the Oojo area of Ibadan, the state capital, as policemen opened fire on hoodlums who attacked a police station during an #EndSARS protest.
Reports suggest that the protest was going on peacefully before some hoodlums hijacked it and started throwing objects such as stones and bottles at a police station.
It was also gathered that the development made the policemen open fire on the protesters, killing at least two people in the process. While normalcy appeared to have been restored, the hoodlums again gathered and burned down the police station.
In Jos, the Plateau state capital, three persons were feared killed while properties were destroyed as hoodlums hijacked the demonstrations turning it into a bloody riot; attacking, maiming citizens, and burning property.
No fewer than eight cars and six buildings were reportedly torched as the hoodlums went wild, barricaded the roads leading into and out of the city centre.
Acting Police Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, Mr. Donbey Peters confirmed the incident but added that the situation has been brought under control. He confirmed that five cars were razed.
The story wasn’t different in Kano state perceived to be a highly volatile state as #EndSARS protests turned violent with hoodlums burning 15 vehicles, while lodge and stores were vandalized.
It was gathered that violence emanated from the protest in several areas of the state around 1 pm before it was dispersed by the policemen.
The Kano Police Commissioner Mr. Habu Sani confirmed the violence and revealed that five persons sustained injuries and the situation has been put under control. Unconfirmed reports revealed that two were people were feared dead during the protest.
On Monday, hoodlums instigated a jailbreak in Benin, Edo State while political thugs who many believe have been hired to disrupt #EndSARS demonstrations, burnt over 50 cars in the nations’ capital, Abuja.
The cars were displayed for sale at a car stand in the Apo district of Abuja but were set ablaze by thugs allegedly hired to disrupt genuine demonstrations against police brutality.
Reports have it that the miscreants had attempted to attack the demonstrators at Apo during their rally on Monday morning, but were overpowered and repelled by the #EndSARS protesters.
But by the time the hoodlums reinforced, the #EndSARS protesters had dispersed. Angered, the hoodlums attacked a car stand at Jesus Avenue, along Apo Mechanic Village and set it ablaze.
Abel Ejikeme, Rita Osakwe, Seriki Adinoyi, Ibrahim Garba, Kemi Olaitan