#EndSARS protesters defy Gov Wike, empty into Port Harcourt streets to call for an end to police brutality

The protesters have encircled Port Harcourt, chanting anti-police slogans.

#EndSARS protesters in Lagos [Pulse]

Young Nigerians calling for an end to police brutality and a scrapping of notorious police unit, SARS, defied Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike who had announced a ban on such protests, Monday.

“The Rivers State Government hereby wishes to inform the general public that all forms of protests have been banned throughout the state,” Wike said through his Commissioner for Information, Paulinus Nsirim on Monday, October 12, 2020.

“Therefore, all proposed protests under #EndSars campaign are hereby prohibited,” he added.

The governor also asked law enforcement agents to clamp down on protesters because Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, had acceded to the request of the protesters when he announced the dissolution of the brutal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) last Sunday.

However, the young protesters hit the streets of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday, October 13, holding aloft #EndSARS placards and chanting: “End SARS, politicians dey loot us, Olopa (police) dey shoot us, dis country na wa o.”

The nationwide and global protests, now in their second week, were reignited after a police officer killed a young man in the Ughelli area of Delta State, penultimate week.

Nigerians have been calling for the scrapping of SARS for decades, but this is the first time the anti-SARS chants have hit the streets on this scale.

SARS has often been accused of human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings.

The protesters are asking the federal government to accede to a new set of demands, including freeing all protesters who have been arrested by the police, increasing the pay of police officers and psychologically evaluating all officers who will be redeployed to other police formations from SARS, before the nationwide street protests will be called off.

There was tension in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital on October 12, when police clashed with protesters in the Surulere suburb. Reports say a police officer and a protester were killed during the skirmish, with a slew of other persons left badly injured.

A young man identified as Jimoh Isiaq was also killed in Oyo State during the protests.

The protesters have obstructed vehicular traffic in cities. In Lagos, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Lekki-Epe expressway, among others, have been closed to traffic by the protesters.

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