Relics of #EndSARS protests in FCT
All over the world, issues of police brutality have become worrisome with the subject often times attracting wide spread protest and sometimes and opportunity to discuss established societal ills.
From the Black Lives Matters protest in the United States of America, to the Adama Traore protest in France, the stories have been that of abuse, dehumanisation and killings of hapless citizens by those paid to protect them.
Recently in Nigeria, a viral video on social media where a man was allegedly killed by an officer of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in Delta state, birthed the #EndSARS protest across several states in the country, with international bodies and countries calling for an end to police brutality in Nigeria.
Celebrities like Kanye West, Beyonce and Cardi-B were also part of global icons who lent their voices and platforms to the course.
Issues of police brutality had not only drawn public outcry, but also a provided avenue for which issues of misgovernance and maladministration were, and are, being discussed.
The Nigeria Police Force, especially SARS officers have been accused of abuse of power and committing crimes that they are meant to be fighting. A number of them have been accused of extortion, robberies, kidnapping, maiming and even killing the very citizens they are paid to protect.
In the FCT, like in several other states of the federation, the #EndSARS protests were largely peaceful, until it was later hijacked by hoodlums who attacked the protesters and leading to arrest and imposition of curfew in states like Lagos. Reports of the shooting of adamant protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos changed the dynamics of the entire protest with rampaging youths wrecking carnage of both public and private businesses.
Though it started in Lagos, with the discovery of a Corona Virus Palliative store in Monkey village area of Mazamaza, a suburb of Lagos state where food items amongst others worth billions of Naira were carted away by the rampaging protesters, the attacks on warehouses and businesses soon spread like wild fire across the country.
Other states that also witnessed violence includes Kaduna, Kano, Osun, Plateau, Ebonyi, Abia, Ogun amongst others, where hoodlums went about destroying public and private businesses in the wake of the crisis.
The event of October, 20, 2020, will remain indelible on our national consciousness, even as some of the relics from the violence that erupted that day will continue to stare us in our faces and conscience.
Here in the FCT, news of the discovery of palliative warehouse at Gwagwalada, spread to other area councils where similar attacks were carried out.
Dutse Alhaji, was another location in the FCT that witness violence when hoodlums were alleged to have clashed with EndSARS protesters, and security agents which led to the burning of the Dutse Makaranta Police post and several vehicles including a truck belonging to a popular construction company in Abuja several lives were also lost to the crisis.
At the Apo mechanic village of the FCT, hoodlums were reported to have burnt down a workshop, torching about 20 cars that were brought for repairs. Executives of the Apo mechanic village say properties worth over N200million was lost to the carnage and many business owners are worried they may never pick up again.
The NYSC camp at Kubwa was also not spared, as food items purchased for corps members were all looted and other non-consumables like beddings and other equipment meant for the upkeep of corps members who are expected to resume camping in a few weeks’ time were carted away.
Other locations in the FCT where violence erupted during the period were Bwari, Wura/Wumba, a few communities along the airport road, Jabi property belonging to citizens in these locations were destroyed by the rampaging protesters leaving the owners to their fate.
We are optimistic that the findings of the FCT judicial Panel of inquiry, on police brutality, led by Justice Sulieman Galadima, would soothe the pains of frayed nerves in our society and right the wrongs of some overzealous police officers who have over the years soiled the integrity of the noble profession with their bad conducts, as at the time of filing this report the panel has received over 150, petitions.
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