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#EndSARS: 19 cops injured as thugs chase policemen in Lagos

Again, violence erupted in Lagos as hoodlums used the cloak of the #EndSARS protests to unleashed terror on policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS). During the attack, which occurred on the Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba, the hoodlums attacked about 19 policemen and burnt a police van and vandalised others.

Some of the policemen, who were in three vans, sustained injuries during the attack. A viral video on the social media shows the policemen running helter-skelter while the protesters were stoning them. The protesters also attacked other road users and some commercial buses.

The protesters also stormed the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, and other premises. They prevented workers from entering the premises and looted houses and shops in some areas. As early as 7a.m., the protesters locked all the entrances to the Secretariat and turned back motorists and pedestrians from coming out and going into the Secretariat. Many workers couldn’t access their offices while several others got stuck on the roads as the protesters blocked the several major roads.

The protesters insisted on zero vehicular movement until their new demands were met by the Federal Government. The hoodlums attacked the policemen attached to the RRS who were in a convoy. The policemen, including the driver, took to their heels.

The hoodlums also chased the policemen. While some of the policemen managed to escape, those not lucky were brutalised by the angry youth and thugs. For hours, commuters were stranded at various bus stops across the Lagos metropolis as the protesters barred vehicular movement The protesters occupied areas such as Awolowo Road, Ikeja, Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, Ikorodu Road, LASU-Iba Road by Isheri-Roundabout, and Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Muyiwa Adejobi, said the attack occurred about 10a.m. when the policemen were going to their various beats. He said: “The 97 policemen were being conveyed to their various beats on routine relief duties across the state, when they came across the violent protesters who started shouting ‘No Police, No Police,’ and stoned them. “After the attacks, 19 of the policemen were critically injured while four police vehicles were damaged.

The policemen then scampered for safety, but they were eventually rescued and rushed to the Police Clinic at Panti, for medical attention.” Adejobi, however, said the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had condemned the attack and urged officers and men of the command to remain calm while they continued to manage the situation professionally. The commissioner also appealed to community leaders, parents and guardians, traditional rulers and religious leaders to caution the youth against violence and any act capable of aggravating tension in the state as such would be counterproductive.

Vehicular and human movements were at standstill at Ijanikin, Iyana-Isashi and Agbara axis on Lagos-Badagry Expressway as angry youths protested against police brutality and the deplorable state of the road. The protesters blocked the expressway with two articulated vehicles at Agbara, preventing vehicles from coming or going out of the area. The placard-carrying youths also blocked the expressway at Badagry roundabout preventing travellers from going to Seme border or Lagos. Also, students of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, joined the protest en masse to block the road all the way to Agbara, while some were playing table tennis on the expressway.

At Iyana-Era and Iyana-Ishashi, some hoodlums also blocked the Badagry Expressway, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), to use the protest to extort money from commercial motorcyclists. There was no single police check on the Badagry-Agbara Expressway which had up to 15 checkpoints before the protest. One of the coordinators of the protest, Ovi Kuponu, told journalists that the youth in Badagry and Agbara came out to protest deplorable state of the expressway and bad governance. He said: “Youths have come out today to tell Nigerians that this is the best time to rewrite the history of the country.

“Today, the protests have received support from everyone. As you can see, everyone came out; market men and women from Agbara and Morogbo markets have come out to support us. “Commercial drivers and commuters plying the roads have parked their vehicles to support us. “What we are telling the government is to fix Badagry-Lagos Expressway.” Lagos State government is responsible for the Iganmu-Okokomaiko section of the highway, while the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is handling Okokomaiko- Agbara axis of the road. Also, the Federal Government on October 24, 2018 awarded the reconstruction of the 46km Agbara- Seme section of Badagry Expressway to CGC Nigeria Limited at a sum of N63.2 billion.

The contractor has since abandoned the project. Meanwhile, while inaugurating a Seven-Man Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution to ensure justice for victims of brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State appealed to the protesters to vacate the roads and allow Nigerians go about their normal duties, especially when their actions were

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