The #EndSARS protest against the brutality and misconduct of officers of the Nigerian Police Force, especially its tactical unit, Special Anti Robbery Squad, notoriously known as SARS again for the third day gained momentum casing massive gridlock on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The protesters who thronged the streets had earlier caused massive gridlock in Alausa when they marched to the State House of Assembly and their after to the Alausa section of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
Armed with placards that reinforce their demand, the protesters barricaded the highway from the Secretariat bus-stop, opposite Magodo Phase II.
As a result of the blockage, traffic gridlock extended to the Otedola Bridge along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Friday witnessed thousands of protesters, they stormed the State House of Assembly to demand outright disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, over series of atrocities committed by the operatives, killing and maiming innocent citizens.
The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Hamzat, while addressing the protesters charged the police authority to ensure it put a stop to the incessant harassment of Nigerians by some officers of the anti-robbery squad, adding that any officer of the squad found to have harassed innocent Nigerian should be arrested and prosecuted.
‘It’s okay to protest but I say clearly that it is wrong for any law enforcement agent to maim or criminalise another Nigerian without reasonable course. The police or the law enforcement agents must do their job. In doing that job, you cannot trample on the right of the citizens.
“You cannot say our youths, because of their looks or they are carrying computer are guilty of a crime. The police job is to arrest people and send them for prosecution if they do something wrong. That tenets must be adhered to.
“We are not against police fighting robbery but we are saying do not unjustifiably hurt our children because of their looks. Whoever is responsible should be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
The Street protests against the notorious Nigerian police unit, SARS, have caught the attention of the international community with supports from celebrities.
On Friday, which is day 3 of the protest, the #EndSARS hashtag did not only trend in Nigeria but in the UK, Canada, and the United States.
While protests have been taking place in at least six states in Nigeria including the FCT, the #EndSARS hashtag has remained on Twitter’s Nigeria top 10 trend table since the weekend, The Guardian reported.
One of the many international celebrity who has shown and voiced his support for the cause was British-Nigerian actor John Boyega, just as Nigerian music stars Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Runtown, Falz and DJ Spinal have participated in the March against the notoriously perceived SARS that have for long been accused of brutalising, harassing and extorting Nigerian youths, including extrajudicial killings.
Popular international cyber-activists known as Anonymous, also joined in the campaign.
In the UK a Nigerian professional athlete, who owns the first Black-owned cigar line, Mike Edwards has also called for a protest in London.
According to a report by The Guardian Nigeria Edwards would be leading a protest to the Nigerian High Commission in London on Sunday. In support of the protest by Edward, award-winning actress, Nse Ikpe-Etim tweeted to join in the London protest.
Similarly, plans are ongoing to kickstart #EndSARS protest in other foreign countries such as Germany, USA and Canada.
Nigerians are protesting, yet again, after years of horror stories of brazen extortion, illegal detentions, and illegal murders of Nigerians, mostly youths, by the notorious police unit, at the hands of local police. The protesters are demanding the government to scrap the police’s notorious unit.
The recent fury was sparked after graphic footage showing officers from the SARS police unit dragging two men from a hotel in Lagos and shooting one of them in the street.
In the disturbing footage taken by visitors at a hotel and posted on to social media on Saturday, armed officers of the SARS can be seen dragging two limp bodies from the hotel compound into the street before one of the men is shot.
The video has sparked a deluge of footage and stories posted on to social media alleging recent atrocities and brutality by the notorious SARS unit, long accused of rampant abuses.
On Sunday, Nigeria’s inspector of police, Mohammed Adamu, banned SARS, and other “tactical” police units focused on armed crimes from stop and searches, from setting up roadblocks and said officers would always be uniformed.
The governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, promised “appropriate actions will be taken, and speedily too”. According to the police, a dedicated complaints unit has in recent years improved accountability for police abuses, The Guardian Nigeria reported.