Nigeria: Protesters Storm National Assembly, Demand Probe of Rogue Operatives

Young Nigerians holding placards at an EndSARS protest in the northwestern city of Kaduna.
16 October 2020

Abuja — EndSARS protesters yesterday marched to the National Assembly complex, demanding probe of brutality and high-handedness by the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian Police Force.

The placard-carrying youths with placards blocked vehicular movements in the area and entrance of the National Assembly, chanting songs of solidarity.

Though they were stopped at the entrance by the security agents, the protesters insisted that the leadership of the National Assembly must address them before they would vacate the scene.

After over an hour of singing, the aggrieved youths were met by the Senate Majority and Minority leaders, Senators Yahaya Abdullahi and Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Addressing the legislators, the spokesman of the group lamented that SARS operatives sent thugs to attack them and in the process they damaged their cars and other belongings.

He demanded that the lawmakers should fix their cars and ensure that the erring officers are brought to book.

He said, "These thugs came across us and began to attack our people, peaceful protesters. They damaged our cars, injured some us. If not because we are very courageous Nigerian youths and resilient generation we would have ran away but we made sure they got some beatings before we took them to the hospital; they damage over six cars here, we brought only the ones that we could; they stole our wallets and phones."

"The Nigerian Police is a public institution that should protect the people and not send thugs to attack us. We know your chambers have constitutional command over the Nigerian Police. We don't want money or promises, we just want you take the cars and tell us when you will fix them. We will come back and collect them."

"We are asking you to fix them with tax-payers' money. We can't live in a country where thugs become the king and protesters cannot protest peacefully. We cannot live in a country where we cannot demand for better."

Responding, Majority Leader of the Senate, Abdullahi assured them that the Senate will ensure they have justice.

"We have listened and seen a lot of challenges, which your spokesperson has narrated. We appreciate and sympathise with you over what happened and I assure you that I and my colleagues will present your catalog of demands jointly to the floor of the Senate and they will direct on what to do and we will also ensure that appropriate actions are taken to ensure that they have restitution and those who are responsible for the indignities are brought to book."

The Minority leader, Abaribe on his part while commending their peaceful disposition, also assured them that their demands will be met.

Abaribe said: "Give us the photographs and everything you have written so that we present it on the floor of the Senate and a decision will be taken. Never mind that there are some miscreants within the security forces that may want to cause trouble, we want to thank you for not falling for that trap, because they want to push you into trap and next thing is they start to shoot you and we don't want that. We want a peaceful and progressive Nigeria.

"We assure you that we will do that. In legislature we must discuss it and everyone will agree, even if you don't meet us, I am going to send one of my staff to stand here in the morning and be able to collect the document from you and escort you to my office. You can come; we will put you in the gallery so you will hear what we will say, so that you know that the both chambers of the National Assembly are with you in all these you are seeking for."

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