LAGOS — The #EndSARS protest continued in all parts of the country for the ninth day on Thursday, with protesters repelling attacks from thugs and security agents.
The attacks on protesters had forced some of the protesters to hire bouncers in their efforts to increase security at the protest grounds.
While the demonstration started at the Ikeja area, the Lagos State capital around 8am on Thursday, the protesters were attacked by some hoodlums, who are suspected to be members National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
The men were armed with cutlasses and axes and injured several protesters.
They were also reported to have vandalized some vehicles in their attempt to disperse the crown.
Videos going round online showed some of the injured protesters soaked in blood while seeking medical aid.
Some of the hoodlums were alleged to have been conveyed to the scene in a government-owned bus.
According to an eyewitness, Seyi Adebayo, said that the hoodlums attacked the protesters alleging that the protest was affecting their businesses.
After the attacked, protesters regrouped and continued their agitations.
Private security, bouncers were reportedly hired to bolster the confidence of participants of the demonstrations.
Some Nigerians who condemned the attack, alleged that the hoodlums were sponsored by the state government; the NURTW Chairman, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo; a developer, Taoreed Faronbi, aka Baba Alado, among others.
However, MC Oluomo denied the allegation in a video he posted online.
MC Oluomo said, “I don’t know any of those that went there; I didn’t collect any money to scatter the protest; my sisters and brothers and people that I know have been protesting. I also support the protest.”
Faronbi, aka Baba Alado, also denied the allegation of sponsoring thugs to attack the youth.
He said, “They are just telling lies against me. I am telling you now that anyone they catch with a cutlass should face justice. The police should shoot anyone that is caught disrupting protests. Why should I attack protesters? What interest do I have in the matter? I don’t even know those behind the attack, but I am sure politicians are behind it.”
Also, operators of the BRT Vehicles alleged to have conveyed the hoodlums to the protest ground, Primero Transport Service Limited, denied knowing anything about the attack.
The company argued that other companies had been licenced to operate BRT in the state and the bus could have been owned by any other company.
It, therefore, distanced itself from the thugs.
The attack on protesters was also condemned by the state Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu. In a series of Tweets, the governor assured the youths that they would be protected by security agents.
The governor tweeted, “I strongly condemn the attack on peaceful protesters by armed and unscrupulous elements trying to cause chaos in Alausa today. My government will never tolerate the attack on protesters.”
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, also said that it was not true that the state government sponsored the hoodlums.
The commissioner said, “As a government, we will never encourage thuggery or any act of violence that may put the lives and businesses of Lagosians at risk. We are strongly committed to ensuring that our youths, who have taken to the streets to air their views, are well protected.”
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