Blockade enters day-2 in Shomolu LGA, as protesters continue to ignore govt concessions

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By Kamal Tayo Oropo
Lagos, Oct. 20, 2020 Blockade of highways in Shomolu Local Government Area and Bariga Local Council Development Area of Lagos State on Tuesday entered its second day running.

This is even as the protesters, under the aegis #ENDSARS, continued to barricade major roads and ignore some concessions made by the Federal Government to assuage their grievances.

Unlike Monday’s protest which affected school children, and caught residence unaware, the protest on Tuesday largely restricted vehicular movements.

The Lagos State government, in a statement on Monday, had directed closure of public and private schools in the state.

Musical stages were set up at the entrance to the main gate of the Bariga LCDA and other strategic junctions in the neighborhood.

The Chairman, Bariga LCDA, Mr David Kolawole Alabi, and other members of staff of the Council, were noticeably absent from work.

When the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) visited, the council secretariat was under lock and key. Efforts to reach the chairman was unsuccessful, as his line was switched off.

However, market activities seemed to be picking up as some few stores and shops began to open at the Adaranijo market in the council area, while dealers of printing materials also began to open.

The protesters barricaded all major roads leading to the Third Mainland Bridge as well as those leading to Yaba and Ebute Metta in Mainland LGA.

Some of the protesters told NAN that they will not leave the roads until the government met their demands.
When asked what remained of these demands yet to be met by government, some of the protesters said the downward review of remuneration of the legislators and other political office holders.
Others decried what they termed harsh economic climate in the country.
One of them earlier told NAN: “The thing is you cannot trust these people. They know what they are doing.
“They think we would soon get tired. Soon they would realize that they are mistaken.
“As you can see, the people are enjoying themselves”
For the second day, the protesters, largely youths and those slightly older, shared foods and drinks as some danced to popular songs, including those of late afro beat king, Fela Anikulapo.

NAN correspondent who visited the area perceived the smell of Marijuana in the air, even as some residents had to retreat home.

Some of the residents decried the staging of protest on neighbourhood streets, thereby hindering vehicular movements.

A resident in the area, Mrs Jane Onwubiko, said her office was nearby and she had decided to trek as against driving.

“My office is just here in Shomolu. I normally drive down, but since everywhere is blocked, I’m walking down.

“They are not stopping anyone from walking or doing any other thing. It’s just that you cannot drive through,” she said.

NAN reports that in response to the protesters’ agitation, some concessions had been made by the authorities.

They included a total ban on patrol by the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).

The government had also supported the protest as the right of the protesters; and arrested some of the Policemen for violation of the rights of citizens to peaceful protest.

The government also set up a Presidential Panel, which indicted some operatives of SARS and recommended others for dismissal.

In addition, the government banned SARS and set up a replacement for it and invited celebrities to their training to ensure everything was done well.

Similarly, the government promised that no operative from the SARS would be among the new team; and began the process of putting SARS operatives through medical test.

NAN also reports that the FG had met with stakeholders and civil society organizations on how they can monitor all the promises made.

The government also released arrested protesters, with a warning to Policemen to allow peaceful protest.

President Muhammadu Buhari also made a national broadcast while the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, gave a live press conference and held several meetings with leaders of the youths.The

Also, the Federal Government directed the setting up of Judicial Panel of Inquiry in all 36 States of the federation to investigate alleged human rights violations by operatives of the disbanded SARS.

NAN also reports that each state has been ordered to set up a Victim Support Fund (VSF) to be funded by the Federal Government to compensate families of victims.

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