NIGERIAN security operatives have stepped up their persecution of #EndSARS protest organisers with the recent arrest of one of the coordinators in Osun State by men of the Department of State Services (DSS).
During October, Nigerian youths vehemently called for the dissolution of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit. It had become notorious for human rights abuses, extortion, torture and extra-judicial killings and the scale of the protests forced the federal government to disband the unit.
However, after Nigerian Army soldiers opened fire on unarmed and innocent demonstrators on October 20, the situation turned ugly and violent. Across the country, angry youths attacked police stations, raided government warehouses for food and looted the homes of the rich, while in return, the security forces opened fire on them, killing dozens.
Since then, judicial panels of inquiries have been set up to investigate some of the human rights abuses. Not waiting for that, however, the protests resumed earlier this week in Lagos, Ibadan and Oshogbo in Lagos, Oyo and Osun states respectively, with fears that they could spread further.
In Oshogbo, the Osun State capital, the youths armed themselves with different placards explaining the reasons for their actions. These included “We are not fighting for any political party”, “#End Bad Judiciary in Nigeria”, ” #End fake judicial panel of Inquiry in Osun”, “Unfreeze all the frozen account”, ” We are Nigerian youths” among others.
These youths converged on the Ogo-Oluwa area and marched to the Osun State House of Assembly. Among other things, the protesters were demanding the release of all detained protesters and unfreezing of their accounts by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In a swift response, the authorities have decided to crack down on the protesters and Emmanuel Adebisi, one of the organisers of the demonstrations has been arrested for alleged impersonation. On Monday, Mr Adebisi had led a group of protesters to Osun State House of Assembly and demanded the disbandment of the panel probing police brutality in the state, saying no member of the #EndSARS movement was accommodated in the panel.
He also called for the release of one Wale remanded in a custodial centre for participating in the #EndSARS protest. As a result, Mr Adebisi was invited to the state headquarters of the DSS, where he is currently being detained.
One security source explained that Mr Adebisi was invited based on a petition written against him, where he was alleged of claiming to be a captain in the Nigerian military. One member of the #EndSARS movement in Osun State, who is simply identified as Femi, confirmed Mr Adebisi’s arrest.