Residents of Osogbo, the capital of Osun, on Thursday, scampered for their lives as two factions of EndSARS protesters suspected to be cultists are currently in supremacy battle.
Recall that youths, in their number, had last week Monday embarked on a peaceful protest to demand the scrapping of the Anti-Robbery Response Squad (SARS) Unit of the Nigeria Police Force before it was allegedly hijacked by the suspected hoodlums who almost turned the peaceful protest to violence in the ancient town.
Meanwhile, residents of the metropolis have raised alarm over the pattern of protests in the town, saying the trend of such struggles indicated dicey public disturbance.
A faction of the protesters were seen in Osogbo early Thursday morning displaying various degree of weapons, the development that caused panic and commotion among the residents of the state.
The Youths suspected to be hoodlums were said to have hijacked the nationwide #EndSAR protest to unleash mayhem on the residents of the town, obstructing vehicular movement and threatened motorists who dared to use the road.
Cross section of Civil Society Groups and array of social crusaders had earlier faulted the pattern of protests in Osun State, saying the trend of such struggles indicates dicey public engagement and outright public disturbance.
The groups insisted that while there is democratic justification for protest against police brutality and obvious extortion and intimidation, the structure of expressing grievances should be objective and in the utmost interest of the public.
The Coordinator of Advocacy for Peace in Africa Initiative, Comrade Adebola Ajayi said any attempt to trample upon the inalienable rights of the people under any guise simply defeats any form of struggle to challenge ills of the society and whip government back to line.
He explained that the manner in which those behind the protest against police brutality in Osun went against the agitations suggests dangerous trend of anarchical tendencies and arson.
” We were taken aback with the treasonable move and anarchical tendencies of those causing public disturbance under the pretext of fighting to end uncivil disposition of a section of the police force.
” The criminal act of maiming and outright intimidation of the general public, to the extent of disrupting economic activities and lawful engagement is nothing but antithetical to every tenet of democracy and popular struggle.
“As a matter of urgency and responsibility, the government of Osun must quickly come to the rescue of the people in the state and stop the seeming madnesses”, Ajayi stated .
In the same vein, the Publicity Secretary of Development Advocacy Group(DAG), Comrade Wasiu Ibrahim expressed displeasure on the events of the past days in the state, saying there is total erosion of clarity of purpose and coordination in the EndSARS agitations.
According to him, the situation where supposed protesters suddenly turned to street urchins and looters, government must take speedy action to protect the general public in line with its statutory obligation .
He said:” We are calling on the government of Osun to proactively move and curtail this unpalatable level of brigandage and lawlessness perpetrating by those elements parading themselves as protesters.
“Without mincing words, this is a clear-cut departure from genuine notion of fighting injustice and oppression, it is in itself an epitome of criminality and anarchy, we must not fold our arms and allow our society to be emasculated in this manner under any guise whatsoever”.
The programme Director of Centre for Sustained Dialogue, Comrade Waheed Saka in his reaction opined that there is a new pattern of agitation of divisive trend in the state, calling on law enforcement agencies to take charge and do the needful to protect the people.
He said in as much as expression of resentment against unpopular governmental policy is democratic and acceptable, such action must not be inimical to the general interests, noting that government must move swiftly to put such barbaric act to an end.
“I support EndSARS, I support reform of the police, but the infiltration of criminals in the agitation is unacceptable and condemnable”, Saka resorted .
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