An armed squad of the Nigerian Correctional service have gunned down two End SARS protesters during a prisons break on Monday in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.
The unarmed protesters were caught in a crossfire after some hoodlums invaded the prisons along Sapele road known.
We could not confirm if the dead were escapees, as many of them were set free earlier in the day by angry protesters who broke down the East gate of the Nigeria Correctional Centre.
With the streets of Benin was devoid of pedestrian and vehicular traffic as the protesters made bonfires of tyres and planks to barricade major streets, most inmates were sighted walking about in tattered clothes.
The prison break, according to reports, happened while some protesters stationed themselves at the Sapele Road end of the centre, diverting Guards’ attention, while others broke in through the Sapkonba Road axis of the centre and set the inmates free.
Most private and public schools in Benin City were closed for the day as parents/guardians who had dropped their children/wards, were later invited by School Heads to come back for them.
Meanwhile, one of the protesters in the state said the protest has been officially suspended with effect from Monday, October 19, till further notice.
Mr Osi Osagie who expressed regrets at what he said is the hijack of the protest by hoodlums said while the protest is suspended youth leaders are supposed to engage the youths in their localities on the way forward.
He said, “When we started the protest this is not what we bargained for. Now hoodlums have hijacked it and using it as a reason to destroy properties. Those on the streets protesting now are touts, area boys, thugs, hoodlums who see crime as a profession and want to cash in for their selfish gain. They see it as an avenue to perpetuate crimes. They are not agitating for anything in particular.
“Their placards are not #EndSARS. They are saying, ‘Buhari’ must go’ and that is not about #EndSARS”. Protesters are not supposed to carry logs, planks or barricade roads or make bonfires. That is no longer a peaceful protest. I am very disappointed and sad. The people of Edo State have been sensitized enough. Firstly illiteracy is the reason why we are in this mess. Secondly, setting fire on the roads is not it”
He stressed that “Because for us the human life is more important than any other agenda. We have to suspend the protest for now because over the weekend they turned it into something else. We are fighting for #EndSARS and an end to bad governance. That is all. We are shooting ourselves in the foot the way we are going and I don’t think we can continue this way”, he said.