#EndSARS protesters defy Nigerian governor

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By BBC Africa

Protesters in Nigeria's southern state of Rivers are marching to the government house in the state capital, Port Harcourt, in defiance of the governor who banned all forms of protests.

Governor Nyesom Wike had on Monday said that there was no need for the #EndSARS protests after demonstrations continued in other parts of the country despite authorities disbanding the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), which was notorious for unlawful arrests and murder.

"Law enforcement agencies are also directed to ensure that the ban is enforced and that violators are brought to book," his spokesperson Paulinus Nsirim said in a statement posted on Twitter.

But despite heavy police presence, protesters still turned up at the Pleasure Park - their agreed venue on the outskirts of the city from where they started marching along a main road.

One of the protesters, Gospel Orji, told the BBC that they were headed to government house to speak to the governor about his pronouncement.

"This is no longer a protest, it is a movement," he said.

"We are going to show them that power belongs to the people," he said.

Demonstrations are also ongoing in several other states in the country despite assurances on Monday by President Muhammadu Buhari that the disbandment of Sars was the first step in reforming the police.

On the same day, a civilian and a police officer were killed in the commercial capital, Lagos, casting doubts on the sincerity of authorities to end police brutality.

The cities where demonstrations are now taking place are:

  • Port Harcourt
  • Aba
  • Enugu
  • Ibadan
  • Lagos
  • Jos
  • Abuja

Protesters want authorities to arrest and prosecute police officers who have been involved in the deaths and harassment of citizens since the demonstrations started last week, as a show of seriousness about police reforms.

 

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