The ongoing peaceful #EndSARS protest in States across the country by concerned Nigerian citizens, Friday turned bloody in Benin City, Edo state following the death of two persons.
The protesters, mainly youths were protesting alleged brutality and extortions by operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)- a unit of the police.
The peaceful protest which begun at about 9.30AM around the ever-busy king square took a worrisome dimension after persons believed to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) attacked them.
The attackers who wielded cutlasses and guns were heard expressing concerns that the protesters continued occupation of the king square have grossly affected their revenue collection from commercial drivers.
“Since they started this thing (protest), we no longer have money because drivers no longer get to this point because of the traffic gridlock… and we must remit cash to the office”, one of the attackers said.
At the end of the melee which ensued during the clash, a man believed to be one of the protesters laid lifeless around Ekpenede
However, in what appeared to be a reprisal, one other person was shot dead at the urhogbota axis of the king square moments later.
Several persons including passersby reportedly sustained vary degrees of injuries.
Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Obaseki has condemned the attack on the protesters by “unidentified hoodlums”, noting that a thorough investigation would commence immediately to bring the culprits to justice.
In a statement, the governor charged the Edo State Police Command to come out in full force to provide adequate security to the protesters, as they were exercising their rights as concerned citizens of Nigeria.
According to him, “I have just learnt that hoodlums have attacked #ENDSARS protesters, who have conducted themselves peacefully in Benin City.
“I extend condolences to the victims of the attacks, including those who lost their lives and others who were injured by the thugs.
“It is disheartening that anyone would attack a peaceful assembly of young people who are expressing genuine concerns over police brutality and intimidation in their own country.”