Godwin Isenyo, Armstrong Bakam, Enyioha Opara, Tukur Muntari, Chima Azubuike
Several hundreds of youths, on Thursday, stormed the streets of major cities in the North, including Kaduna, Gombe, Kano and Bauchi, in protest against the spate of kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry in the region.
With the hashtag, #EndInsecurrityNow, the protesters asked the Federal Government to redeployed personnel of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad to the North to combat insecurity in the region.
The protest was organised by the Coalition of Northern Groups, which said it was against the harassment, intimidation and killing of Nigerians by the disbanded SARS.
The coalition, however, argued that the region’s challenges were not that of SARS but insecurity in the form of banditry, insurgency and other related crimes.
The protesters hit the streets of Kaduna around 9.30am and marched through the Muhammadu Buhari Way, Ali Akilu Road and Luggard Hall to the state House of Assembly Complex.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as, ‘The North is Bleeding’, ‘Stop the Killings in the North’, ‘End Boko Haram Now’, ‘End Banditry Now’, ‘Empower SWAT to End Insecurity’, ‘All Lives Matter’, and ‘Stop Rape Now’, among others.
The Speaker, state House of Assembly, Yusuf Zailani, sent the House Committee Chairman on Information, Ahmed Tanimu, to address the protesters.
The leader of the protesters and Kaduna State Coordinator of the CNG, Sa’ad Bako, said the youth were merely protesting the unending killing, kidnapping, cattle rustling, banditry and terrorism in the region.
He said the group respect the rights of those protesting against SARS.
However, in Bauchi, the CNG accused the #EndSARS campaigners of having selfish motives in their continued protest against police brutality.
They wondered why the #EndSARS protesters were still on the streets when the government and the police authority had granted their request by disbanding the special police unit.
The protesters disrupted free flow of traffic in and out of the Government House.
Members of the group expressed displeasure that no government official was on ground to address them after standing at the gate for close to an hour.
The Secretary of the CNG, Abdulkadir Alkassim, described the #EndSARS protests going on in parts of the country as “regional protests.”
Another leader of the group, Bello Aminu, said that the CNG was different from the #EndSARS because they were demanding an end to insecurity rather than scraping of any police unit.
In Niger State, the group said the government should find ways curtailing insecurity in the northern part of the country.
Addressing journalists in Minna, the group said in spite of the abundant mineral resources in the North-Central region, vices like kidnapping, banditry and other forms of criminality were thriving there.
The Coordinator of the group, Abubakar Mohammed, urged the state government to wake up to its responsibility and put adequate security in place in the troubled areas to save the inhabitants.
Hoodlums attack #EndInSecurityNow protesters in Kano
Suspected hoodlums, on Thursday, in Kano attacked members of the CNG, who came out to protest against the prevailing insecurity in the northern part of the country.
The protesters were attacked along Bayero University Kano old campus road by Kofar Famfo in the Kano metropolis.
The campaigners, who planned to start the protest at Gidan Dan Asabe along the Zoo Road, later changed the venue to the BUK Road.
Speaking to journalists after the disruption of the protest, the Convener, Dr Muhammad Bello-Nawaila, alleged that no fewer than 40 of the members sustained injuries from the attack carried out some 500 metres from take off point of the protest in the Kabuga area.
He said what surprised them most was that the protesters got security backing with two police patrol vehicles in front and two at the back.
Bello-Nawaila added that the group would continue with the protest until the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) listens to their call.
Gombe youths want end to banditry
The Chairman of the CNG in Gombe State, Ibrahim Mohammed, urged the Federal Government and security agencies to tackle security challenges in the northern region.
He stated, “Banditry, kidnapping, Boko Haram terrorism, rape and major security threats should be ended in the region.
“People at the villages can’t go to the farm as a result of the activities of bandits. We know that the security personnel are doing their best, but we are not satisfied with the current security situation in the northern region.”
Mohammed stated these during a protest at the Pantami Stadium, Minna, where he stated that the group was not for or against the SARS disbandment currently trending in the southern region. (Punch)