The Edo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the infiltration of the #EndSARS movement by hoodlums.
The hoodlums had on Sunday taken over the protests in some areas of the state, burning tyres on the road and extorting residents. A man also died after a reckless driver amongst the thugs hit him with a car. The situation took a turn for the worse on Monday after the thugs broke into two prisons; the Benin Prison and Oko Prison in the state, where they allowed some prisoners go free.
The actions forced the state government to impose a 24-hour curfew across the state. The curfew became effective 4pm on Monday.
In a statement issued by the PDP’s State Publicity Secretary, Chris Osa Nehikhare, the party called on the #EndSARS protesters not to allow the activities of the thugs derail them from the goal of the protest, which is to end all forms of brutality and harassment by the police.
The party urged all Edo residents to comply with the directive of the government on the curfew and support the security agencies “as they rid our streets of the vagabonds responsible for the havoc and mayhem visited on our city.”
“As a responsible and compassionate political party, we did not only support the #EndSARS protests, but encouraged our supporters and members to join in the legitimate protest,” the statement said.
“We welcomed the dissolution of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police and supported the call for immediate steps to completely overhaul and restructure the entire police architecture to engender professionalism, adherence to rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights of Nigerians. Our decision to support the #EndSARS movement is in order to bring about a better Nigeria, where justice and freedom from oppression prevail.
“We commended the resolve of the protesters to continue the protest despite the attack on them last week by hoodlums, who killed and wounded some of them. Having failed to stop the protesters, it appears that the thugs and hoodlums have changed tactics and have infiltrated the ranks of the genuine protesters. We watched as a peaceful protest degenetated into a killing field. This is unacceptable.
“No responsible Nigerian or political party will ignore the infiltration of a peaceful and legitimate protest by hoodlums who have become so brazen to start robbing citizens even in broad daylight, harassing, looting, destroying property and even masterminding an attack on the Benin prison and forcing a jailbreak. We have no doubt that the people, who invaded the prison are not genuine #EndSARS protesters but criminal opportunists who used the freedom afforded the protesters, by their inalienable fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution, to cause havoc and create mayhem.
“As we move forward, the unfortunate development in the #EndSARS movement in Benin City and indeed Edo State calls for caution. We call on the #EndSARS protesters not to allow the activities of these undesirable elements derail from the goal of the protest, which is to end all forms of brutality and harassment by the police and enforce a society where freedom and justice prevail.
“The fake #EndSARS protesters have unfortunately forced the hand of government into taking measures such as declaring a 24-hour curfew effective 4pm today, Monday, October 19, 2020, in our state so that law and order can be restored. The sad events at the Benin prison and Oko Prison as well as other areas around the metropolis on Monday can lead to a total breakdown of law and order.
“The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo State urges all Edo residents to comply with the directive of the government and support the security agencies as they rid our streets of the vagabonds responsible for the havoc and mayhem visited on our city.”