Stella Chima, Lagos
As the hashtag #EndSARS protest continues in various parts of the country, there as be cries from protesters against attacks from thugs and security agents over the week.
Due to the rampant attacks faced by these protesters, bouncers have been hired to increase security at the protest grounds.
In Lagos, tragedy struck when two people were crushed to death during the protest in the Alagbado area of the state.
While the protest was on in the Ikeja area around 8am, hoodlums, suspected to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, invaded the protest ground.
Our reporter learnt that the men were armed with cutlasses and axes and injured several protesters.
They were also said to have vandalised vehicles in a bid to disperse the crowd.
Footage trending online showed some of the injured protesters soaked in blood while seeking medical aid.
Some of the hoodlums were alleged to have been conveyed to the scene in a government-owned bus.
An eyewitness, Seyi Adebayo, said the thugs attacked the protesters on the claim that the protest was affecting their businesses.
After the incident, the protesters regrouped and continued their agitations.
Private securities, including bouncers, were reportedly hired to bolster the confidence of participants of the demonstration.
Some Nigerians, who condemned the attack on the social media, alleged that the hoodlums were sponsored by the state government; the state Chairman of the NURTW, Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo; a developer, Taoreed Faronbi, aka Baba Alado, among others.
Akinsanya, however, denied the allegation in a video he posted online.
He said, “I don’t know any of those that went there; I didn’t collect any money to scatter the protest; my sisters and brothers and people that I know have been protesting. I also support the protest.”
Primero Transport Services Limited, operators of the BRT vehicle alleged to have conveyed the hoodlums to the protest ground, also denied knowing anything about it.
Primero, which is led by Fola Tinubu, said many other companies had been given licences to operate BRT and the bus could have been owned by any company.
It, therefore, distanced itself from the thugs.