Abuja Protester: The Police Threw Hot Water And Tear Gas Canisters At Us

October 12, 2020

Every Monday morning, Zikoko’s new Citizen seri “Politics 101” will curate the bigs stories that made the rounds over the weekend, including the most significant news stories we’re tracking in the new week

The Nigerian youths have been at the forefront of the #EndSARS protest. From all over the country, we have protesters enduring all sorts of harassment from the police force. From being poured hot water and tear gas to having bullets shot at them, they have seen it all. Today, I spoke to Nkeiru, a protester in Abuja to recount what the past few days of protest have been like.

Day 1 of the Abuja protest.

On Friday, 9th of October, we got ready to protest. We headed out to millennium park. I met people there ready to protest. I have a large following on twitter so a lot of people kept sending me DMs on where the location for the Abuja protest is. We walked from millennium park through Transcorp, NCC, hoping to get to the secretariat. When we got to Abia House, we got blocked by five police vans. Some police officers came down and started throwing canister of tear gas at us. Everyone started running. 

I jumped the fence into Junkyard. Some people were running into Statement Hotel and Abia house. Some even ran as far back as Berger and Bannex. Everyone scattered and that ended day 1 of the protest.

Nkeiru at the Friday protest

Day 2 of the Abuja protest

On Saturday, 10th of October, we met at Berger roundabout. From there we marched to Banex and then all the way to Unity fountain. People really turn up for this march. When we got to the headquarters, we sat on the floor, demanding to see the IGP. We sat for over 4 hours waiting for him to come.  Madam Aisha Yesufu was with us. The police asked us to leave that the IGP wasn’t around but we insisted that we would wait for him. 

There was a ready supply of food, water and first aid in case of an emergency. 

A policewoman came to talk to us repeatedly asking us to go home but we stood our ground. The police waited until it was dark, like around 6:30 pm – 7:00 pm next thing we knew, they started throwing canisters of tear gas at us. The 100 plus people who came for the protest started running for their lives. It was like a mini-stampede. 

Our cars that were parked opposite the road were vandalised. They slashed the tyres, broke the windscreens and windows. The owners had to find a way to fix their tyres before going home. That was how the protest ended. 

Nkeiru at the Saturday protest

Day 3 of the Abuja Protest

On Sunday, 11th of October, we met at Unity fountain to march to the police headquarters. When we got to Women Affairs, the police stopped us and started throwing tear gas and hot water at us. It got me thinking about all the fires that the Nigerian fire service did not put out because of lack of water and how easily they seem to have this “scarce” resources available now that youths are protesting for their rights. 

A lot of people just sat down on the floor that if it’s just water, they should pour it on them. From pouring water on us, they started throwing teargas again. They caught some of my friends and beat them up. 

We went back to Maitaima roundabout and regrouped again with a larger crowd. We went back the second time and they chased us back again with hot water. They chased us as far as Unity fountain from the Ministry of Women affairs.

This was when Davido joined us and he came with the longest convey I’ve ever seen in my life. Everyone followed Davido’s convey as it had over 200 cars. We were headed for the police quarters. When we got there, Davido spoke to them and they released everyone in their custody.  

The police told Davido that they have called off the SARS unit and us protesting is against the law. Davido told them that if any of us encounters any SARS office, we will back and that was how everyone went home. 

The fight is not over until we #EndSARS.

Nkeiru at the Sunday protest

Eris Ekanem

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