A video posted on Twitter showed a group of men armed with sticks and other weapons vandalizing property in the Berger area of Abuja. Protesters had been demonstrating peacefully when they saw the thugs run towards them.
The video shows them immediately fleeing the scene, while the men proceeded to vandailise vehicles and installations. In other videos, car windscreens and windows were seen being smashed.
In yet another video, we can see a thug apprehended by the crowd lying on the ground. He is said to have confessed that they were hired by some men from the Special Ant-Robbery Squad, which has been a subject of the nationwide protest entering its 7th day.
Earlier videos captured by protesters a few hours prior showed a number of men with sticks gathering at an area near the protest site. They were all wearing NYSC jungle boots, even though they were clearly not Youth Corpers.
The captured thugs were then taken to the hospital in an ambulance for treatment.
Hiring thugs to counter legitimate protesters is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria. In December 2019, hired thugs disrupted a protest against the nation’s president, causing the protesters to flee and abandon the demonstration.