Residents of Port Harcourt last Tuesday defied the order by Rivers State Government banning protest and marched through major roads seeking an end to police brutality.
The state government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner of Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, had said it was needless for the people to go ahead with the #EndSARS protest since SARS has already been scrapped by the Inspector-General of Police.
The statement said law enforcement agencies have been directed to enforce the ban and “bring violators to book.”
The Protesters, carrying placards, marched through major streets in Port Harcourt to the Government House, where they presented their grievances against police brutality to the Rivers State Government.
Addressing the protesters, Gov. Wike called for a “total” reform of the Nigeria police, adding that he is committed to the security and welfare of Rivers people.
He said, “If we do not reform the police, the same SARS officers will be deployed to other unit of the force to continue their evil acts. It is not only to end SARS, already there is a pronouncement to scrap it. But every Nigerian should support the total reform of the police.”
“SARS cannot and has never been our friend in Rivers State. What we find in this country is that people play to the gallery. They hate people who speak the truth. Irrespective of the pressure, I will continue to protect my people,”he added.
Speaking to The Vortex, one of the organizers of the protest, popularly known as K.O. Baba stated that the “overwhelming” number of people who participated in the protest was an indication that Governor Wike’s ban on protest in Rivers State “fell on deaf ears,” as youths were determined to put an end to police brutality and all forms of oppression.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had announced the “dissolution” of SARS, following a nationwide protest.
Despite the announcement on the dissolution of SARS, protesters continued to march through the streets in various parts of the country expressing their grievances and calling for a total reform of the Police.