Protests have been ongoing in various parts of Nigeria for more than a week now. The demonstrations have shown to be peaceful and non-violent then all of a sudden reports began to tell a different story. Unnamed individuals appeared to cause mayhem; attacking the protesters and killing scores.
On Monday, it got worse. News reports declared that some thugs, also tagged pro-SARS protesters, assaulted and stabbed women and men at the protest grounds in Abuja, while they were asleep in the early hours of the morning. Soon after, another incredulous news trailed the event as it was reported that similar hoodlums had broken into a Benin correctional centre; setting inmates free. A few hours later, the hoodlums reportedly moved on to attack the Oko Medium Security Centre in Edo State; freeing inmates. The surging hoodlums were said to have overpowered five armed guards in the facility, looting shops along roadsides leading to the prison.
Videos circulated on social media showing freed ‘inmates’ running out with ridiculous items such as headphones, luggage bags; all fully dressed. The circumstances raised eyebrows and questions amongst Nigerians as many could not believe that thugs could have easily broken into two prisons without any one of them suffering an injury, inflicting harm on wardens or being caught by any of the police officers.
Investigative reporter, Fisayo Soyombo, who had gone undercover in a police cell, attested to the fact that it was quite an impossibility. Various conspiracy theories have flown abound as people speculated on who sent who. Is this another ploy from the government? Suspicions rose even higher when the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, imposed a 24-hour curfew in the state, moments after. Halting all movement and halting all protests.
Nigerians have every right to be suspicious because the government has seemingly pulled out every trick in the book to try to get these protests to an end. Now things are becoming scary and insecurity is rising. Would Nigerian youths continue with the protests despite it all?
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks