It’s become easy these past two weeks for people to simply dismiss any and every eventful occurrence that is happening in the country as an #EndSARS related event. We’ve seen instances of violence pinned to the #EndSARS movements, and protesters labelled as destructive over the actions of other individuals or group of individuals, before being dispelled.
A similar incident occurred today when a video showing the burning Orile police station surfaced online.
— NIGERIA NEWS HUB (@scannews24) October 20, 2020
Behind the camera, you could hear the narrator chanting #EndSARS and how police brutality wouldn’t be tolerated anymore.
However, people were able to clarify that this was not the action of any #EndSARS protester, stating explicitly that no protest was held or scheduled to hold in the area today. This only left room for one more speculation, and that is the involvement of thugs in the area, an issue that has not been uncommon.
There was no Protest at Orile Iganmu, Lagos State
No #EndSars protester on sight
Thugs just went there and burnt the Police Station
PASS IT ON !!
— Trouble Maker 😒 (G.O) (@ObongRoviel) October 20, 2020
More insight into the incident has surfaced, and as it turns out, the burning of the police station was propagated by members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), commonly dismissed by Lagosians as agberos or thugs.
The story suggests that policemen in the area had shot and killed two individuals, one of which is the younger brother of an NURTW member.
Orile police shot this guy which is young brother of one the NURTW member.. this is the reason pic.twitter.com/hepjVe0rz0
— TheLazyYouthsHaveWokenUp (@tutyt_flo) October 20, 2020
This incident obviously did not sit well with the group as they took to burning the police station there and killing a police officer as revenge.
More videos of the fire incident, this was a fight between orile police station and the so called NURTW members who are fighting for the supposedly two persons the police killed #EndSARS #EndSARSImmediately #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria #EndSarsProtests #ENDBADGOVERNANCE pic.twitter.com/Ivo9uzLJfZ
— Vibezy Of Lagos🇳🇬 #ENDSARS (@_Itsvibezy) October 20, 2020
This incident poses a rather unique turn of events for every stakeholder involved including the true #EndSARS protests. On one hand, thugs have been attacking protesters in Lagos and trying to throw the peaceful protests into pandemonium. And now with this new development, the same thugs have set their sights on the police, making an enemy of them.
In this sadistic twist, the thugs who for some reason decided to attack protesters these past few days have experienced first hand the type of injustice the #EndSARS movement was created to quell. It has become known to them that the impunity to which the police force acts, is something the protesters could not endure any longer, and it is something they clearly have resolved with their actions today, not to tolerate.
While #EndSARS is taking a more liberal approach to dealing with this issue, the thugs are taking on a more violent approach, causing the government to enter panic mode. Their actions today is what brought upon the recently announced statewide curfew, as the government has become desperate to contain this already explosive situation.
However, the anger towards police brutality is becoming universal, and whether the approach to dealing with this issues defers, it has become clear that the government must address police misconduct and give the general public definable assurance to police conduct moving forward if they wish to end the civil unrest.