The minister of information and culture Mr. Lai Mohammed, says the nationwide protest against decades of police brutality has been hijacked by hoodlums.
Speaking on a programme late Saturday on Nigeria Television Authority, the minister stated that the country was fast descending into anarchy as organisers of #EndSARS protests seem to have lost their grip on the movement.
He argued that although the Federal Government has so far been civil with protesters, the demonstrations have degenerated into a volatile situation.
“Peaceful protest is an integral part of democracy and that is why the Federal Government in the last 11 days has treated the protesters in a very civilised manner”, Mr. Mohammed said.
“But, if you look at what happened to the governor of Osun State, it has gone completely beyond peaceful protest against excesses and abuse of power by the police”, he reasoned.
“We are no longer dealing with #EndSARS but a volatile situation that can lead to anarchy if the government does not take some very firm steps to protect the lives and livelihood of innocent Nigerians.”
Two people were killed in Osogbo, the Osun capital Saturday afternoon after Governor Oyetola’s convoy drove into a crowd of #EndSARS protesters, Peoples Gazette reported.
While the governor insists that the protesters were infiltrated by thugs, many witnesses have come on social media to contradict his claim, saying his security drove into the crowd of protesters outside his lodge.
#EndSARS campaigners in many parts of the country have been severally attacked by thugs touted as mercenaries of the government.
Mr. Mohammed, who expressed worry over the rising cases of violence at protest grounds, stressed that roadblocks and other inconveniences posed by protesters were infringing on the rights of other Nigerians.
“We have nothing against peaceful protest but there are civilised ways of doing so. This is by going to a venue where you are not going to disturb other Nigerians because where your own right stops, other persons’ right begins”, he said.
“There is nowhere in the world where a government will fold its arms and allow the country to descend into anarchy.”
The minister appears to be laying the groundwork for deployment of military and deadly force to quell historic movement.
The military brass-hats have been pushing to intervene in the protests, but were rebuffed by the president.
It was unclear whether the president would reconsider the military’s offer with the protest now entering into another week, although warnings are loud from across the world that federal force should never be injected into the civil demonstrations.
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