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GOVERNOR Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and his deputy, Mr. Benedict Alabi, narrowly escaped death on Saturday after they were attacked by armed men during an #EndSARS protest in Osogbo, the state capital.
Protesters also blocked Fajuyi road, Ado Ekiti that leads to government house.
Mothers took to the streets of Lagos to demand an end to police brutality, while protesters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) blocked the Abuja-Kubwa highway.
Thugs later infiltrated the scene to unleash terror on the protesters.
Prayer walks also took place in parts of the country in another dimension to the protests.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State led top officials of the state to the Surulere, Lagos residence of Mr. Ikechukwu Iloamauzo, who was shot dead last week during the protest.
He pledged that the widow and family of the deceased would get justice in the matter.
The Osogbo rally had started well when the protesters gathered at Olaiya Junction only for suspected thugs to swoop on them with cutlasses and sticks.
The protesters later reconvened and asked the governor to address them.
He did at about 2.45pm, joining the protesters in the walk from Alekuwodo area to Olaiya junction, singing with them and promising them that their demands would be looked into. He assured them of his support, saying peaceful agitations were a part of the democratic process.
However, while still addressing the youths, the armed men and women unexpectedly started shooting and hurling stones at the governor’s car.
They also shot at the deputy governor, damaging his vehicles.
It was gathered that some of the state officials were wounded in the attack as vehicles in the convoy were damaged.
Pandemonium erupted with the thugs taking over the Ola-Iya junction where they made bonfires, and began to attack innocent people.
Some of the thugs who were armed with axes, broken bottles, and cutlasses mounted bikes and moved around town threatening the peace.
It was learnt that a resident was hit by a stray bullet at Oke-Ayiepe area when some suspected thugs invaded the area.
Information and Civic Orientation Commissioner, Funke Egbemode, who was also at the scene of the incident, said the attack was beyond the #EndSARS protest, but a premeditated attempt to take the governor out.
“It was an assassination attempt. This was certainly beyond the #EndSARS protest. The people who launched the attack were not protesters at all. They were hoodlums with evil intentions.
“Protests have been going on in the State for some days now, and there had been no attack on any government official since the beginning of the protest.
“However, today’s attack changed the narrative. It was not a spontaneous attempt. The attackers had it all planned. They had guns and other weapons. In fact, it was a woman who smashed the windscreen of the vehicle of the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji where I was.
“It is really sad that these people infiltrated the ranks of the peaceful protesters and took advantage of the Governor’s walk with the youths to execute their sinister intentions.
“It was simply a street coup to take out the governor, his deputy and the Secretary to the State Government, all of whom were exposed during the protest and had to be smuggled into vehicles when the attack was launched.”
Earlier yesterday the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state had alleged infiltration of the EndSARS protesters by those it called known political thugs who are sympathetic to the cause of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The APC Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy in the state, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi, noted that two of the known thugs, who were said to have been ferried in from Ede, a neighbouring town to Osogbo, the state capital, were identified. They were seen brandishing long guns and even shooting sporadically into air during one of the protests on Friday.
The state government, through the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Prince Wole Oyebamiji, first expressed worry over the hijack of the protests by hoodlums and miscreants, who harassed and intimidated members of the public and held workers hostage at the State Secretariat, Abere, last Wednesday.
Oyatomi noted that, now that it has been clearly established that the protests in the State have been hijacked for ulterior and political motives, security agencies should as a matter of necessity and urgency take charge to avoid any break down of law and order.
He said:”A situation where known political thugs, who have sympathy for a political party join protesters to intimidate and harass members of the public while shooting sporadically into the air is dangerous and unacceptable. Therefore, security operatives should consider taking charge so that our beloved State can continue to guard jealously its enviable status of being the most peaceful State in the Nigeria.
Hoodlums chanting #EndSARS loot mall; post office, market razed
Not done with the attack on the governor’s entourage yesterday,some of the hoodlums shouting #EndSARS fanned into different parts of the state including the Osun State Mall at Fakunle Area, Osogbo.
They broke into the stores there and embarked on looting.
Some of the business outfits attacked and looted were The Chronicles, FemTECh, ArtDeco, Justrite, and African Dish.
The owner of The Chronicles, Ifeoluwa, told The Nation that the looters were armed with knives, cutlasses, axes and other weapons, chanting ” #EndSARS”.
ThePost Office building and a nearby market also went up in flames.
The cause of the inferno was not immediately known.
Spokesperson of the State Fire Service,Mrs.Basiri Adijat said hoodlums prevented fire fighters from confronting the inferno.