By Codratus Godson
EndSARS protesters defied the order Monday night by Gov Nyesom Wike and spilled across Port Harcourt demanding, this time, an end to police brutality.
The police occupied Pleasure Park on Aba Road which was the advertised gathering location. Instead, armed policemen took over the place and mixed only with journalists.
The organizers known as the Rivers State Civil Society (RivSCO), rather asked members of the public to gather next to Pleasure Park in total defiance of the governor’s order.
Thus, by 6am, the place was warming with men and women with placards. Soon, they began to march and later marched to the Government House where they insisted on Gov Wike addressing them.
Later, the governor, who banned the protest march, came out and addressed them, fueling speculations that the ban may have been a smokescreen.
Wike told crowd that he was the only governor who stood against SARS and asked the protesters to confirm.
He called for reform of the police: “If we do not reform the Police, the same SARS officers will be deployed to other units 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. They killed a lecturer at Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic without a cause and people kept quiet.
“President Muhammadu Buhari said he will reform the Police. Let us be ready to hold him by his words,” he said.
The Governor stated that he took an oath of office to protect the lives and property of Rivers people. “What we find in this country is that people play to the gallery. They hate people who speak the truth.”
Watchers thus wondered why protesters in Rivers State chose to visit the same governor who ordered ban on the protest instead of submitting a memo to the police command onward to the Inspector-General of Police.
Some others observed that most of the protesters were known Wike boys, while some said the organizers did not feel threatened by the governor’s order.