By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
Low turn out has marred the protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad #End SARS Campaign championed by the New Warri Group in Warri, Delta State.
Members of the New Warri Group were very few in their peaceful protests at the popular Enerhen junction in Effurun near Warri.
Convener of the Group, Mr. Igho Tietie agreed that low turn out marred the peaceful protest because the people of Warri were afraid of not being arrested and thrown into cell by the police.
“Yes, many people are scared that the police will bundle all of us and throw us into their cell. That’s the only thing they’re scared of.”
Tietie also complained that the police has gone out of its mandate of protecting lives and property to unlawful arrests, molestation, brutalizing and violation of the rights of Nigerians.
“You see a young man with dreadlocks or with beards or the way the person is dressed, you conclude the person is a criminal.”
“When you decide to protest for your right, they threaten to shoot you and one of them once said that I go shoot and nothing go happen.”
Tietie also called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police to reform the Nigeria Police Force.
While noting that there are good Officers in the force, Tietie said there are also bad elements amongst them.
“We want the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Police also reformed.”
The Lead Partner of the Group, Mr. Collins Azuike corroborated the claims of Tietie in a chat with newsmen, said police embarrassments and brutality in Warri is too much in Warri.
Azuike who noted that there are some fraudulent people amongst the people of Warri stressed that there is a good percentage of genuine persons trying to create and make Warri a better city.
“We are passing message to the police that we have a right too because somebody is carrying dreadlocks or has tattoo on his body is a terrible or bad person. We want a better city. The police should join us and make Warri Comfortable for everyone of us. We need new Warri that is Smart and Safe.”
Members of the group during the peaceful protest, chanted solidarity songs despite their small numbers.
They bore placards with various inscriptions such as, “I get laptop no make me yahoo boy #End SARS, #Reform PoliceNG,# End Police Brutality”,”Stop Police Brutality. I am a Nigerian,respect my rights Reform SARS, Reform PoliceNG, Stop Police Brutality”,”Slay Queen nor be Ashawo”,”Laptop and Phone are my rights”,” Dreadlocks no bi yahoo boy, End Police Brutality,#End SARS.”