#EndSARS: The State Of Abuja’s Destroyed Structures One Year After Protests
The EndSARS protests witnessed a great show of force by both the government and the security forces, against peaceful protesters. But hoodlums at some point hijacked it, leading to destruction of properties.
Grievances arising from years of unethical policing in the country, in forms of widespread human rights violations and extrajudicial killings, led to a nationwide protest, bringing about the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit in Oct. 2020.
The demonstration, which continued after the disbandment of the tactical unit, erupted into full fledged violence that included looting, property destruction and open confrontation between military forces and hoodlums who hijacked the protest.
While many lives, made up of citizens, protesters and security officers, were lost in the aftermath, one year after, many destroyed structures in Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of power, remain unattended to.
In Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), hoodlums attacked the Dutse Makaranta police station in Oct. 2020 after they took to looting and destruction of major government structures.
The community, without a police station, has witnessed an increased rate of crime such as theft and armed robbery since the last one year.
Grace Edole, a hairdresser not too far from the location of the former police station, told HumAngle that although the community has a vigilante group, they are not doing much to curtail the growing trend of increased theft and other acts of criminality in the area.
While robbery has been on the rise, the community was struck by an ugly experience in Sept. 2021 when a POS operator was robbed and killed in broad daylight.
“It was after a heavy evening rain. They came in blacks and went straight to the young man’s shop requesting for money, when he refused he was shot straight in the chest and they went away with money in the shop,” Grace said.
The victim gave up the ghost before he could be rushed to the hospital and no police officer came to the scene.
Prince Tanko Sarki, Dutse community’s traditional leader, told HumAngle that the security situation of the community is shaky.
“As a prince concerned, we are just managing in the community. For everything that happens relating to crime, we reach out to Zone Four police station which is more like the closest to us, or the FCDA,” Sarki said.
The prince also praised the rapid response of the FCDA District Police Officer (DPO) who tries his best in attending to the Dutse Makaranta community’s security needs.
“The FCDA (DPO) is trying for us as a community, because there is no station in the community. Even the community’s vigilantes who work at night carry the DPO along. When thieves are caught by the vigilante, they call on the FCDA police who promptly respond,” Sariki said.
He, however, said the rising rate of crime in the community triggered the decision to rebuild the station, a joint project between the community and government.
NBA secretariat, customary court complex still not functioning
The customary court complex in Dutse, serving as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) secretariat was also part of the government structures razed down in the FCT during the EndSARS protests. The court remains locked since it was burnt down.
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