Thousands of commuters were on Thursday stranded for hours as #EndSARS/SWAT protesters barricaded the ever-busy Benin-Lagos, Onitsha-Enugu and Abakaliki-Enugu Expressways for hours.
The blockades were in front of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in Ugbowo, the popular Aroma junction in Awka, Anambra State, Spera in Deo Junction in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State and Summit Junction along the Benin-Onitsha expressway in Delta State.
While the Edo protest was led by the President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Benjamin Egwu, those in Awka and Akakaliki were coordinated by the Anambra chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS) and Nollywood thespian, Angela Okorie.
The newly-constructed pedestrian bridge in front of the main campus of UNIBEN was converted to an emergency point for dishing out popular Nigerian musicians’ revolutionary songs to entertain the protesters and commuters.
The peaceful nature of the protest made the policemen drafted to the area to maintain law and order to be on holiday, as they were also enjoying the music.
Egwu told the protesters in Benin that they were adding their voices to the nationwide protest to ensure a better Nigeria and comprehensive reformation of the police.
In Awka, the protesters who blocked the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway went on wild jubilation when Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano, announced the sacking of his Senior Special Adviser (SSA)on Security, James Nwafor, for being mentioned in the # EndSARS protest.
Nwafor, an Ebonyi State indigene, was a former commander of SARS in Anambra State. He became Obiano’s aide after retirement.
The protesters, who carried placards with different inscriptions, demanded an end to police brutality.
They also used the opportunity to call on the Federal Government to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Most of them danced to different tones of music and played football along the expressway before moving to the Government House in Awka where Obiano received them.
Apart from announcing Nwafor’s removal, the governor promised to take their demands to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ebonyi, a state known for its docility when it comes to agitation, was roused to action by Nollywood’s thespian, Miss Okorie, who led protesters to block the old Government House for two hours.
The Old Government, located in the heart of the city, is the official residence and office of the state’s Deputy Governor, Dr Kelechi Igwe.
It also houses offices of some top government officials, including the Secretary to the State Government and many commissioners.
In Delta, protesters blocked the ever-busy Benin-Onitsha expressway, leaving thousands of motorists stranded.
The blockade of the Summit Junction section of the highway resulted in a long queue of vehicles stretching from the River Niger bridge to Issele-Azagba, Oshimili North LGA.
The protest was peaceful and had many youths dancing in the middle of the highway to music blaring from loudspeakers situated on a truck.
Many travellers lamented the disruption to their journeys.
Some of the protesters vowed to continue the barricade until President Buhari signs a law disbanding the feared SARS.
A truck driver said he has been trapped for over seven hours, adding that he was conveying goods from Aba to Lagos.