The #EndSARS protesters in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, were on Thursday disappointed as neither Governor David Umahi nor any top official of government came out to address them.
The protesters, comprising celebrities and other youths from within and outside the State, numbering over 2,000, blocked the entrance gate to the Government House chanting anti-SARS songs and bearing placards with various inscriptions calling for end to all forms of Police brutality.
Their mission, however, failed to achieve the desired result as no government official from the government house came out to meet them after about 3 hours of waiting.
The protesters had earlier refused listening to the Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, Ben Nwovu, who wanted to address them, insisting that it must either be Governor Umahi or his deputy.
Meanwhile, the Governor was said to have traveled outside the State on official assignment.
All subtle attempts by some of the protesters to force their way into the Government House were rebuffed by the security agents at the gate.
While the protesters later processed to the popular Akanu Ibiam Roundabout, otherwise known as Spera-in-deo junction, newsmen were informed that the Deputy Governor, Kelechi Igwe, would be there to address them.
That also did not hold as newsmen waited in vain for over 90 minutes before dispersing to their various other duties.
One of the lead protesters and a Nollywood celebrity, Angela Okorie, who spoke to newsmen at the Government House gate, said she chose to spearhead the protest in order to guarantee the safety of the youths, including her own children.
According to Okorie, many young lives had been wasted as a result of brutality unleashed by the Police against the youths, adding that criminality should not be judged by one’s fashion and hairstyle.
She further noted that she decided to engineer the protest in Ebonyi State because it is her home.
Okorie said: “I am supporting the protest because I am a youth too and I have a son, and I do not want my son to suffer that tomorrow like every other innocent children killed on the street for no reason.
“I want them to understand that because one is carrying dreadlocks does not mean he is a thief, and that you are wearing sagging Jean does not mean that you are a Yahoo person.
“They need to understand that it is a peaceful protest, that we want them to end SARS.
“The bottomline is end SARS, end SWAT, end Police brutality.”
Others who spoke in choruses, including Kingsley Onwe, made demands for the total reformation of the Nigeria Police Force with adequate psychological and other trainings to curb their excesses, adding that they reject both SARS and its transformation into SWAT.
They also demanded justice for all victims of police brutality by bringing all culprits of extrajudicial killings to book.