Hundreds of youths, on Thursday, hit the streets of major cities in the North, including Kaduna, Gombe, Kano and Bauchi, to protest the spate of kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry in the region.
The protesters operating under the hashtag, #EndInsecurrityNow, called on the Federal Government to redeploy personnel of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad to the North to combat insecurity in the region.
Coalition of Northern Groups, which organised the protest, however, said it was against the harassment, intimidation and killing of Nigerians by the disbanded SARS.
It argued that the region’s challenges were not that of SARS but insecurity in the form of banditry, insurgency and other related crimes.
The protesters stormed the streets of Kaduna around 9.30am and marched through the Muhammadu Buhari Way, Ali Akilu Road and Luggard Hall to the state House of Assembly Complex.
They carried placards with various inscriptions such as, ‘The North is Bleeding’, ‘Stop the Killings in the North’, ‘End Boko Haram Now’, ‘End Banditry Now’, ‘Empower SWAT to End Insecurity’, ‘All Lives Matter’, and ‘Stop Rape Now’, among others.
Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Yusuf Zailani, sent the House Committee Chairman on Information, Ahmed Tanimu, to address the protesters.
Leader of the protesters and Kaduna State Coordinator of the CNG, Sa’ad Bako, said the youth were merely protesting the unending killing, kidnapping, cattle rustling, banditry and terrorism in the region.
He said the group respect the rights of those protesting against SARS.
But in Bauchi, the CNG accused the #EndSARS campaigners of having selfish motives in their continued protest against police brutality.
They wondered why the #EndSARS protesters were still on the streets when the government and the police authority had granted their request by disbanding the special police unit.
The protesters disrupted free flow of traffic in and out of the Government House.
Members of the group expressed displeasure that no government official was on ground to address them after standing at the gate for close to an hour.
CNG Secretary, Abdulkadir Alkassim, described the #EndSARS protests going on in parts of the country as “regional protests.”
Another leader of the group, Bello Aminu, said that the CNG was different from the #EndSARS because they were demanding an end to insecurity rather than scraping of any police unit.
In Niger State, the group said the government should find ways of curtailing insecurity in the northern part of the country.
CNG, while addressing journalists in Minna, said in spite of the abundant mineral resources in the North-Central region, vices like kidnapping, banditry and other forms of criminality were thriving there.
Coordinator of the group, Abubakar Mohammed, urged the state government to wake up to its responsibility and put adequate security in place in the troubled areas to save the inhabitants.