Hundreds of youths took to major streets in Benin, the Edo State capital, to mark the first anniversary of the EndSARS protests on Wednesday.
They converged at the Oba Ovonramwen Square, popularly called Ring Road, with placards bearing various inscriptions. They demanded automatic employment for the victims of the protest in the state.
The youths also demanded implementation of the report of the judicial panel that was set up by the state government, adding that those still in detention as a result of the 2020 protest should be released unconditionally, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Security personnel drawn from the Nigerian police, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and members of local vigilante were on the ground to ensure peace.
Members of the Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV) controlled traffic while the peaceful march lasted.
Two of the victims, a fashion designer, Miracle Ailenokhoriah, who has been bedridden as a result of a gunshot to his right thigh, and Stephen Asekhame, whose left leg was amputated as a result of a gunshot from soldiers in Auchi during the protest, joined other protesters.
Asekhame, who is from Uhonmora, Owan West Local Government Area of Edo, said he was amputated after he was hit by a bullet during the protest.
“During the protest last year on the 19th of October 2020, we in Auchi decided to hold our peaceful protest. Soldiers ran into us and I was hit by a bullet that led to the amputation of my left leg. I was a student then but now I am a graduate and I am supposed to go for NYSC next Sunday.
“I presented my case before the panel through my lawyer, but till now, we have not heard anything from the panel,” he said.
Ailenokhoriah, who was accompanied by his mother, said they were protesting at the Market Square in Ekpoma when a policeman he identified as Sergeant Ade, shot him.
“Ade and other policemen started beating me and they said if I die, I would be buried behind the police station. I was later sent to the hospital where I spent three months and now we have resorted to traditional treatment. But since then, I have not been able to stand up,” he said.
His mother, Betty Odiagbe, said they had sent a petition and appeared before the panel but nothing had come out of it.
She lamented that she had spent so much on her son’s health which had made it impossible for her to pay the school fees of her other children.