Traffic grounded in Awka as ENDSWAT protesters hold party on expressway

Kenechukwu Ofomah

Kenechukwu Ofomah

A new version of the ENDSARS protest, ENDSWAT today caused massive gridlock that grounded movement in and out of Awka, Anambra State Capital on Wednesday.
The protest had begun at about 8am Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka but eventually took an eventful twist when it moved to the State Government House, Awka where the protesters demanded to be addressed by the Governor of the State, Willie Obiano.
When the Governor was not forthcoming, the protesters defied every effort to get them pacified to leave and turned the protest into a party of sorts, blocking movement in and out of the State, through the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway from the Enugu axis.
As at the time of filing this report at about 8:30pm this night, the gridlock caused had extended down to the UNIZIK Tempsite junction as motorists drove against road rules to avoid being caught up with the traffic.
The protesters who include mostly youths, danced, with little or no care, to songs played by Disc Jockeys DJs who joined the protest, insisting on being addressed by the state governor.
This is even as security operatives, including men of the DSS, the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who are attached to the State Government House, stood helplessly by the gates and watched as the protesters sang and danced, denying vehicles entry into the government house or out.
One of the organizers, who refused to be identified while addressing protesters said they are going to continue protesting until the Governor addresses them.
 “Even if Obiano is in the US, we demand that he must fly back and address us by himself, else, we will not leave. It is quite appalling that when other governors are speaking to their people and articulating their agitations to send to Police authorities, our governor has remained mute over the protest. This is totally unacceptable and we demand that he comes out to address us,” the individual said.
An onlooker who identified himself as Mr Obinna told TNC correspondent that some DSS men came and tried to stop the protesters earlier, but they resisted them.
“They took their phones, smashed them and also smashed the rear glass of their Sienna vehicle, then contributed money and gave to them to replace it.
“Their leader told the DSS men that they were here on a peaceful protest, and if the DSS men stayed away from interrupting the protest, they would be safe. The DSS men are over there,” he said.
Efforts to get the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, James Eze o speak on the matter proved abortive, as he did not take his calls.

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