As the killings, destruction of properties and massive looting by hoodlums who have hijacked the #EndSARS protest across the country continue unabated, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, yesterday warned that enough was enough of the carnage.
Accordingly, he ordered the immediate mobilization of all police operational assets and resources to bring an end to the wanton violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property.
Force PRO, DCP Frank Mba, said the IGP gave the order to all Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs), Commissioners of Police (CPs), Heads of Police Operational Units, Squadron and Base Commanders in charge of Zonal/State/FCT Commands, the Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit and the Special Protection Unit, on Saturday.
He charged them to reclaim the public space from criminal elements masquerading as protesters in some parts of the country.
A statement by Mba noted that “in addition, CPs/Heads of Police Formations in the various states have also been charged to mobilize their men and work in sync with the Command CPs in the areas where they are domiciled, to dominate the public space and ensure peace and safety in the affected areas.”
The IGP, while noting that “enough is enough” to all acts of lawlessness, disruption of public peace and order and wanton violence which have resulted in indiscriminate looting of shops, malls and ware houses, damage to property and loss of lives in some parts of the country, further directed the police strategic managers to personally lead and coordinate the operation and use all legitimate means to halt further slide into lawlessness and brigandage.
The IGP enjoined law-abiding citizens not to panic but rather join forces with the police and other members of the law enforcement community to protect their communities from the criminal elements.
He further called for the understanding and cooperation of the citizens, assuring that the action is geared towards ensuring public order and safety and public security in our communities.
The IGP however warned ‘trouble-makers’ not to test the collective will of the nation by coming out to cause any further breakdown of law and order.
Hoodlums On The Loose, Continue Rampage, Looting Of COVID-19 Palliatives Warehouses
Meanwhile, angry youths led by hoodlums in their thousands yesterday broke into some of the COVID-19 palliatives stores in some states and carted away several food items.
Some of the items carted away include rice, cartons of indomie, sugar, spaghetti among several other items, with some labelled CACOVID-19.
Apart from foodstuff that, some other household items including matrasses, zinc, cushion chairs among other items were equally looted.
At Gwari Avenue and Barnawa in Kaduna South local government area of Kaduna State, some security personnel were sighted watching as hoodlums looted the warehouses without making effort to prevent the angry youths.
In Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, the hoodlums also broke into a palliatives warehouse and at the time of filling this report, people were still looting the warehouse, and no security operative was on ground to prevent them.
Also, there was pandemonium in Bukuru, Jos South local government council, yesterday when hundreds of hoodlums stormed the NITEL warehouse where the state government stored the COVID-19 palliatives meant to be distributed to the less privileged and carted them away.
As the looting of the palliatives at the NITEL warehouse was going on another set of angry youths stormed the Jos International Breweries JIB Potakabine where hundreds of thousands of cartons of Indomie noodles were stored.
Unfortunately, they were highly disappointed this time around as they met an empty hall; the palliatives had been distributed in the month of September.
Some of the looters came all the way from Jos North, Angwan Rukuba, Gangere, Tudun Wada, channel 7, among other suburban areas.
They came with trucks, tricycles and cars with the hope of loading foodstuffs, and in the process constituted heavy grid lock along the Bukuru express way for more than five hours.
Following the development, Governor Simon Lalong again announced the reinstatement of the 24-hour curfew earlier imposed in Jos South and Jos North local government areas of the state.
Governor Lalong in a statement he personally signed recalled that he had announced a 24-hour curfew in Jos South and Jos north local government areas on October 20, 2020 in response to the disturbances that arose when hoodlums hijacked the #ENDSARS protest leading to the destruction of lives and properties.
According to him, after an assessment of the situation, the curfew was relaxed from the hours of 6am to 8pm from yesterday 23rd October 2020.
He however lamented yesterday that some hoodlums broke into the warehouses where palliatives delivered to the state by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development last week were stored awaiting distribution and carted them away.
He further said the looting has spread to other facilities and is gradually degenerating, thereby threatening the peace and security of the state.
“To avoid further escalation, I hereby direct the immediate reinstatement of the 24-hour curfew earlier relaxed from 4pm today 24th October 2020 in Jos South and Jos North Local Government Areas till further notice,” the governor declared.
In Kwara, security operatives in the state arrested some hoodlums who looted public and private properties in Ilorin on Friday and yesterday.
The spokesman of the joint security agencies and Kwara state commissioner of police, Kayode Egbetokun, disclosed this at a news conference in Ilorin yesterday.
The state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, had on Friday night imposed a 24- hour curfew on the state, following attacks on the cargo terminal at the Ilorin international airport, Nigeria Customs Service office, Ilorin, the warehouse of the state ministry of Agriculture and some private establishments, including a newspaper house by some miscreants.
“We have arrested some people with looted items and many will still be arrested because it is an ongoing process,” the commissioner of police told journalists.
“The protesters are no longer on the streets but the hoodlums are. Yesterday (Friday) 23/10/20, they looted warehouses, malls and shops. They forcefully dispossessed individuals of their valuable belongings and threatening to do more. Attempt to burn down a popular Mall after looting was frustrated by security agents”, he added.
Also, hoodlums in Benin City, the Edo State capital, yesterday stormed the state government’s warehouse on Medical Store Road, Uselu, and looted the palliatives stored in the warehouse.
The youths who were earlier prevented by military personnel from carrying out the act, succeeded in breaking the human shield mounted by the military and entered the store.
No incident of shooting was recorded as the youths carted away the food items in the warehouse.
Reports however indicate that a man allegedly died in attempt to escape from the warehouse with his loot.
This was just as a lady was seen in one of the video recordings of the looted warehouse, bleeding profusely as she was being carried by two men.
The lady in the video had an injury on the back of her neck, though nobody knew how she came about the injury as the narrator did not disclose the source of the wound.
Meanwhile, there was drama in Ado Ekiti yesterday as some residents of the state stormed the federal government’s silos and carted away fertilizers and seeds treated for planting.
The people who mistook the bags of seeds and fertilizers for CACOVID palliatives (consumable grains) also looted stored relief material for flood victims at the State Emergency Management Agency warehouses.
It was gathered that a large number of residents who boarded vehicles and motorcycles from all parts of the metropolis defied heavy downpour and attacked the silos located along Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti around 7.30pm on Friday and made away with the items said to be poisonous.
This prompted the state government to issue a public announcement that all palliatives allotted to Ekiti had been distributed, with no left over.
Soldiers and other law enforcement agents were said to have been drafted to the silos to protect the commodities, but the looting had already begun before their arrival.
The development was said to have caused traffic logjam along Ado-Ijan -Ikare road, as soldiers made spirited efforts to disperse the huge crowd of intending looters that massed at the scene.
Several persons were said to have sustained bodily injuries in the stampede.
The state government in a statement by the commissioner for Information, Barrister Akin Omole, warned residents that commodities being looted from the silos were poisonous.
The statement noted: “Reports reaching us confirm that the Federal Government’s Silos, the Agric Development Programme (ADP) warehouse and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) store, all in Ado- Ekiti, have been attacked by hoodlums under the guise of seeking CACOVID palliatives.
“Ekiti State has NO CACOVID palliative warehouse as all the palliatives have been distributed. The items being carted away are Single Super Phosphate fertilizer and NPK which they have erroneously identified as Garri.
“The SEMA store has emergency supplies for disaster response e.g. flood, fire or any other emergencies. Some are even making away with corn preserved for planting, with chemical pre- fermentation. All these items are poisonous and not fit for consumption!”
Police Foil Attempt In FCT
In Abuja, police officers from Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command yesterday prevented hoodlums from raiding a palliative warehouse belonging to the FCT Administration located at Area 10.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that some angry youths gathered at the popular Arts and Culture Building, which houses the warehouse, and attempted to break into the facility before a detachment of policemen swooped on them, dispersing them with gunshots and teargas.
Our reporter confirmed that following the development, the popular UTC Market and other adjoining plazas in the area wasclosed down for business, while traders and buyers were ordered to vacate the area.
Investigation by our reporter also revealed that the action of the youths was not unconnected with allegations that some officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) have been pilfering the warehouse and secretly re-bagging and selling the palliatives.
Meanwhile, minister of State for FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has assured residents of the territory that palliative items in various stores across the territory are safe and secured, as security agents are being deployed to man strategic areas.
Ndoma-Egba’s House Burnt
Hoodlums also stormed the residence of Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba in Calabar, Cross River State, and looted properties in the premises brfore setting the house ablace.
Ndoma-Egba, a former leader of the Nigerian Senate, is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Sen Folarin, Lagos Lawmaker’s Residences Attacked, 300 Motorcycles, Certificates, Passports, Foodstuff Carted Away
Suspected hoodlums yesterday attacked the residence of the Senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Teslim Folarin, and carted away goods worth over N200 million, including 300 motorcycles.
It was gathered that the hoodlums gained entrance into the Oluyole Estate Residence of the Senator, a former Senate Leader in the 8th National Assembly in Ibadan, looting property worth N200 million.
Some of the items carted away were empowerment materials which included about 300 motorcycles, grounding machines and generators.
As of the time of filing this report, the lawmaker, who was said to be out of the country, was yet to react to the occurrence.
It was gathered that the operatives of the Oyo State Joint Security Task Force, Operation Burst, arrested seven people in connection with the invasion and carting away of empowerment materials worth N200 million in his residence.
The lawmaker’s elder brother, Mr Yinka Folarin, who spoke with journalists, confirmed the development, adding that the materials were meant for 11 local government areas that constitute Oyo Central Senatorial District.
He added that the empowerment programme was postponed due to the state of the nation and had been scheduled for November 6 before the unfortunate incident.
In the same vein, Lagos State House of Assembly Majority Leader, Sanai (SOB) Agunbiade, has said hoodlums invaded his home in Ikorodu and carted away his certificate, travel documents and food stuffs.
Agunbiade who represents Ikorodu Constituency 1 said he got intelligence of the planned attack, but thought it was a rumour, saying they were sponsored to assassinate him.
The lawyer turned lawmaker said when they arrived and didn’t find him, they stole his certificates, travel passports of his family, valuables as well as foodstuffs.
Sharing his experiences in a post on his Twitter handle @Sobagunbiade, Agunbiade said the attackers were not #EndSARS protesters.
Prior to the attack, messages had been circulating on social media that COVID-19 palliatives were being hoarded at a property at Igbogbo, Ikorodu, belonging to Team SOB, the lawmaker’s political group.
A similar message on Thursday led to the looting of a Lagos State government warehouse at Mazamaza where COVID-19 palliatives were stored.
Agunbiade said, “To God be the glory that the violent attack on my house on Friday, October 23, this year and the massive destruction of everything therein did not record any fatalities.
“I got intelligence reports of the plan to exterminate me early enough, but I took it as unfounded rumours. Moreso, I was not ready to have security operatives around lest lives be lost. I trusted in God’s plan for my life.
“But to those that masterminded and sponsored the carnage for nothing other than political vendetta, I say ‘thank you.’ We know ourselves in Ikorodu, but God reigns supreme. God will repay every hand involved in the attack in appropriate proportion.
“I am happy to be alive to witness the 2020 anniversary of my birthday on Sunday 25th October. The plan of detractors to delete me before my birthday has failed. To God be the glory.
“It is noteworthy that at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, I personally distributed palliatives to my constituents more than three times at my personal expense and recently, my team also shared palliatives to very indigent residents of Ikorodu”.
Oyetola Declares 24-hour Indefinite Curfew In Osun
Following the wanton looting of public and private properties in several parts of Osun State, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola yesterday declared a 24-hour indefinite curfew across the State.
Despite the suspension of protest by the #EndSARS, some youths and hoodlums engaged in massive looting of government and private property, including private business premises and homes in several parts of the state on Saturday.
Prominent among the looting point are Tuns Farm, Osogbo, Oriolowo farm, Iwo, Licentiate Foundation, Ilesa, Federal government Agriculture silo, Ilesa, Olorunda, Iwo, Ifelodun local government secretariat and numerous private warehouses.
The governor in a broadcast in Osogbo, the state capital said the decision to declare the curfew followed the, “wanton looting of government and private property, including private business premises and homes in several parts of the State.”
The Governor further said, “Government notes with huge disappointment, the abuse of the suspension, a day ago, of the 24-hour curfew earlier declared in the state to forestall the breakdown of law and order and protect the lives and property of citizens and residents.
“After an Emergency Security Meeting this afternoon, where the whole situation was reviewed and assessed, we came to the inevitable conclusion to declare a curfew. Consequently, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew across the whole State with immediate effect.
“My fellow citizens, the declaration of a 24-hour curfew, which will be indefinite until further notice is to prevent the current state of anarchy from degenerating into large-scale breakdown of law and order.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there shall be no vehicular (including Okada) or human movement during this period. Only those on essential duties will be permitted to move around. These persons too must carry with them proper identification to allow access.”
229 People Arrested Over Arson, Murder, Others In Lagos Protest
Meanwhile, about 229 people have been arrested in Lagos in connection with the mayhem that engulfed Lagos in the aftermath of #EndSARS protest.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the State Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, has gone round relevant Police formations with a team of prosecutors to evaluate files of those arrested by the police with a view to determine those that have prima facie cases made against them.
The Lagos State Government said it would be prosecuting the suspects who allegedly took advantage of the #EndSARS protest to destroy and loot public and private properties in different parts of the state.
Hoodlums hijacked the peaceful protest of youths against brutality by operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police personnel tagged #EndSARS to wreak havoc and disturb the peace in the state
A police source confirmed that total of 229 suspects were arrested by the Police for various criminal offences ranging from arson, murder, stealing, malicious damage of properties and assault before and after the statewide curfew imposed by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to restore law and order.
Adeyemi said after the evaluation exercise, those that have cases to answer would be arraigned before the Courts on Monday, while the release of those who have no case to answer would be ensured.
APC Caretaker Chairman, Buni, Sues For Peace
Chairman, Caretaker Committee, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala-Buni, yesterday appealed to #ENDSARS protesters to embrace peace and stop the protest in the interest of the country since their demands had been met.
Buni who made the plea in a statement issued in Damaturu said the party recognised the inalienable right of citizens to demand for change of any policy that trampled on their liberty and freedom, but such demand should be peaceful and within the ambit of the law.He said, “We acknowledge the peaceful commencement of the protest, until it became violent and disorderly as hoodlums regrettably seized the opportunity of the protest and virtually took over.
“It is imperative for the youths to extricate themselves from the activities of criminal elements who have taken over the protest and perpetrating violence, destruction of property and attacking innocent Nigerians”.
The APC chairman, on behalf of the party, also condoled with families of policemen and other Nigerians who lost their loved ones and property during the carnage, and prayed for God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
He said the party welcomed comprehensive reforms including the disbandment of SARS and the review of salaries of Nigerian police, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mala-Buni called on politicians to avoid using the protest to score political points.
He added: “Let us reflect and embrace peace; a time of national tragedy such as this should not be a time for playing politics, it is no time to dance to the gallery to score cheap points, it is a time for introspection and Nigeria first.
“Let us come together irrespective of our political religious and ethnic differences and rally around the government to build sanity and strengthen peace and unity to ensure corporate existence of our country.
“As a party we will take every step to support the government to bring this unwholesome situation to an immediate end and make sure that all those found culpable face the wrath of the law”.