By Our Correspondents
Fresh facts have emerged from different parts of the country that an unquantifiable amount of money and assets running into trillions of Naira have been lost across the states to the protracted #EndSARS protest that rocked different parts of the country.
LEADERSHIP checks showed that the massive destruction of public and privately owned assets, unbridled looting of corporate organizations and individuals witnessed across the country has dragged the affected state governments backwards in terms of development.
This is even as hoodlums looted three warehouses in Abuja and in several states.
In Lagos State, the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday revealed that the reconstruction of Lagos State turned into a war zone in the wake of the #EndSARS protest would gulp a whooping N1trillion.
The Speaker spoke when he led a delegation of lawmakers from the House of Representatives along with South West governors and ministers from the region to pay a solidarity visit to Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu, over the deaths and wanton destruction of properties during #EndSARS protests in the state.
Noting that the mystery behind Lagos arsons must be unraveled, Gbajabiamila said, ‘’The governor was just telling me now that it is going to take about a trillion Naira to rebuild Lagos. That makes my heart heavy, and I asked the governor how much is the year’s budget, and he said, it is about a trillion naira. That will cover salary, overheads, capital, growth, development, and now you are forced to look for a trillion naira to rebuild and compensate. You can see we are going backward in reverse. We must always think of consequences for unforeseen and intended and unintended actions. I encourage the young people to let us sit at the table.’’
The Southwest governors led by its chairman, Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, as well as the ministers who embarked on inspection tours of the devastating incidents at various scenes, commiserated with those that loss their lives and properties in the coordinated arsons on public assets and private properties.
Speaking on behalf of the governors, Akeredolu appealed to the youths to suspend the protests, saying the Igbos should disregard the threat to vacate Lagos.
He said, “The governors of the South West States of Nigeria wish to solidarise with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu, on the unfortunate occurrences of the past few days in Lagos State, which have impacted, negatively, on the whole Region. It is disquieting, to assert the least, that a protest widely acclaimed as peaceful and purpose-driven has been hijacked by some people, ostensibly to execute a destructive design.
“You will recall that the Inspector General of Police issued an order disbanding the special unit formerly known as Special Anti-Robbery Unit (SARS) in the wake of the protests across the country. It is also on record that the president and state governors responded positively to the demands of the agitators. A decision was reached at the National Economic Council meeting held on the 16m October, 2020, that all States should set up a judicial panel of inquiry over violation of people’s rights and Incidence of police brutality. This has been complied with.
“Recent development leaves us with no other option than to believe that there may have been other reasons for the continued protests, well -coordinated and funded. The spread of fake news and videos, which followed an allegation of shooting by some soldiers with heavy casualty figures at the Lekki Toll Gate, Victoria Island, Lagos, is primarily the purpose of our visit.
“We commiserate with the families of victims of violence across Lagos State and slain Policemen. We pray that the Almighty grant them the fortitude to bear these avoidable losses. We also note, with much pain and sadness, the vast and spreading destruction of property belonging to notable individuals and vestiges of our collective patrimony and pride.
‘’We commiserate with His Royal Majesty, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, on the sacrilege committed at his palace and condemn in no unmistakable terms the vile attack on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and destruction of businesses where it is believed he has interest, TVC, THE NATION.
“We are deeply concerned about the facilities and people’s investments that have been burnt. We are worried that despite the unfortunate incident in Lekki, there is no definitive statement from the military.
“We want to insist on full investigation to ascertain on what actually occurred. The conflagration has been deployed by deliberate mass destruction.
“The damage done to the oldest court in the country is horrendous and other places”.
He urged youths to desist from arson, saying “government properties cease to be government-owned once they are within your domains.”
He urged the Igbos who reside in Lagos to disregard a viral video asking them to vacate Lagos, saying “the video should be totally disregarded.”
“We appeal to our youths to suspend #EndSARS protests, you should remain calm. We will attend to all your demands in due time.”
Also speaking on behalf of the federal government, Fashola said, “Our presence here is not accidental, it’s deliberate.
“Words are not enough to describe the extent of the damage we have seen but we are sure all will be well.”
He added that all the ministers who came down to Lagos were the South West ministers, saying “we sympathize with the government of the State.
“I condole with families of those who have lost their lives and those lost properties,” he said.
In the same vein, over N1billion is said to have been lost to the #EndSARS protests in Akwa Ibom State.
LEADERSHIP reports that residents of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital ,are daily terrified by the sudden breakdown of law followed by massive looting of business places and destruction of properties by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protest.
The places vandalized included De Choice shopping Mall, cold stone eatery, LG Showroom, 2 branches of Access Bank, Akwa Ibom state Broadcasting Corporation Office, AKISIEC office, Anchor Insurance building and several others.
“The real cost of properties and items lost during the mayhem was staggering,” said Ini Ememobong the state commissioner for information and strategy.
Comrade Ini Ememobong who undertook inspection of properties vandalized by the hoodlums said everything was under control.
He frowned at the destruction of personal and government properties stating that the destruction does not portend peaceful demonstration but an act of criminality against democracy and humanity and will be treated as such.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP Mr Mike Bassey, human resources manager of De-Choice shopping mall, currently the largest in the state located close to Ibom plaza city centre in Uyo said the company lost goods and items worth over N60million.
Others such as Cold Stone eatery, N40million LG Showroom, situated along Ikot Ekpene road estimated their losses to be about N150million.
Also in Ekiti State, though there was no major destruction of public and private properties during the #EndSARS crisis, three trucks whose owners could not be traced or identified were burnt last week in Adebayo area of Ado Ekiti, the state capital and the goods they were conveying looted.
A police station was attacked and about four vehicles parked within the premises were vandalized.
The cost or monetary values of all of these could not be ascertained as efforts to get the owners or the affected persons to speak was not successful.
In Imo State the End SARS protest embarked upon by Youths across the country which later snowballed into violence led to destruction of lives and property in Imo state.
The state has put machinery in place to assess losses occasioned by the hijack of the protest by hoodlums who embarked on destruction of lives and property.
Imo State, noted for its peaceful disposition, was not spared as a police station and two council headquarters were set ablaze by the hoodlums, thereby destroying property worth millions of naira.
Consequently, the state government has started taking stock of the property and lives lost in the ugly incident.
In Abuja, the chairman of Apo Traders Association, Mr. John Chimeze Ife, disclosed that members of the association lost over N1billion during the last EndSARS protests that turned violent in the area.
Ife, who spoke to LEADERSHIP in a telephone interview in Abuja yesterday noted that the over 20 vehicles burnt at Kabusa Junction were valued at about N20million, other personal properties such as shops and other belongings destroyed in the area not inclusive.
He pointed out that most of the destroyed cars, which were direct Belgium products, belonged to people, who brought them to mechanic workshops for repairs and other services.
The chairman of the traders association added that there were also more destruction of cars and properties at Jesus Avenue, where about six bullet-proof cars, which were displayed for sale at the car marts, were also burnt down during the protest.
“These are new bullet-proof cars displayed for sale at the car mart at Jesus Avenue. They were burnt to ashes and if you add this to the other destruction at Kabusa Junction, we are talking about N1 billion lost to this protest.”
Also, the owner of a car stand in Dutse Police Signboard, AMKOL Motors, which was vandalized by the protesters last Tuesday, Mr Aminu Basiru Kolawole, said that over 18 cars were damaged by the protesters.
In Osun State, the government said it was waiting for officials from Abuja to “commission” the goods, hence the delay in distributing them while in Lagos, the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, SOB Agunbiade, said he kept the palliatives in his Ikorodu home because he wanted to distribute them on his birthday.
Looting Of Warehouses Hits FCT
Meanwhile, hoodlums yesterday raided the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) silos located at Gwagwa-Tasha in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), carting various items such bags of grains, sewing machines, mattresses, cartons of milk and tin tomatoes, including other items.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the silos, which is maintained by the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) of the administration is used for storage of agricultural products for sales to farmers, at subsidized rates, especially during the planting seasons.
The hoodlums who invaded the facility removed almost all the agricultural products in the store, even as security agencies, who rushed to the area, could not help the situation.
But calm returned only when another detachment of security personnel, including the army and police, were drafted to the area and dispersed the looters with teargas canisters and gunshots.
As at the time of filing this report, no arrest had been made, but every attempt to speak with the head of media ARDS, Zakari Aliyu, to confirm the development failed, as he did not pick his calls.
The hoodlums also invaded some warehouses in Idu Industrial Layout and looted some items, including mattresses, bags of rice, cereals and textiles materials.
Our reporter gathered that most of the warehouses in the industrial layout are privately owned, but one of the facilities was initially used as storage for COVID-19 palliatives.
But the warehouses that were looted belong to companies owned by private individuals as the one owned by the government was said to be largely empty of stocks.
While the police fired gunshots and tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd, many of them stood their ground and bolted with several items, including mattresses, bags of rice, cereals and textiles materials.
Many of those who took part in the looting went with motorcycles,
tricycles and a few with vehicles as they were seen conveying their loot through the area towards Gwagwa and Jiwa axis.
As of the time of filing this report, many offices in the area had
shut down, while there are fears that the crowd could go after several other private warehouses in the area which play host to many factories, with warehouses for storage.
7 Die In Taraba, Adamawa Warehouse Stampede
Six persons have been confirmed dead due to stampede as angry residents looted various warehouses in Jalingo, Taraba State capital.
The identity of the deceased was yet to be confirmed at the time of filing this report.
The incident happened on Saturday evening when angry residents first looted the warehouse at Veterinary Clinic opposite Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) secretariat.
The warehouse contained palliatives donated by Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID), North East Development Commission (NEDC), and palliatives support for flood victims by Victims Support Funds (VSF).
Items in the warehouse are maize, soya beans, indomie noodles, spaghetti, Macaroni, fertilizer house grains, bag of rice and some warehouse contains tricycle (Keke) generators, grinding machines
The Sabon Garin warehouses opposite Muslim Council Area, Yaggai New Market, TSTC among other private stores where food items are stored were also raided by the angry residents.
Security personnel who arrived at the scene earlier watched helplessly as they could not control the crowd who carted away items in the warehouse.
The residents said they took the action in line with the current trend in the country, while blaming the government officials for hoarding food items, despite glaring hunger in the state.
“We are taking what belongs to us, the politicians are wicked people for keeping the items when people are hungry”, one of the angry residents said.
In Adamawa State, government-owned central store was invaded by hoodlums who looted properties in it.
The store located along Mohammed Mustspha way, close to the bank of river Benue brings to two the number of stores burgled in the state.
Residents of NEPA, Limawa, Anguwan Tana were seen carrying looted bags of rice, indomie noodles, Maggi cubes and other cooking condiments from the store as a handful of security at the scene stood and watched.
The incident led to scarcity of KEKE-NAPEP riders plying major roads in the metropolitan city of jimeta and Yola town.
Earlier, youths believed to be hoodlums in their large numbers broke into federal government food storage silo at Kwanarwaya and carted away grains in Adamawa state.
The looting took place at a time when Christian faithful were attending church service.
The storage facility is located near Sangere, along Numan road in the state.
Sulaiman Nguroje, a Deputy Superintendent of Police who is the state Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), confirmed the incident.
Nguroje said police personnel had been drafted to scene of the incident.
Our Assets In Calabar Have Been Vandalized – UN
The United Nations yesterday said its assets in Calabar, the Cross River capital, had been vandalised.
Edward Kallon, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, announced the development via Twitter.
He shared photos showing a mob destroying UN vehicles and invading the global agency’s facility in Calabar.
The organisation condemned the attack, saying the vandals seek to discredit the peaceful protests to end police brutality.
Kallon called on the youth to engage in dialogue with the government in achieving their demands rather than perpetuating violence.
“The United Nations in Nigeria strongly condemns attacks on its assets in Calabar by vandals who were out to discredit the peaceful protests to end police brutality. I call on youths to exercise restraints and engage in dialogue with the Government on their legitimate demands,” he tweeted.
In the past few days, there have been multiple attacks on public
infrastructure by mobs in the state.
Buildings have been set ablaze, warehouses looted and vehicles vandalised.
Looted Drugs, Grains Unsafe To Consume, Kaduna Govt Warns Residents
Kaduna State government yesterday warned residents of the state against consuming items looted from warehouses in the state, saying they include expired, prohibited and dangerous drugs.
It said the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has updated the state government about the items looted yesterday from their warehouse in the Narayi area of Chikun council area.
A statement issued by Samuel Aruwan, the stateommissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, noted: “Persons who consume such drugs are at great risk of serious illness and death.
“The management of a food processing company whose stores were looted in Kakuri also disclosed that the stolen grains have been treated with chemical preservatives which render them unsafe for consumption”.
The statement further reads: “Residents of Kaduna State are hereby notified to be vigilant and careful about the source of the food and medications they take and where they buy them, to avoid these dangers.
“The Kaduna State Government appeals to the public for information on the identities of the looters and where they might be hiding the stolen items.
109 Suspects Arrested In Plateau
Operatives of Operation Safe Haven deployed to restore law and order in Plateau, Bauchi and some parts of Southern Kaduna yesterday swung into action and arrested 109 persons suspected to have participated in the invasion of a warehouse in the Plateau State Agricultural Development Programme (PADP) and some other area in the state capital in the early house of Sunday.
The angry youths yesterday in Jos the Plateau state capital were said to have defied the reinstatement of the 24-hour curfew imposed on two Plateau local government councils by Governor Simon Lalong at the weekend.
As they gathered in front of Federal Secretariat insisting on bringing it down in search of food, they were quickly dispersed by security operatives.
The suspects defied the 24-hour curfew imposed on Saturday and went to break the warehouse located at the Dogon Dutse area of Jos North local government area of the state.
Major Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo who paraded the suspects at the headquarters of the command in Jos said the suspects were arrested with items looted from the PADP warehouse.
According to the commander, the suspects destroyed the warehouse and stole fertilizers, chemicals generators, and other farming items.
Attempted Looting Foiled In Niger, Bauchi
In Niger State, attempt by some youths to gain entrance into the state’s supply company along old Airport Road where palliative materials were kept was foiled yesterday.
Niger state government had started distribution of the palliative about a month ago to the 25 local government areas of the state but still had some food stuff stored in the warehouse of the state-owned Supply Company.
The youth had besieged the supply company at about 11am in the morning before the combined team of mobile police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp promptly arrived to stop them from gaining access into the large warehouse.
The commissioner for Information and Strategy of the state Hon Muhammad Sani Idris has urged the youth to maintain peace as they have been since the #EndSARS protest started
In a statement yesterday, he appealed to the teeming youths in the state not to succumb to undue pressure from some disgruntled elements in the society to disrupt the existing peace in the state.
He urged the youths to be guided by the prevailing insecurity in some part of the state and the urgent need to effectively tackle the menace of which the state government was not relenting.
“The unnecessary underground mobilisation of the youths is completely incompatible with the position of the youths in the state”, he stated.
PMB Condemns Massive Looting Of Public, Private Properties
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday condemned the massive looting and destruction of public and private properties in the country, saying the act will hurt trade and investment growth in the country.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, noted that Buhari advised that peace, brotherhood, and inter communal harmony are central to the country’s ethos, even as he urged Nigerians “not to turn against one another in hate.”
Buhari urged families to turn back children with unaccounted goods, adding that wives should also ask their husbands to return looted items brought home.
Shehu noted in a statement: “While the administration has, for its part, blocked so many means of looting public money in a war against corruption, it is the expectation that all civil authorities, community and religious leaders in the country must rise against the organized looting and plunder we are witnessing in parts of the country.
“Families must turn back children who bring home unaccounted goods, in the same way wives must ask their husbands to return looted items brought home.
“What is more, is that criminal actions as we have so far witnessed can weaken and erode the confidence of our people and that of foreign businesses in investing in the economy. Looting and vandalism will hurt trade and investment growth in our country, both large and small industries, as well as our hardworking people in the informal sectors of the economy”.
The president also expressed his full support and optimism that it will assist the nation to give justice to peaceful protesters who lost their lives, security men who were murdered and property owners whose assets were vandalized and looted.
Buhari who said he had all along avoided going into a debate about the Lekki Toll Gate incidents until all the facts are established, appealed to the people all over the country to maintain peace and brotherhood as the machinery of the government and the wheel of justice turn against the perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property.
He said it was important that the police and other security agencies move everywhere to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.
President Buhari said while his administration was working hard through many pragmatic ways to reduce the hardship of the millions of unemployed, poor citizens and those whose lives had been thrown into disarray by the harsh economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the resort to widespread attacks and the organized looting and plundering of public and private property in many states are inimical to public good and stand condemned.
Shehu continued: “A government that has launched a massive crackdown on corruption, brought in strong laws for a decisive battle against corruption, pursues loot recovery at home and abroad, and taken strong decisions against those who thought they were above the law, will not fold its arms when an otherwise legitimate and peaceful protest is turning into free-for-all vandalism and looting.
“These incidents do not reflect well on any society. They are wrong and condemnable and should not be supported by reasonable members of the society.
“In line with this, President Buhari commends the decision of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice to prosecute 229 suspects arrested by the police for allegedly using the #EndSARS protest to destroy and loot public and private property.
“As mentioned in two successive statements on the issues, the President and his administration have taken note of the grievances of the people. “We have heard you loud and clear,” he said, and has shown a clear determination to take all necessary measures to address the complaints. The violence must stop.
“President Buhari also condemned hate messages and eviction notices to ethnic and religious groups asking Nigerians to take pride in the fact that our diverse people have been living with one another in harmony for ages. The right of all citizens to live and work in any part of the country is a constitutional right and will be defended by the government”.
It’s Now Evident My Dad Is Not Nigeria’s problem – Zahra Buhari’s
Meanwhile, as Nigerians raid warehouses in search of warehouses in search of palliatives, the daughter of the president, Zahra Buhari-Indimi, has said the discovery of food items and other COVID-19 palliatives in several warehouses across the country is evidence that her father was not the country’s problem.
Zahra who stated this on her Instagram Stories yesterday wrote: “Now that people confirmed that Buhari distributed enough palliatives nationwide, it is clear Buhari is not our problem.”