Hoodlums on rampage in Lagos, other states, burn houses, vehicles, court

    …attack Oba of Lagos palace, steal staff of office

   …OPC considers joining protesters against security agents

Despite the curfew imposed by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to douse tension, the state, on Wednesday, witnessed an orgy of violence, including killings and arson.

Deaths were recorded in the Orile, Ketu, Mushin and Ikorodu areas of the state, where fights broke out.

Angered by the developments, hoodlums attacked and set ablaze many public and private institutions, including Television Continental; The Nation Newspapers; the Nigerian Ports Authority office in Marina; local government secretariats in Apapa-Iganmu and Ibeju-Lekki; the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Riliwan Akiolu; the state command headquarters of the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Vehicle Inspection Service as well as banks, police stations and malls.

Thugs had stormed the Iga Idugaran palace of the monarch, vandalised vehicles and stole several artefacts.

In a video, which has gone viral on the Internet, the thugs were seen making away with the staff of office or ‘Opa Ase’ of the king.

A resident of Lagos Island disclosed that the thugs, who invaded the palace, were the same ones who set the family home of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu ablaze.

He said, “When the thugs went to attack Sanwo-Olu father’s home, some of them were shot by the police. This infuriated them and they were able to engage the police in a gun duel and overpowered them. The policemen, who are attached to the Adeniji Adele Police Station, quickly made a retreat.

“The angry youths made their way to the palace of the Oba of Lagos. They claimed that the king was part of the government. The thugs have only been attacking government institutions.”

Akiolu’s personal assistant, Deoye Olumegbon, confirmed the development and said the monarch was safe, adding that no one was killed.

It was gathered that soldiers came to the rescue of the monarch and ferried him to a safe location.

In the Oyingbo and Berger areas of the state, terminals and vehicles belonging to the Lagos Bus Services Limited were set ablaze by hoodlums.

Condemning the development, the spokesperson for the LBSL at the Berger station, Olawale Afolabi, said more than 20 buses were burnt to ashes.

“More than 20 buses were burnt to ashes at Berger, which is an LBSL station. I am shocked, I urge the people responsible for this to be calm,” Afolabi said.

In another development, hoodlums attacked the Oriental Hotel and The Palms shopping mall on the Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue and the Lekki-Epe Expressway on the Victoria Island and Oniru areas of the state, respectively.

An eyewitness, Bosun Akogun, said after the hoodlums looted the Circle Mall at Jakande, they set it ablaze, adding that members of staff and store owners on the premises ran away during the attack.

He said, “Hoodlums looted and set ablaze the Shoprite’s Circle Mall at Jakande before Ajah. They looted the place and I have pictures. As I speak with you, hoodlums are also attacking the Novare Mall at Sangotedo. At first, the police repelled the attacks on Novare Mall, but the hoodlums found another way to enter the premises.”

At Oriental Hotel, it was gathered that the hoodlums forcefully gained entry onto the premises and assaulted the security guards.

Reacting to the incident, the Executive Director, Corporate Affairs, Wempco Group, Taiwo Alli, in a statement, condemned the attack and refuted the claim that the hotel was owned by politicians.

Meanwhile, scores of youths made their way into the Igbosere High Court, Lagos Island, on Wednesday, and stole computers, printers, files, fans, air conditioners and other items.

A viral video showed one of the thugs dressed in a judge’s gown and wig, wielding a machete.

After looting the temple of justice, the rioters set it on fire before fleeing.

A lawyer, Yinka Aileru, explained to PUNCH Metro that the loss of documents might not directly affect cases because the Lagos State judiciary had introduced e-filing.

“In Lagos State, they introduced the concept of e-filing; so, all processes are also submitted in soft copies. There is a section where soft copies are scanned. However, I don’t know if the server has been affected,” he said.

In another development, the Nigerian Ports Authority’s headquarters in Marina, Lagos, was also attacked by hoodlums and set on fire.

It was gathered that the hoodlums suddenly invaded the premises, chased out the workers and set the building ablaze.

It was learnt that vehicles parked on the premises were also set ablaze as members of staff found escape routes.

The General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA, Jatto Adams, confirmed the arson but said no one was killed during the attack

“We are still assessing the situation; I will give you a breakdown as soon as I brief my principals,” he said.

In another development, some media houses, including Television Continental, The Nation Newspapers and the Nigerian Television Authority were also attacked by hoodlums.

Footage showing the head office of TVC in the Ikosi area of the state in flames surfaced online.

One of the station’s on-air personality, Morayo Afolabi-Brown, said in an Instagram Live video, that hoodlums attacked the facility, adding that they had to stop the live show to flee for safety.

She said, “We were told that hoodlums had entered TVC; they entered the studio, so we had to cut off our show; we couldn’t continue the show; we are going off and are trying to get safe. The hoodlums have started attacking us. Tope and I are here live in the studio and we’ve locked ourselves in the studio. We had three trucks of police earlier but they ran away. We need the police to rescue us here.”

Similarly, the head office of The Nation Newspapers at Matori, in the Mushin area of the state, was also attacked by hoodlums around 4pm.

A video of the incident posted online also showed a car on the premises being set ablaze by the attackers.

The Editor of The Nation, Adeniyi Adesina, confirmed the attack in a statement, adding that armed men on motorcycles invaded the headquarters of the organisation.

The statement read in part, “In a commando-like manner, they kicked their way onto the premises after scaring away the security men on duty, brandishing their sophisticated guns. They poured petrol on the frontage of the building and set fire to it. Some of the vehicles parked on the premises were also set ablaze.

“Hundreds of boys who followed the men on motorbikes swooped on the office and looted everything they could lay their hands on. These include desktop computers, laptops, air conditioners and other office equipment.

“At the time of the attack, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, Mr Victor Ifijeh, was among those trapped in the office, while the fire raged on. They were evacuated when men of the Operation Mesa security outfit arrived. Their arrival ended the free rein of the invaders.

“It was obviously a targeted attack on the free press.”

In another development, offices of the Federal Road Safety Corps and Vehicle Inspection Service in the Ojodu area of state were set ablaze by suspected hoodlums.

According to accounts gathered from eyewitnesses, many vehicles parked on the premises were burnt.

An official of the state command of the FRSC, Olabisi Sonusi, confirmed the development.

Fear has gripped some residents of Oyo State following the stealing of guns from the Ojoo Police Station, Ibadan, by hoodlums who razed it down completely on Tuesday.

The police station was set ablaze as the #EndSARS protest was hijacked by hoodlums.

There were fears that the police station was razed by the hoodlums so that they would have the opportunity of stealing the guns there.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Nwachukwu Enwonwu, in a statement issued by the Police Public Relations Officer for the command, Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi, said the hoodlums set the station on fire and made away with AK-47 rifles from the armoury.

The CP also said two policemen were killed, while two others were missing after the attack.

Hoodlums set ablaze the secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party located in the Alagbaka area of Akure, Ondo State, on Wednesday.

It was gathered that many items in the secretariat were destroyed by the hoodlums.

The incident happened few hours after the secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress was torched by the hoodlums

The Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kennedy Peretei, confirmed the incident, adding that the vehicle of one of the policemen on duty at the secretariat as well as a Coaster bus were also burnt.

The state secretariat of the APC in Akure was also burnt down by hoodlums, while some vehicles were also razed at a branch of the FCMB in Ondo town.

Similarly, hoodlums burnt down the office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad along Oda Road in Akure and vandalised property on the premises.

The Deji of Akureland, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, appealed to the youth not to engage in wanton destruction of property while pressing home their demands.

In statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Michael Adeyeye, Oba Aladelusi also condemned the killings of innocent and harmless youths in Lekki, Lagos, and other parts of the country.

There was tension in Enugu metropolis on Wednesday following unconfirmed reports of the killing of two #EndSARS protesters at the Otigba junction and the Institute of Management Technology along the Enugu-Abakaliki Road.

Sources, who spoke to one of our correspondents, said policemen and soldiers on joint patrol attacked the protesters and allegedly killed two of them.

“The police and soldiers engaged the protesters, shooting directly into the crowd. Immediately they opened fire on the protesters, there was commotion and people ran for cover. A few minutes later, I saw people lying on the main road lifeless,” one of the sources said.

The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdurrahman, could not confirm incident as he neither picked his calls nor replied to text message sent to his mobile phone.

It was gathered that the protest against police brutality took a different dimension on Wednesday when suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra joined the protesters and grounded activities in the state capital.

Hoodlums in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, on Wednesday, set the Aba Town housing the secretariat of the Aba South Local Government Area ablaze.

The hoodlums also burnt down the office of the Abia State Fire Service in Aba.

However, human and vehicular movement was brought to a standstill in Umuahia, the state capital, following the 24-hour curfew imposed by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to check attacks by hoodlums under the guise of the #EndSARS protests.

Riot policemen also barricaded strategic locations, including Aba, Bende, Umuwaya, Azikiwe, Ojike and Bank roads, among others.

The patrol teams of the Nigerian Army and the police were also moving around the city.

Three persons, including two policemen, were killed as angry youths set fire on two police stations in Oyigbo, Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Wednesday.

The Oyigbo Area Command and the Afam Police Station were set on fire by hoodlums, who hijacked the #EndSARS protest in the state.

Also, a hospital in the area was set ablaze following the alleged refusal of its staff to treat a gunshot victim, who eventually died.

It was not clear if the attacks on the police stations and the hospital were carried out by youths calling for an end to police brutality, but some residents said they were protesters.

An eyewitness told one of our correspondents that the assailants came from a neighbouring state and headed straight to the police stations in a commando style.

He said the assailants, numbering over 100 and who disguised as protesters, first set ablaze the police armoured personnel carrier stationed at the entrance of the station before burning the entire building.

Over 16 vehicles, including police operational vans and impounded cars, were also consumed by the inferno, with some being burnt beyond recognition.

A policeman believed to be the driver of the armoured personnel carrier lost his life as bullet wounds riddled his body, while another policeman, who was killed by the rampaging youths, had his hand chopped off.

Though there were efforts by policemen from the Oyigbo Police Station to repel the attack, but they ran away when the situation escalated and the youth regrouped and proceeded to the Afam Police Station and also set it on fire.

The spokesman for the state police command, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the attack on the stations.

“I can confirm to you that the Oyigbo Police Station was burnt. I also heard that the Afam Police Station was burnt. We don’t know the group responsible for the arson yet, but investigation is ongoing,” Omoni stated.

Pro-and anti-#EndSARS protesters clashed at the Effio-Ete roundabout in Calabar, Cross River, on Wednesday.

The SARS supporters had gathered at the Millennium Park before some of them went to Effio-Ete to disrupt the protest by those against the special police unit.

It was gathered that the #EndSARS protesters had converged on the roundabout when some persons tried to disrupt the protest.

The #EndSARS protesters overpowered the intruders, beat them up and they fled.

The #EndSARS protesters later moved through the MCC Road to the Mobil filling station, where they converged.

They disrupted vehicular movement for several hours.

Meanwhile, the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has said the continuous shooting of peaceful protesters will worsen the crisis in the country.

The Coordinator of the OPC in Oyo State, Mr Rotimi Olumo, who said this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Ibadan on Tuesday, said the group might begin to fight for the protesters if soldiers and police continued to attack them.

Olumo said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), should address the nation, adding that keeping mute despite the protest by Nigerians, who put him in office, was a sign of insensitivity. – Punch.

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