The top echelon of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Sunday ordered their officers and men to go after hoodlums that are looting private and government establishments under the guise of #EndSARS protests. Police commands in some states such as Akwa Ibom, Osun, Plateau, Kano and Anambra have stepped up efforts to arrest suspected looters.
At the last count before publishing this report, about 483 suspected looters have been arrested in the affected states like Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Osun, Anambra, Kano and Plateau States. Peaceful protests by youths calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force turned violent on Tuesday when soldiers shot peaceful protesters in Lekki, Lagos.
Policemen and thugs also attacked protesters across the country. Police stations, government buildings and vehicles have been vandalised by thugs. On Friday, the President Muhammadu Buhari said no fewer than 69 people died in the protests. Following that incident, looters, have been attacking stores, where COVID-19 palliatives were kept, as well as residents of politicians in Oyo, Plateau and Akwa Ibom States.
In Kano State the police said they had begun clampdown on the looters where no fewer than 40 persons have been arrested in connection with the looting at the Sabon Gari area of the Fagge Local Government Area of Kano State on Tuesday. The Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, Abdullahi Haruna, disclosed this in an interview on Sunday. He said the looters were apprehended in various parts of Sabon Gari with the exhibits (looted goods), which were with the police.
“Over 40 suspects were arrested, and they were apprehended with the exhibits (the goods they stole from their victims). Recall that some miscreants, who hijacked the #EndSARS protests, looted the multi-million-naira Galaxy Mall at Sabon Gari, Kano on Tuesday. In Akwa Ibom State, the Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, said that the command had arrested 10 suspected looters and recovered stolen goods estimated at several millions of naira, following Thursday’s looting of private and government establishments in the state.
Speaking to one of our correspondents on Sunday, through the command’s Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, the police commissioner said, “Officers have been mobilised to every nook and cranny of the state” to fish out the looters.
Also, the Osun State Police Command on Sunday said over 80 suspects had been arrested across the state in connection with the attack and looting of government and many privately-owned establishments in the state. The spokesperson for the command, Yemisi Opalola, in a chat said that the police had also recovered some of the items looted in some parts of the state on Saturday. Opalola also said the command had already sent its men after perpetrators of the looting and urged those in custody of the looted items to return them.
“If they fail to do so, we will fish them out. Already, over 80 people are in our custody in connection with the crime. We have also recovered some of the looted items,” Opalola said. Earlier on Sunday, no fewer than 30 suspects, who were arrested in connection with the looting of government and some privately owned property in some parts of the state on Saturday, were paraded. Some of the suspects were apprehended by youth volunteers in the Ogo Oluwa area of Osogbo after government had imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state to stem the rising violence.
Showing the suspects to journalists on Sunday in Osogbo, the Special Adviser to Osun State Governor on Security, Abiodun Ige, warned that the government would not condone any act of lawlessness. She said, “The government condemns looting and destruction of property by hoodlums in some parts of the state. These suspects would be handed over to the police.”
Some hoodlums arrested by Operation Safe Haven for allegedly looting government properties in Jos, Plateau State. A total of 118 suspected looters have been arrested in Jos, Plateau State. The suspects, it was gathered, were arrested by soldiers of Operation Safe Haven. It was further learnt that the suspects were arrested in different parts of the state for looting government warehouses and property belonging to individuals despite the curfew imposed by government.
Commander of the Operation Safe Haven, Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, who paraded the suspects at the command’s headquarters in Jos on Sunday, said the suspects were arrested with items which they looted at the warehouses of the Plateau State Agricultural Development Agency and other places. He said “The suspects arrested include 105 males and 13 females. They destroyed the PADP warehouse and were arrested at Dogon Dutse around Angwan Rukuba. Some of them were also arrested at West of Mines as well as Dogon large at Customs warehouse”.
According to the commander, items recovered from the suspects include fertilisers, pumping machines, agro-chemicals, generators, trailer tubes and farming items. On his part, the Police Public Relations Officer in Anambra State, Haruna Mohammed, said six persons had been arrested in the state for looting. “Six suspects have been arrested in connection with the recent attacks and effort is being intensified to arrest other fleeing perpetrators in order to bring them to book.” On Saturday, hoodlums looted a store where materials meant for flood victims were kept in Awka, the state capital.
In the Federal Capital Territory, the police on Sunday deployed a helicopter for aerial surveillance following the looting of warehouses in Abuja. On Sunday, hoodlums looted warehouses at Idu Industrial Estate, Jabi, Abuja. A few hours after the incident, a chopper was seen flying over the location and the surrounding areas while additional police men were deployed to ward off the invaders who were undeterred by the volleys of tear gas canisters released by security forces.
This happened 24 hours after suspected hoodlums were prevented from raiding a warehouse where COVID-19 palliatives were kept at Area 10, Garki. Armed policemen on guard duty at the Garki warehouse fired gunshots into the air and chased away the youth.