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Police Reclaim Public Space As Ohaneeze Ndigbo Warns That The End SARS Protest Should Not Be Narrowed Down To An Igbo Affair

Mohammed Adamu: IGP And A Man Of Action

 By Elizabeth Chukwuma

Those who were  waiting on the wings to see that  the End SARS Protest which had erupted   across the country over the last three weeks degenerate in order  give  the gunrunners  room to sell  their  arms and ammunitions  had better watch it. This is because no  country  that had  ever been involved  in inter-tribal war  had survived it.

The roll call are many . From  the Central African country of  Central African Democratic Republic, CARD,  North African country of Libya,   West African countries  of Cote ‘Ivoire, Liberia, and  Sierra Leone, to the South African  countries   of   Rwnda and Somalia, the story is the same: loss of lives and mass destruction of public  and private  property . The situation in these African  countries may have been different from  the incident in Syria and Yemen, two Middle East  countries in the recent time.  

 The sponsors  of the hoodlums who   were said to have   hijacked the END SARS  protest may have had the back of their mind : to throw the country into anarchy and war. They may have resorted to plan B, of taking advantage of  the use of  live   bullets  and lethal weapons to shoot  at a crowd of over 1000  protesters  at the Lekki Toll Gate of Lagos state  in order  to force the aggrieved  Youths  from the southern part of the country to  carry arms to fight back but failed.   

 This may have informed why hey  resorted to setting  ablaze  public property and looting  of private businesses. In the guise of the END SARS  protest. One of such  pulic Assets that was   set ablaze by the hoodlums was the,  multi-billion naira Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Corporate office at Marina , Lagos.  Eyewitness account  disclosed that the  NPA Corporaate office  could have been raised down by the hoodlums who had besieged the office  in their hundred with galons of  petrol and lighter but for the quick intervention of security operatives  who  dispersed them  as  scores of  official and individual  vehicles parked in the premises were not spared. This may have been their plan B.

The hoodlums, according to  some  Concerned Nigerians, who  were said to have  petitioned  President Muhammadu Buhari,   were  sponsored by the  security operatives to divide  the ranks  of the  END SARS protesters.  It is not surprising why they  had   resorted to the  wanton  destruction  of    several  buildings belonging to the Lagos government,  BRT  Terminal at Onyingbo, in  Lagos Minland Local government, Oriental Hotel  in Admiralty  Way, Lekki and Leikki Toll Gate Electronic machines  for Toll collection  managed by Lekki Concession Company including the  Television Continental  TVC,, building, along Acme road, Ogba, all allegedly  belonging to Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tnubu, popular, Jagaban, and  a former governor of Lagos state. The hoodlums were said to have  also made away with the Staff of office of Rilwan  Babatunde  Aremu, the Oba of Lagos and the Chairman,  Lagos state Council of Chiefs as the Chief had made repeated appeals to those holding it to  return it to avoid unpleasant Consequences.

Nwodo: President Gneral, Ohaneze Ndigbo

The hoodlums were ssaid  to have extended the  wanton destruction  to  Ajeromi Ifelodun Local government Secretariat and  over 20  police stations in the south west Comercial nerve centre. Even the South African  Trading Company, Shorite Mall was touched  at Surulere area of the state.The Ikeja branch of the Shoprite Mall  could  have been looted but for police intervention.

The level of destruction of  public property , particular, police stations, in Lagos state, may  not have been  different from  the destruction   at Ilorin, Kwara state Capital, where  Abdurahman  Abdulrazaq, the state governor , had accused   some   perceived political  enemies  of sponsoring the angry Youths   in the state  to over throw his government .  In  Ibadan,Asaba, Owerri and Oyingbo, a Local government Area in Rivers state   the situation appear worrisome.    Teslim Folarin, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria, a south west Politician  had  said that  the items that were   carted away  at  his  Oluyole Estate Extension  In the Ancient city of Ibadan building,  by the hoodlums  in the guise of the END SARS protests were 350 motor cycles and 400 deep Freezers, generators, grinding machines , among others. Describing the protesters that came to his house as ‘’Coordinated hoodlums’’, he was thankful that ‘’no fatality was recorded’’.

There are indications that the  hoodlums  may have had their way because  Security Operatives, particular, the Policemen,withdrew services  on the roads  to protect their Barracks for fear of being burnt down by the Criminal elements  and miscreants.  The Pressure from the  International Community   over the Lekki Toll Gate  Killing of  protesters by armed soldiers may not have helped matters.

Interestingly , at the time that the nation is going through  pains, Nnamdi Kanu,  the leader of the defunct  Indigenous People Of Biafra, which had been accused  of being instrumental  to the wanton  destruction  of public property and looting of private businesses in  Lagos because of his inciting Statements and the  activities  of the END  SARS protesters .   But Nnia Nwodo,  President- General, the Ohaneze – Ndigbo,   would not take it.  Nwodo  would not want    the Ibo nation to be dragged  to war  with the Yoruba ethnic group or any other ethnic group, in the country.

Sanwo-Olu: Governor Of Lagos State

Given the  bad image that the END SARS  protest  had brought to the the country,   Mai Mala Buni, governor of the  north east state of  Yobe, who incidentally is the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress , APC,  Caretaker /Extraordinary  National Convention Committee,  was said to have  called  on Nigerians’ ‘’irrespective  of their political, religious and ethnic background  to embrace’’, to avoid the unrest in the country  from degenerating to anarchy.  

 Buni, the Yobe state governor , who could not hide his feelings, because of what is happening in Adamawa, Borno and his home state, Yobe,  had warned  those  beating the drum of war to retrace their steep as ‘’we have no other country other than Nigeria’’. He was said to have pleaded with  the  Youths to halt the END SARS protest  for the collective corporate interest of the nation.

 Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, may have taking a decisive step to halt the protest  as he was said to have  ordered  the  immediate mobilisation of  all police  operational Assets  and resources  to bring to an end  to the wanton  violence, killings , looting  and destruction of  public and private  property in the country.

He was said to have given the order to  the Assistant Inspector Generals, AIGs, Commissioners  of Police, , Heads of Police  of Operational Units and  the  Base Commanders  in –charge of  Zonal/state and Abuja, the FCT, Commands, the Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit and  Special Protection Unit, SPU. That much was confirmed by Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, and the Force , spokesperson.

The mandate given to the AIGs, CPs, Heads of Police Operational Units, PMF, SPU and the  Base Commanders of the  Commands ‘’to reclaim  the public space  from the miscreants and Criminal elements who had hijacked the END SARS  peaceful  protest  in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country may have informed why they launched out  forcing the hoodlums to go underground.

This is  evident going by the elative peace currently being enjoyed in the Lagos and some  other south west states, as they had  relaxed the 24-hour curfew in their respective states,  Take for instance, Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun state who, had earlier relaxed the curfew imposed on the state while Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his Counterpar tin Lago state,  had  relaxed the Curfew from 8 am to 6pm daily.

Only recently,  Rotimi Akeredolu ,  Seyi Makinde and Kayode Fayemi governors of Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti  states visited Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos satte governor,  to commiserate with him following  attacks  by the hoodlums who had hijacked  the END SARS protest  on various  private and state owned facilities  including the NPA Corporate office.  The south west ministers serving under the Katsina state born Nigerian President  Administration  including  Babtunde Fashola , a former governor of the state now minister of works and Housing were said  to have also called on the Lagos state governor to commiserate with him sources

Babatude Fashola: Minister of Works and Housing

The ministers visit to the Lagos governor, according to insiders had the backing of Buhari who was said to have directed   them ‘’to  carry out  an on the spot assessment   tour  on the damaged infrastructure  by the hoodlums who hijacked the END SARS  protest.

 The ministers  were said to have made a stop over at the NPA Corporate office and  the state DNA, Forensic centre that was set ablaze by the miscreants. The visit is expected to give the  Federal  government an  insight  on the level of Financial  assistance  to give to the state.

 The government may have agreed to support the  state, because , as the nation’s Commercial nerve  centre and former capital of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Note that Abdurazaq, governor of Kwara state , had  set up  a N500 million Fund to support those whose businesses were looted by the hoodlums.

 ASanwo-Olu,. Ifeanyi Okowa,  and  and  Makinde, governors of Lagos, Delta and  Oyo states, respectively, could do same  instead of waiting fo a bail out from the FG, which may take time to come.

Stephen Ubanna

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