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.
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.
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
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.