In an ironic twist, Lekki Tollgate, the epicenter of the #EndSARS protest in Lagos, turned out to be a theatre of shootings and death, as uniformed men allegedly opened fire on protesters last night. This was around 7:00 pm.
Unconfirmed reports said, at least, seven persons were killed in the attack.
Some of the protesters had earlier in the day raised alarm on Twitter that the floodlights in the area had been disconnected, preparatory for the operation.
A source told Vanguard that power was disconnected in the area to prevent the Close Circuit Television, CCTV, from recording the attack.
Vanguard gathered that as soon as dusk set in, the uniformed men stormed the area, and opened fire on the protesters, setting off pandemonium.
Consequently, protesters scampered in different directions for safety, with many sustaining life-threatening injuries.
It was learned that one of those who died in the attack was the Disc Jockey (DJ) who had been entertaining the protesters since the protest began about two weeks ago.
A source told Vanguard last night that an ambulance heading to the scene to evacuate the victims to the hospitals was turned back by the uniformed men.
Blood-stained Nigerian flags littered the area by the time the shootings ended last night. Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Imo, Osun, and Plateau state governments yesterday declared 24 hours curfew, as hoodlums hijacked the #EndSARS protest which degenerated into chaos across the country.
Edo State had earlier on Monday declared the 24-hour curfew after hoodlums invaded two prisons in Benin, setting free 1,993 prisoners.
This came as no fewer than 13 persons were killed yesterday in Lagos, Abuja, and Ibadan, as hoodlums intensified their attacks on #EndSARS protesters, even as four police stations were razed in Lagos.
Of this figure, four were killed in Lagos, including two policemen; two in Ibadan; and seven in Abuja.
Several others also sustained injuries in these attacks and separate attacks in Jos and Lafia in Nasarawa State.
The activities of the hoodlums compelled some states of the federation to declare 24-hour curfew yesterday.
Announcing the curfew in Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the decision to declare the curfew, following the violence which broke out in some parts of the state, perpetrated by criminals hiding under the guise of #EndSARS protesters, said: “I have watched with shock how what began as a peaceful #EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society.
‘’Lives and limbs have been lost as criminals and miscreants are now hiding under the umbrella of these protests to unleash mayhem on our state.
“As a government that is alive to its responsibility and has shown a commitment to the movement #ENDSARS, we will not watch and allow anarchy in our dear state.
“I, therefore, hereby impose a 24-hour curfew on all parts of the state as from 4:00 pm today, October 20, 2020. Nobody, except essential service providers and first responders, must be found on the streets.’’
Protesters defy curfew
However, after the curfew was declared by the government, the #EndSARS protesters continued to gather around the governor’s office at Alausa yesterday.
They continued their demonstration against police brutality and other issues in the country, and in the course of the demonstration, the protest was thrown into a frenzy when the protesters sighted three patrol vehicles of ‘Operation MESA’ approaching them.
The operation, which is commonly known as ‘OP MESA’, is a joint internal security operational platform made up of the Nigerian Army, Navy, and Air Force.
As they came closer, the military personnel in the vans hailed the protesters who in turn gathered around the patrol vehicles in a show of friendliness.
Down the road, some police patrol vehicles were also parked as police personnel mounted a security spot in the area.
In a show of support, some of the protesters also formed a human shield against possible attacks from unruly demonstrators.
However, in some other parts of Lagos, the security men crushed down on the hoodlums who had hijacked the protest from the #EndSARS protesters.
Gov. Fayemi imposes 24-hour curfew on Ekiti as EndSARS protest turns violent
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state yesterday, following the EndSARS protest which has turned violent in the last couple of days.
The development was made known in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, in Ado Ekiti.
The statement read: “In the past 48 hours, there have been incidents of gang-rape, robberies, physical assaults on innocent people, looting and burning of a police station.
“These acts of brigandage are not in consonance with the legitimate aspirations of the EndSARS protesters. It cannot be logical to seek to remedy impunity with impunity.
“Government therefore cannot afford to watch a deliberate enthronement of anarchy by some bad elements who have hijacked the protest for some clandestine reasons.
“These are in addition to the wanton destruction of properties, particularly private properties.
“Government is concerned that if this state of affairs is allowed to continue unabated, it will lead to a breakdown of law and order thereby threatening the wellbeing of the people of Ekiti State.
“For the purpose of clarity, Government continues to show understanding and responsiveness to the demands of the legitimate protesters,” the statement said.
Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, also yesterday imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state beginning from Wednesday, October 21.
This, according to the state government, is to check the dangerous dimension the #EndSARS protest has taken in the state while the government is bound to protect the lives and properties of the citizenry.
A statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, read: “Osun State government notes with a high sense of responsibility the unfortunate dangerous dimension the #EndSARS protests have assumed across the country, particularly in the southwest States.
“In our dear state, but for providence, the Governor would not have been alive to preside over today’s security meeting following the attempt on his life last Saturday.
“In spite of the Saturday incident, we have allowed the protest to continue in the hope that the real protesters would take charge of the protest.
“Events of the last 48 hours have however shown clearly that the protests have been hijacked by criminals and hoodlums. As a responsible and responsive government that took the sacred oath to protect the lives and property of our citizens, we will not sit and watch criminals unleash terror on our State.
“Consequently, the governor of the State of Osun, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, hereby imposes a 24-hour curfew on all parts of the State, effective from 11.59 pm today, Tuesday, October 20, until further notice.”
Declaring the curfew in Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong said: Following the #ENDSARS protests that have been going on across the country and in some parts of the state, the state government is declaring a 24-hour curfew.
‘’Government has watched closely these protests which are normal in a democracy that guarantees the rights of citizens to ventilate their grievances over any matter.
“However, it is rather unfortunate that in the past few days, the #ENDSARS protests which began as peacefully have gradually degenerated to the situation where hoodlums have attacked and molested innocent citizens who are going about their normal businesses.
‘’This development took a new turn on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, when the protests led to the destruction of properties, cars, and looting of business premises along the Ahmadu Bello way as well as the burning of a place of worship along Gyro Road in Bukuru. In addition, three deaths have been recorded.”
Declaring the curfew in Imo State, Governor Hope Uzodinma said: “My esteemed good people of Imo State, recent developments in the country, and the attendant attempt by unpatriotic elements in our state to buy into it to ignite social unrest in the state has made this address necessary.
‘’I have watched with utter dismay the attempt by unscrupulous elements to hijack an otherwise peaceful protest by our youths to unleash mayhem in the state.
‘’Everyone is aware of the demands of the youths in different parts of the country; mainly for the scrapping of the special police unit known as SARS because of the alleged brutal tactics employed by them in dealing with members of the public.
‘’They also asked for the reform of the police force and better conditions of service. I personally addressed the protesting youths in Owerri and assured them that my government will not support any form of police brutality against our people.
‘’ I also gave them my word that I will lend my support for a refined police force that will treat citizens with dignity and respect. Fortunately, President Buhari did not prevaricate in according to the demands of the EndSARS protesters.”
In Ondo, Governor Akeredolu said: “Pieces of the news emanating from our neighboring states are somewhat disturbing. It is obvious that certain elements have hijacked the agitation originally meant to correct the manifest wrongs for which the operatives of the defunct SARS are accused.
“Correctional centers have been attacked by criminals and inmates set free with the attendant grave consequences. Some Police Stations have been burnt and arms and ammunition carted away. Some lives have been lost and property destroyed. The implications of this for the health of a society can better be imagined.
“Our state has not experienced this ugly trend and it is our belief that the good people of the State will continue to display the same level of patriotism as the problem is not local.
“We must stand against all acts which depict us as barbaric and destructive. We must all resist the temptations to join the bandwagon of directionless and unpatriotic Nigerians.”
In the Lagos attack, two policemen were killed, while two civilians also lost their lives. Several others, including, innocent Lagosians in different parts of Lagos were injured.
Four police stations were set ablaze, with over 20 vehicles razed by hoodlums who invaded there. Some of the hoodlums made away with police uniforms, vehicles, electronics, and other valuables.
The incident that sparked the arson started in the Orile area of the state after one of the policemen at Orile division was alleged to have shot one of the hoodlums to death at about 9.30 am.
There were different accounts of what led to the shooting. A version of the account said the attack on the station had nothing to do with the #EndSARS protest.
It stated that a terror gang, identified as ‘ Adeleye boys’, stormed the station to protest alleged high handedness by policemen at the division.
Policemen on duty were said to have resisted the group from entering the division by firing teargas canisters on them, causing them to disperse.
However, the boys were said to have regrouped and stormed the station again, setting it ablaze from behind.
Another version of the account said a group of Nigerian youths converged on the Doyin area of Orile, preventing vehicular movement into Mile Two and Costain.
The hoodlums were said to have later joined the group, and in the process of dispersing them, one of the policemen fired a shot, an action that led to an altercation between the protesters and the police.
It was gathered that some of the hoodlums hauled stones at the policemen which provoked one of them to fire some shots, which hit two protesters. One of them died on the spot, while the other was rushed to the hospital.
Infuriated by the killing, the hoodlums stormed the Orile division and set it ablaze. Some policemen inside the station attempted to scale the fence and escape, only to land in the waiting arms of the hoodlums who had surrounded the station.
They beat them to a pulp, killing one of them on the spot. It was gathered that the second policeman who was pierced by a sharp object before landing into the waiting arms of his assailants, died before he could be rushed to the hospital.
Not done, the hoodlums rushed into the station, wore some police uniforms, reflective traffic jackets, and face masks that were on the counter, making caricatures of the whole incident.
They were said to have carried the war to the Pako police division in the Amukoko area, where they burnt the station.
They also set the Layeni Police division ablaze. There, 20 vehicles, including motorcycles were burnt.
The hoodlums were said to have made away with some vehicles and electronics such as television sets, refrigerators, and other valuables.
Again, in Ajeromi -Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos, one of the hoodlums said to have attempted to invade the station was shot dead by policemen to prevent them from invading the station.
The angry protesters were said to have besieged the council opposite the division to vent their anger on the Chairman who was whisked away by some security agents.
They were said to have set on fire the council and with over 15 vehicles belonging to staff, while also looting the Automated Teller Machine, ATM, the council chairman’s office, and the treasurer’s office, among other offices. Many staff was reportedly injured during the invasion.
Similarly, a Police post at Cele bus-stop, along the Oshodi/Apapa expressway was also attacked.
In some parts of the state, hoodlums who hijacked the protest were seen brandishing cutlasses, dispossessing innocent commuters and motorists of cash and other valuables.
Reacting to the development, Lagos State Police Command said it would no longer permit any protest within the state.
A spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in a statement, said: “ Due to the new development of violent attacks on police officers and men and formations including innocent Nigerians in Lagos State and the 24-hour curfew imposed by the Lagos State government with effect from 4 pm today, October, 19,2020, the Lagos State Police Command wishes to inform the general public that henceforth no protest or gathering or possession, under whatever guise, is permitted within Lagos State.
“In light of the above, all security agencies have deployed adequate personnel to take charge and enforce the curfew across the state.
In the same vein, the command regrets to confirm the setting ablaze of Orile Police State today at about 10 am, where some of our policemen were critically injured and unconfirmed reports state that one of them is dead.
“It’s crystal clear that the EndSARS protest has been hijacked by hoodlums who want to run down the state and the police command will resist such a state of anarchy, unrest, and brouhaha with all powers within the ambit of the law.
“While the command is resolute in the sustenance of human rights and democratic tenets, the general public is hereby warned to comply with the curfew and desist from any act of violence in the state as the command will resist such in totality.”
Besides the killings, hoodlums also grounded other parts of Lagos, including Alausa, Oshodi, Lekki, attacking #EndSARS protesters, and this grounded vehicular movements.
Motorists and commuters were stranded for hours.
In Abuja, one person was killed as hoodlums attacked protesters in Waru settlement, Apo district of Abuja, while six others were killed by the hoodlums at the Dutse Alhaji area of Bwari Area Council in Abuja.
In the Waru attack, properties worth millions of naira were also destroyed in the attack that started at about 8:00 am
An eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, said the man who died was warned against proceeding o the Waru settlement because hoodlums had reportedly laid an ambush for #EndSARS protesters in the area.
“We warned the man who was killed not proceed into Waru. We watched from a distance how the hoodlums killed him.
“They planked him in the head with a 2-by-2 wood, and as soon as he fell to the ground, they mobbed him to death.
“The Army and police have moved into Waru to calm the situation, but I’m certain as soon as they leave the violence will start again,” he said.
As a result of the tensed atmosphere in the area, the source added that many women and children fled the area to safer districts.
Meanwhile, many young men resident in Apo and its environs were seen moving about the streets with weapons of all sorts for self-defense.
The fresh attacks came barely 24 hours after hoodlums razed over 50 cars in a car mart and vandalized many valuables in the area amid the #EndSARS protests in the nation’s capital.
Similarly, in the Dutse Alhaji area of Abuja, at least, six people were feared killed, following attempts by hoodlums to hijack the #EndSARS protest.
One of those killed was said to have been among a group of people who attacked the #EndSARS protesters.
While the identity of his killers was not known, five other people were reported killed by security operatives.
The development which caused panic in the area consequently led to the police post in the area being razed down by irate youths.
Police Public Relations Officer PPRO in the FCT Command, Mariam Yusuf, however, did not immediately respond to media inquiries as she neither picked her calls nor replied to a message sent to her phone.
However, eyewitnesses accused security operatives of turning a blind eye to attacks by hoodlums while swooping on #EndSARS protesters.
Earlier in the day, there was tension in some parts of Sokale and FO1 areas of Kubwa, following an invasion by soldiers who fired sporadically into the air to disperse some #EndSARS protesters who had gathered to begin the day’s protest.
While passers-by scampered to safety, residents who were still in their houses immediately shut their doors and windows, even as motorists on the Bwari-Dutse Alhaji road got stranded due to the ensuing gridlock on the route.
The protesters had erected a barricade at the Sokale roundabout area and Winners road and had begun settling into the protest before the invasion by soldiers in three trucks.
Some hoodlums also took over some parts of the Apo Mechanic village, attacking motorists and attempting to loot some shops in the area.
The hoodlums who had earlier attacked #EndSARS protesters the previous day were said to have mobilized to the area yesterday morning to halt the peaceful protest against police brutality.
In Ibadan, two persons were shot dead at the Iwo road area of the city during the ongoing #EndSARS protests.
There are contradictory reports on the casualty figure as some sources living at Ojoo told Vanguard that about seven people had died.
The victims were said to have been killed by stray bullets believed to have been fired by security agents.
Other protesters sustained serious injuries. One of the victims was seen sprawling on the ground as a result of a gunshot injury on his right leg; other victims were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Vanguard gathered that the protesters were moving close to the police station at Iwo road when the security agents fired several warning shots, following which bullets hit the victims.
EndSars Protesters at the CBN Headquarters, Abuja, Sunday. PHOTO: Abayomi Adeshida.
One was shot in the head, while the other was shot in the neck.
Several attempts to get the State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Gbenga Fadeyi, on phone were unsuccessful.
Protest turns violent as hoodlums burn cars, loot shops in Jos
In Jos, Plateau State, what started as a peaceful protest yesterday assumed a dangerous dimension as hoodlums hijack the process, burning cars and looting shops around the Ahmadu Bello, Terminus, Barrack Road, and Old Bukuru Park area of the city.
Offices were hurriedly closed as residents scamper for safety, even as young boys who may as well be in their teens moved in groups attacking and injuring passersby, vandalizing cars, and looting shops.
The incident caused panic which spread across the state capital as some people mistook it for the well-known inter-religious conflicts which had plagued the city over the years.
Security agents were seen trying to arrest the situation as teargas were fired to disperse the hoodlum who pelted the security personnel with stones and other objects.
At press time yesterday, several shops had been looted, while many who were injured in the attacks were rushed to hospitals for treatment.
The State Acting Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Donbey Peters, told Vanguard on the phone that two cars were also burnt.
He said: “We are working to bring the situation under control, what I know for now is that two cars have been burnt and some shops looted. The peculiarity of the disturbances in the city is what is giving it the religious or ethnic coloration but it is just hoodlums who hijack the process.
‘’We are taking stock of the situation and credible information will be made available as we assess the situation. no arrest has been made yet but the area is calm now.”
Hoodlums beat, chase protesters in Lafia, as police allegedly watch helplessly
In Lafia, Nasarawa State, over 200 protesting youths against police brutality were beaten up by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest.
The protesting youths were helpless as the police and the state security outfit, Nasarawa State Youth Employment Scheme, NAYES, watched them being beaten.
A protester, who spoke to journalists on account of anonymity, said the protest was designed to be peaceful from the beginning but lamented that after presenting their letter to Governor Abdullahi Sule through the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Mohammed Ubandoma, hoodlums started attacking the protesters.
“As we were coming back from Government House where we went to present our requests to Governor Sule, some hoodlums we believe were sponsored pounced on us and started heating our people with sticks and smashed phones belonging to protesters.
“ To our greatest surprise, the police officers who were sent to protect us watched the hoodlums beat up the protesters unprovoked and were even making ridicule of us,” the protester said.
IGP orders deployment of anti-riot police officers
Also yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, ordered the immediate nationwide deployment of an anti-riot police unit, the Police Mobile Force, PMF, to protect lives and property of all Nigerians and secure critical national infrastructure across the country.
The IGP also ordered massive deployment of Police operatives to strengthen the security around prison facilities nationwide.
The orders are coming on the heels of increasing attacks, including acts of arson and malicious damage, to public and private facilities as recorded in some states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
He directed the commissioners of police in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT to identify and isolate law-breakers from peaceful protesters; immediately arrest and diligently prosecute such perpetrators of violence in their respective commands.
The IGP disclosed that 12 suspects had been arrested in connection with the attacks and arson on police stations in Benin, Edo State, adding that five AK47 rifles earlier stolen from vandalized police stations had also been recovered.
He called on members of the public to avail the police with useful information that could lead to the re-arrest of fleeing inmates unlawfully released from prisons.
Meanwhile, the IGP advised parents/guardians to prevail on their children/wards to steer-clear of acts of violence and criminality as the Force will henceforth exercise the full powers of the law to prevent any further attempt on the lives and property of citizens.
EndSARS: 1,993 prison inmates escaped, armory looted in Edo
Also, the Nigerian Prisons Service said yesterday that no fewer than 1,993 inmates escaped from prisons in Benin and Oko, Edo State, following the invasion of the prisons by hoodlums who masqueraded as #EndSARS protesters on Monday.
The NPS said in a statement yesterday: ‘’Two Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOs) Custodial Centres in Benin City and Oko in Edo State were attacked yesterday by protesters purportedly under the #ENDSARS aegis, freeing (at the last count) 1,993 inmates in legal custody and looting the centers, including the weapons in their armory.
‘’They came in large number, bearing dangerous weapons and attacked the officers on guard duty. They were unmistakable on their mission, which was to force the cells open, free the inmates, and carry out other nefarious activities.
‘’The situation has been brought under control while security in and around the custodial centers nationwide has been beefed up. The investigation has commenced determining the full impact of the attack. Peaceful protest is legitimate and guaranteed as a fundamental right of citizens, operating as individuals and groups. However, attacking a custodial center is a criminal act that detracts from the advertised objectives of the movement and capable of imputing impure motives to its drivers.
‘’It must be reiterated that the custodial centers are high-security zones. The primary duty of the institution is to keep custody of convicted criminals and awaiting trial suspects; this comes before their reformation. It is integral to the justice administration system.’
‘’We urge the #EndSARS protesters to remain peaceful, embrace dialogue, screen their rank and file and flush out those with criminal intents and, more importantly, steer clear of the custodial centers.’’
#EndSARS: Protesters defy the curfew in Edo, govt insists decision remains
Meanwhile, hundreds of youths and several residents in Benin City, yesterday defied the 24 hours curfew imposed by the state government on Monday, as the EndSARS assumed a dangerous dimension.
As early as 6 am, a few markets were opened but closed around 9 am for fear of being attacked by hoodlums.
Around Aduwawa, Eyaen, Ugbowo, Upper Mission Road, Ramat park areas, protesters were on the roads throughout Monday night, setting bonfires.
The activities of the protesters continued as early as 7 am, yesterday, as they blocked Joromi Junction by Ekheuan Road where they extorted motorists, including media practitioners and others on essential services before they were allowed passage.
Despite this development, the state government said yesterday the curfew was still in force.
A statement by the Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie said yesterday: ‘’The 24-hour (round-the-clock) curfew imposed in the state on October 19, 2020, subsists and is active till further notice.
“As such, everyone is expected to remain indoors. Security agencies have been deployed to the streets to ensure full compliance and anyone found contravening the directive will be dealt with according to the law.
“Parents and guardians are urged to restrain their children, youths, and wards from flouting the order, as security agencies will not spare any errant individual.”
Some security personnel drawn from the military were sighted on patrol along with airport, Ihama, Akpakpava, and Sapele roads, obviously to nip in the bud any likely break down of law and order.
At press time, officials of Oko correctional center along airport road were sighted taking stock of relics of the deadly Monday attack on the prison facility, just as some top government officials from the Ministry of Interior were expected to pay an on-the-spot visit to the two prisons invaded in Benin City on Monday.
One of the armed officers at the Oko correctional facility who craved anonymity said they were overwhelmed by the surging crowd of hoodlums who took over the prison precinct.
“I just thank God that I am alive to tell the story. We called for backup from the military and other sister security agencies when information got to us that the hoodlums were marching to Oko prisons but no response of any kind came.’’
Apo Car Mart inferno: How I miraculously escaped with only one vehicle – Abuja Auto dealer recounts the experience
In a similar development, the auto dealer whose car mart was burnt in the Apo district of Abuja, Mr. Obiora Eze, has said he miraculously escaped the attack by the hoodlums with only one car.
The inferno, which occurred around 3;30pm on Monday, left 13 of his cars burnt beyond remedy, and about 37 others severely vandalized.
The hoodlums also destroyed several shops, properties, and valuables around the Apo Mechanic Village, where the incident occurred. In addition, they left several people injured.
According to eyewitnesses, the incident was caused by hoodlums as opposed to the #EndSARS protest in the area.
Speaking exclusively with Vanguard, yesterday, in Abuja, Obiora said the incident was a rude shock.
The 51-year-old auto dealer explained that he was having a meeting with his friend, one Abdulfatai, when some people, informed them of the mayhem perpetrated by the thugs.
He stated: “We were having a business discussion when some youths rushed in, and told us that the thugs had begun to attack innocent people on the street.
“I then ended the meeting abruptly, rushed outside to see what was happening. As I stood thinking about what to do, about 30 young men stormed my car stand and started shattering the windshields of the vehicles on display.
“My friend and I quickly got into one of the cars and escaped. So, they set ablaze the other cars.
“Out of 49 cars I left behind, 13 were burnt beyond remedy while about 36 were severely damaged. I had to tow the damaged cars to a safer location, this morning (yesterday).”
Reeling out a long list of the exotic cars that were destroyed, Obiora, who is a native of Nsukka in Enugu state, lamented his loss, saying some customers had made deposits on some of the burnt cars
“I have not eaten since yesterday. I couldn’t sleep. How can I? Those who perpetrated this mayhem have finished me.
“My estimated loss is about N78 million. My lawyer came this morning and I have brief him.”