Killings and arson by protesters who defied the 24-hour curfew imposed by many state governments continued yesterday, with some of the #EndSARS protesters still very angry about the killing of their colleagues at Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday.
The protesters went on a rampage, setting on fire the headquarters of Television Continental, TVC, Lagos Concession Company, LCC, at Lekki, Lagos BRT Terminus at Oyingbo, the corporate head office of Nigerian Pots Authority, NPA, and palace of the Oba of Lagos, HRH Rilwan Akiolu II, among others.
Violence also swept through the South-East and parts of the South-South yesterday, as protesters defied the curfew in such states as Imo, Ondo, and Abia, killing and destroying properties.
It also forced Enugu and Ebonyi state governments to impose a 24-hour curfew. Although there is no curfew in Rivers, two policemen were killed there.
These developments came yesterday, as Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, condemned in very strong terms the killing of defenseless protesters at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos.
Igando police station burnt, policeman killed
In Lagos, the hoodlums who hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protests, attacked and burnt down Igando Police station, killing a policeman. Another policeman said to be the station officer was beaten to a pulp and abandoned to die.
Also attacked were Makinde and Ajah police stations as well as Ejigbo Local Council Development Area. At the Igando division, policemen were said to have fired into the air to disperse the relentless hoodlums who claimed to be avenging the death of some protesters by suspected security personnel Tuesday night at the Lekki toll gate.
In the process, a bullet hit one of the rampaging youths, shattering his knees. Unconfirmed reports however said Police bullets killed one of the youths.
While that was going on, the station officer, whose identity could not be immediately ascertained, tried to calm the restive youths, only to be attacked with planks.
One of his colleagues who exhausted his bullets in the process of defending himself and others was descended on by the protesters and beaten to death. Other policemen fled.
Consequently, the invaders rushed into the station and carted away electronics and other valuables.
When Vanguard visited the station, the irate youths blamed their action on the death of their colleague by the police.
Makinde police station attacked, Ejigbo LCDA offices set on fire
At Makinde division, the protesters struck, forcing the policemen to flee, and at the Ajah division, the policemen put up a fight, shooting into the air to disperse the youths until they exhausted their bullets.
It was learned that calls for back-up from other divisions yielded no response, as the irate youths pounced on some of the policemen, invaded the station, and carted away their weapons and uniforms.
Three new generation banks were also attacked by the hoodlums.
At about 3.30 pm, they reportedly entered Thomas Estate in Ajah, an action that sent fears down the spines of residents who locked themselves in and watched through the windows.
But at the Ejigbo division, members of Odua Peoples Congress, OPC, manned all entrances leading to the division to prevent any likely invasion.
But the story was different in Ejigbo LCDA which the hoodlums set on fire.
Meanwhile, Lagos State police command disclosed yesterday that it arrested one of the suspects who broke into one of the new generation banks at Lekki on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Lagos State Command, SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who confirmed the arrest, clarified that those who carried out the invasion of the bank were hoodlums, adding that some money stolen from the bank had been recovered from the suspect.
The suspects, according to Adejobi, had given useful information that would help in the apprehension of other fleeing suspects.
BRT buses, terminal, TVC, LCC, NPA offices, set on fire
Still in Lagos, the protesters set fire to the new Oyingbo Bus Rapid Transport, BRT, the terminus in Lagos, destroying hundreds of new BRT buses.
The miscreants, who defied the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government, burnt down the terminus, recently opened at Oyingbo in Mainland Local Government Area, at about 8.30 a.m.
A large number of new BRT buses yet to be deployed to routes but parked in the terminus situated behind the railway line in Oyingbo, were all consumed by the raging fire.
Vanguard gathered that armed soldiers were quickly drafted from Denton Police Station, near the Oyingbo bus stop, to prevent an attack on the station by the hoodlums.
Some news establishments, such as TV Continental in Ikosi area of Lagos, and The Nation newspaper on Fatai Atere Way were attacked. Hoodlums invaded the premises of the TV station, set the building as well as staff cars parked there on fire.
The situation was not different at the office of Lagos Concession Company, LCC, operators of Lekki Tollgate, where the hoodlums set both office buildings and cars parked in the premises on fire.
The corporate building of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, at Marina was not spared. It was set on fire.
Oba Akiolu’s palace attacked, a staff of office taken away
Also, the palace of HRH Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos, was also overtaken by protesters who made away with his staff of office.
The staff of the office is the symbol of authority of the monarch.
TheCable gathered that the hoodlums broke into the palace situated on Lagos Island, despite the presence of soldiers.
Ola Adegoke, a resident, said the protesters attempted to burn down the palace but the soldiers succeeded in pacifying them.
He said when the situation was getting out of hand, Oba Akiolu was rescued by the soldiers who later allowed the suspects to move into the palace.
Policemen who later arrived at the scene attempted to engage the suspects but the soldiers were said to have sued for calm.
A young man was seen on video running around with the monarch’s staff of office as a crowd trailed him.
Curfew defied in Imo, police stations burnt
In Imo State, some pro-EndSARs protesters yesterday burnt down some police stations, despite the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government.
Vanguard observed the incident which started around 2:54 pm also caused tension in and around the state capital.
At press time, military personnel was seen manning strategic positions to suppress the activities of the protesters.
The affected police stations include Nworieubi Police Station in Mbaitoli Local Government Area, Orji Divisional Police Station in Owerri North local government area as well as Njaba local government area.
Also, the Umuguma Divisional Police Station in Owerri West Local Government Area and other police stations were said to be targeted by the protesters. A police spokesman in the state confirmed this.
Aba town hall burnt, banks attacked
In Aba, Abia State, protesters set ablaze Aba town hall housing the secretariat of the Aba South council, despite the 24-hour curfew in the town. They also attacked three first-generation banks as well as a mall on Etche road.
The protesters marched through Asa-Aba main Motor Park from where they broke into the gate of the Aba town hall and set it on fire.
Several police roadblocks mounted around major roads in the city, manned by soldiers could not stop the protesters from torching public buildings.
A resident of Aba, who gave his name as Ifeanyi Kalu, said: “ The level of destruction of public buildings by the protesters is shocking. We all demanded that SARS must be scrapped and the government complied with it and promised to look into other demands. Why attack banks?”
Chaos, as 2 get killed in Enugu
In Enugu, two persons were killed as #EndSARS protesters in took to the streets against police brutality.
Eyewitness accounts said policemen from Nike lake police station fired bullets at the protesters and felled four persons.
Reports later came that two of the victims died at a hospital where they were rushed for treatment, as many others sustained serious gunshot injuries.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe, said he was not aware of any violence in the state.
However, the Police and army used armored vehicles to fire gunshots that temporarily dispersed protesters who insisted that the policeman who killed the protesters must be released to them.
The entire Nike Lake road from Penoks junction to Ibeagwa was blocked with bonfires and refuse bins emptied along the roads.
Every billboard of politicians around the area was brought down, as bus stops were also destroyed, while solar-powered batteries were carted away.
Parents rushed to schools to withdraw their children. Commuters traveling out of Enugu through the Nike Lake gateway were stranded, while some cars had their windscreens smashed.
The protesters also destroyed sections of the timber market, shops, and economic activities in the area were grounded.
The development forced the state government to impose a 24-hour curfew in Enugu East, Enugu North, and Enugu South Local Government Areas, effective from 7 pm yesterday.
Ebonyi gov declares curfew
In Ebonyi State, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, yesterday declared a 24-hour curfew in the state
The governor, who stated this during a broadcast in Abakaliki, explained that the peaceful protest was hijacked by hoodlums and cultists who were shifted from outside the state.
He said: “In my state, Ebonyi, I have noticed with sadness, how peaceful protest in Ebonyi State has been hijacked by hoodlums and cultists who were shifted from outside the state into our very peaceful state.
“Government vehicles and infrastructure of government have come under severe destruction and this is regrettable. I appeal to our people not to allow outsiders to destroy the modest improvements of our state which may not have gone down well to some people outside our state who do not wish us well and who imported these hoodlums to our state.
“I, therefore, call on security agencies to block all our borders from 7:00 pm today, the 21st October 2020, and to protect all lives and property.
“Furthermore, I, the governor of the state, by the powers conferred on me by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, I hereby impose a 24 hours curfew from 7:00 pm today, the 21st of October, 2020.
“I appeal to all these hoodlums and cultists to please use the time available today to leave the state very peacefully and I appeal to all the security agencies to continue to maintain calm even in the face of severe provocation and attack.”
It was reported that some protesters who took advantage of the EndSARS protest in Abakaliki made attempt to burn Kpirikpiri and Eke-Aba Police Stations in the state.
An eye witness recounted: “A section of the fence of Nigeria Correctional Service hosting the female section of the Correctional Centre, Abakaliki was reportedly pulled down this afternoon (yesterday) by rampaging hoodlums who attempted to break the facility.
“It was gathered that one of the hoodlums was shot dead by armed security personnel on guard at the facility, forcing others to retreat.”
3 killed in P-Harcourt clashes
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, three persons were feared killed at Emenike area of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
The three deaths resulted from the clash between some protesters and security operatives in the state, as EndSARS protest also turned bloody in parts of the state.
Although there was no protest by #EndSARS protesters in the state yesterday, some unknown persons took to the streets, destroying valuables.
It was learned that the unidentified persons had attempted to attack Mile 1 Police Divisional Headquarters before they were killed.
The State Public Relations Officer, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who declined comments on any of the developments in the state, said the command would soon brief the media on the developments.
Ondo APC, PDP offices, SARS office burnt
In Akure, Ondo State, hoodlums invaded the secretariat of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and set it ablaze.
This came barely hours after the Ondo State secretariat of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, was also razed.
Vanguard gathered that two vehicles were equally set ablaze by the hoodlums.
The Police authorities in the state also confirmed the burning of the office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in the state capital.
The command’s image maker, Tee-Leo Ikoro, said, he was yet to ascertain whether anybody was actually shot in Akure.
Ikoro also confirmed the shooting in Ondo town, saying it was the resilience of policemen that prevented the burning of the police station, assuring that the police would carry out their duties with the utmost professionalism.
On it, part, the PDP state secretariat located at Alagbaka in Akure metropolis was set ablaze by no fewer than 50 hoodlums under the guise of #EndSAR protest in the state.
Recall that the APC had fingered the PDP in the razing of its secretariat but in a swift reaction, the PDP denied the dastardly act.
In his reaction, the PDP state Publicity Secretary, Kennedy Peretti, said: “The PDP State Secretariat has been razed down. One of the policemen on duty escaped death by the whiskers but his vehicle was burnt down as well as the Coaster bus. This is very unfortunate and a grave danger to our democracy.”
NBA vows legal action against military
Reacting to the killings at Lekki yesterday, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, said in a statement signed by the President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, vowed to commence legal proceedings, both locally and internationally, against the military.
The statement read: “The attention of the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) has been drawn to the dastardly shooting and killing of #ENDSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos State by some unidentified men of the Nigerian Military on Tuesday, 20th October 2020.
“From news reports on the incident, many lives were lost in the attack while several others were injured during the melee that ensued.
“The NBA strongly condemns this act of recklessness and lawlessness by the security apparatus of the Government in what, based on reports available to us, appears to have been a carefully calculated and premeditated attack.
“The NBA states that even if the protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza were in breach of the curfew imposed by the Lagos State Government, such a misdemeanor or breach did not warrant the use of live ammunition by the Nigerian military to confront otherwise peaceful, unarmed and defenseless protesters.
“Against the backdrop of this ugly development, the NBA wishes to state as follows:
“The military high command is hereby requested to immediately identify and name the officers involved in this gross professional misconduct for immediate prosecution and dismissal in line with extant laws.
“The NBA shall immediately commence legal proceedings at all relevant fora (both locally and internationally) against the Nigerian Military, and other relevant authorities, on behalf of the families of the victims, for abuse of power, disregard of rules of engagement and the infringement of the fundamental rights (including the right to life) of the affected citizens.”
Army has replaced SARS — Soyinka
Also reacting to the Lekki killings, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, said the Nigerian army has now replaced the disbanded special anti-robbery squad, SARS, of the police.
In an article yesterday, Soyinka condemned the shootings and likened the incident to the violations under Sani Abacha, the late military dictator.
The octogenarian narrated how he met a couple of roadblocks manned by protesters as he left Lagos for his home in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital.
He wrote: “After negotiating my way through some eight or nine protesters’ roadblocks, I was compelled to turn back. It was all déjà vu – the uprisings in the former Western Region of Nigeria, the anti-Abacha movement, etc.
“The attempt, however, enabled me to assess the mood and transformation of the movement. I was better prepared. I rescheduled my trip for the following day – that is, this morning.
“In the meantime, however, that is, within the next eight to ten hours, the tension has become unimaginable!
“At that earlier mention of Lagos sector, Lekki, where most of the affirmative action gatherings had taken place, soldiers opened fire on unarmed demonstrators, killing and wounding a yet undetermined number.
“One such extra-judicial killing has drenched the Nigerian flag in the blood of innocents – and not symbolically. The video has, in accustomed parlance, ‘gone viral’.
“I have spoken by phone to eyewitnesses. One, a noted public figure has shared his first-hand testimony on television. The government should cease to insult this nation with petulant denials.
“I resumed my trip to Abeokuta at 6 am, this morning (yesterday) as scheduled, again negotiating road-blocks — this time somewhere between twelve and fifteen, all distinguished by an implacable state of rage.
“It was in stark contrast to the inclusivity of the protesting ‘family of common cause’ of earlier days. All inherent beauty of instant bonding and solidarity evaporated. At the block just before the Lagos Secretariat, the protesters proved the most recalcitrant.
“In the end, they exacted from me just the one offering to the rites of passage – I could sense it coming —I had to come down from the car and address them. I did. Little did they know what was churning in my mind: This is not real. This is back to Abacha – in grotesque replay!
“It is absolutely essential to let this government know that the army has now replaced SARS in the demonic album of the protesters.”
Rein in the military, others, Obasanjo tells Buhari
Similarly, former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to restrain the military and other security agencies from using brute force against protesters.
Obasanjo in a statement also appealed to the protesters to give peace a chance as they go about making their legitimate demands.
The statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, read: “It is with a heavy heart and deep sense of concern about the ongoing violence, chaos, and unrest in many parts of Nigeria that I make this appeal to the government and people of our dear country, Nigeria, to eschew violence and embrace peace and dialogue in finding solutions to the challenges we face as a country.
“I particularly appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, in capacities as President of Nigeria, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, and a parent of youth like the ones who have in the last week come out in peaceful protest against police brutality and for improvement in their lives and their living conditions, to restrain the military and other security agencies from using brute force as a way of ending the crisis.
“The shooting and murder of unarmed protesters, no matter the level of provocation, has never been effective in suppressing public anger and frustration. Instead, such actions only reinforce the anger and frustration of the populace.”