Tony Osauzo, Benin
Five persons have been arrested and several looted properties recovered from them in the wake of the looting spree by hoodlums that took place at the weekend in Edo State.
The Assistant Inspector -General of Police (AIG) Zone 5, Benin, in charge of Edo and Delta states, Mr. Shola David, who announced this yesterday, assured residents of the resolve by the Zone to restore public confidence towards guaranteed safety of citizens of both states.
He said the zone would adopt more proactive measures in line with the directive of IGP Mohammed Adamu, to bring sanity and peace among the people and therefore, appealed to the citizens to go about their normal businesses without fear or favour.
The AIG stated this in Benin City shortly before a strategic meeting with top officers of Zone 5 including the commissioners of police in charge of Edo and Delta states.
He disclosed that morale of operatives of the zonal command in collaboration with police mobile squadrons have been boosted with better equipment and materials for effective security and therefore the police would not allow hoodlums to continue to disrupt public peace through their excesses of looting and destruction of properties in parts of the states.
Mr. David noted that the EndSARS protest in both states had started in peaceful manner until hoodlums hijacked the process which led to invasion and looting of warehouses belonging to the state government and private individuals as well as setting ablaze of public buildings.
He decried the negative effects of social media reports throughout and called for caution among media practitioners and harped on the need for them to continue to educate citizens of the states and the entire society on the positive sides of development in the country.
“We are intact in our mandate to leverage on our professional discharge of duties. We all know what has been happening in the couple of days and weeks and we heard what the IGP Mohammed Adamu directed yesterday (Saturday) on the way forward on the need to reclaim and dominate public space and ensure all this forms of criminality that has been in place is put to a halt. And this meeting is called basically for us to evolve strategies to be used and deployed to ensure that all these criminal elements are taken off the streets and so law abiding citizens of Edo and Delta states are free to go about their lawful businesses.
“We will not allow Hobbesian state of nature where life is short and brutish, where everybody is to himself”, the AIG warned.
Also Speaking, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, said several arrests have been made and insist that only hoodlums and not EndSARS protesters have been arrested.
He said the attack on warehouses on Saturday was an indication that the protesters were now hoodlums and arsonists and that any of them caught would be treated as such.
“Three police stations were razed, some police vehicles were also burnt in so many cases, exhibit vehicles were also burnt. But we thank God there have not been any death of police personnel.
“We have made several arrests and we are still out to make more arrests, arrests of hoodlums, not protesters so those who have attacked police formations, those who have set police stations on fire, those who set police patrol vehicles on fire, exhibit vehicles on fire, those who have physically assaulted police officers will not be treated as protesters but hoodlums and we are still on their trail”, he said.
Meanwhile, security proactive step has been taken to forestall a voice message that went viral indicating that government buildings would be torched across Edo State.
Already, security operatives mostly soldiers, have taken over the guard of government buildings and diverted movements from such areas in Benin City.
The major area housing government’s Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Benin, the Palm House, along Sapele Road, was yesterday taken over by soldiers.
One of the lanes of the highway was closed to traffic, just as the road that also leads to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Services (DSS), the police state command and state Ministry of Agriculture was also closed to traffic.
Besides, following attacks on government warehouses in Benin on Saturday, the road leading to 4 Brigade headquarters of the Nigerian Army along the Benin Golf Course Road, was also closed to traffic as the road leads to a private warehouse.