Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr. Nwachukwu Enwonwu, on Wednesday confirmed that six police officers were gruesomely murdered during the #EndSARS protests in the state, saying many police officers are still missing.
He made the confirmation during the parade of nine suspects arrested in connection with the burning and looting of the Iseyin Divisional Police Headquarters in Oke-Ogun Area of the state at the Eleyele, Ibadan. He added that six persons earlier arrested in Ogbomoso had been charged two court.
Enwonwu also stated that five divisional police headquarters and many police patrol vehicles were burnt during the protest in the state, adding that exhibits were also looted in the exhibit room apart from many police arms and ammunition that were carted away “due to activities of criminal elements who capitalised on the protest to perpetrate their heinous crimes.”
The police boss, who made it known that the hoodlums that hijacked the protest went as far as trailing some police officers to their homes with a view to killing them, said the police would reveal accurate figures of the policemen that lost their lives to the protests, how many were injured and firearms that were carted away after the ongoing stocktaking.
Enwonwu, who appealed to members of the public to assist the police by giving useful information that could lead to recovery of firearms looted from burnt police stations towards preventing an upsurge in crime rate in the state, raised the alarm that the number of AK-47 rifles that are in circulation illegally called for a serious concern.
On the nine suspects, he stated that “On Monday October 26, 2020 at about 2200hrs, information was received at the Quick Intervention Unit of the Oyo State Police Command that some hoodlums, who attacked and dislodged policemen at the divisional police headquarters, Iseyin, looted valuables with some exhibits and thereafter set ablaze the police station during the EndSARS protests were sighted bin their hideouts in Iseyin town.
“Sequel to this information, a team of policemen attached to the unit moved swiftly to the area and in the process, nine of the arsonists and criminal looters were arrested in connection with the crimes, while some exhibits were recovered from them. Upon interrogations, the suspects confessed to the crime and also gave useful information that will lead to the arrest of other hoodlums, who participated in the criminal activities. Efforts is on to arrest other fleeing suspects.”
One of the suspects, Toareed Hamsat, 26, fondly called Shortex, told journalists that he did not know anything about burning the station, but he actively participated in looting the station, saying: “I carried two cartons of Trophy (larger beer) and one generator from the station. I saw people looting the station and I joined them. I saw the cartons of Trophy at the entrance of the station and I carried them and put them outside. From there people rushed at the cartons, opened them and began to drink and thereafter they broke the bottles.
“The wall clock that was found in my house, I did not steal it at the station. I saw it in front of a mosque and I took it. But when the royal father of Iseyin made a call that everybody that participated in looting the police station should return what they stole. They said we should return the items to either the mosque or the palace. So, I returned the generator that I stole from the station. Later, police came to my house and arrested me.”