Edo’s deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, has blamed the pandemonium and breakdown in law and order witnessed in the state on Monday on hoodlums, clarifying that it could not have been the fault of protesters demanding an end to police brutality through the End SARS campaign.
Shaibu, during an interview with Channels Television yesterday, said about six to seven people were reportedly killed as of Friday due to mayhem and there have new fatalities since then. The hoodlums, he said, also extorted money from and molested people, and looted various shops.
“When you interact with the real, genuine End SARS guys, their demands are legitimate and they are very articulate about what they want and their organisation is perfect, but these ones that are taking over now are not the same people,” he emphasised.
“The report we have as at today is that hoodlums hijacked the entire exercise. From yesterday, we got information that they were going to attack the correction service, they were going to attack the airport and some key areas. Interestingly, we thought it was going to be their normal protest, they would just go there, block the road, and not destroy any properties, but today it took a different dimension.”
The state government had declared an indefinite 24-hour curfew starting from 4 pm on Monday, September 19, it said, “because of the very disturbing incidents of vandalism and attacks on private individuals and institutions by hoodlums”. The police stated that some of its stations and posts were attacked.
Prison inmates in two custodial centres in Benin and Oko also escaped. The Nigerian Correctional Service had blamed this on attacks by “suspected protesters under the #ENDSARS protests”.
However, this could not have been the case, according to the state deputy governor.
“What we are interested now in Edo State is that we must protect lives and properties, including even the End SARS protesters because their demands are genuine but the hoodlums have taken over,” he said on Monday.
“Don’t forget that I’ve addressed them in two different locations and those young men and women that I see protesting and asking for the end of police brutality, when I interacted with them, you would see genuine demand, you would see that they are actually pained. Some of them, I saw scars on their bodies.
“When I followed them the last time over four and a half to five hours, I interacted with them. I felt and saw how organised they were, and they were controlling each other to make sure that the protest actually was free of violence and nobody should loot.”
He added that he was convinced it was not the same protesters who orchestrated the recent violent attacks. The curfew, he explained, was aimed at protecting lives and properties, including those of genuine End SARS protesters.
“Hoodlums actually have taken over the exercise and it is sad,” he reiterated.
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