BY Haleem Olatunji
The days leading up to Tuesday, October 20, 2020 had been filled with the good, the bad and the downright ugly. What began as peaceful demonstrations across states to demand an end to police brutality degenerated into chaos with attacks launched on residents and properties, leaving a smoldering trail of wreckage in its wake.
However, things took a more dangerous turn on Wednesday, and in 48 hours, there were reports of deaths, fire outbreaks and destruction across the country, with a major percentage of the vandalised ruins located in Lagos communities.
For close to two weeks, Nigerians had taken to the streets under the #EndSARS campaign to protest against police brutality. While the demonstrations were largely peaceful, events in the days afterwards witnessed a hijack of the protests by hoodlums in some states.
To curb the spread of violence, a 24-hour curfew was announced by the Lagos state government, on Tuesday.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of the state, who said the “#EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society,” maintained that “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.”
The curfew was earlier scheduled to begin at 4pm, but was rescheduled to commence at 9pm. But around 7pm, armed soldiers invaded Lekki toll gate where protesters had been demonstrating peacefully, and opened fire in what appeared to be an attempt to disperse the crowd. Some protesters held their ground, while some scampered to safety, leaving many wounded while others were reported to have died from injuries sustained.
Hours later, Sanwo-Olu blamed “forces beyond our control” for the attack, while insisting that he has no authority over military engagements.
On Wednesday, however, violent attacks escalated in several parts of Lagos with government buildings, private properties, media houses, vehicles, among others, destroyed.
Several deaths were reported, including that of Oke Obi-Enadhuze, a fresh graduate of computer science from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in Ogun, who was said to have been stabbed to death — hours after he tweeted “Nigeria will not end me.” According to his brother, he was killed in front of his home at Mafoloku, Oshodi area of Lagos.
Many others sustained injuries, while various buildings across the state were set ablaze.
Here is a breakdown of incidents recorded after the Lekki shooting.
OVER 10 POLICE STATIONS SET ABLAZE
Not less than 10 police stations across Lagos were set ablaze by hoodlums.
In a statement on Wednesday, Muyiwa Adejobi, spokesman of the state police command, highlighted some of the formations affected, adding that the hoodlums looted the affected stations and carted away some valuables.
“Some of the other affected police stations include Idimu, Igando, Layeni, Denton, Ilenbe Hausa, Ajah, Amukoko, Ilasa, Cele Outpost under Ijesha, disbanded SARS officer under Ajegunle, Ebute-Ero Mushin (Olosan) where two policemen were shot by the hoodlums, Ojo and Ajegunle where 2 patrol vans each were set ablaze,” the statement read.
NPA BUILDING RAZED, CARS DESTROYED
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) headquarters in Lagos was also set ablaze by hoodlums.
The thugs, who chased away workers, also razed the Apapa dockyard. Valuable items were stolen while vehicles within the premises were burnt by the attackers.
TheCable gathered that vehicles belonging to private individuals who work at the NPA and its environs were also burnt in the attack.
SANWO-OLU’S FAMILY HOUSE ON LAGOS ISLAND ATTACKED
Amid widespread violence in the state, there was a torching of Sanwo-Olu’s family home on Omididun Street, Lagos Island.
It is reported that aggrieved irate youth threw stones which shattered glasses and destroyed the property. The building was later set ablaze.
BUSES DESTROYED IN OYINGBO, YABA, BERGER
There was an attack on the bus rapid transport (BRT) terminal in Oyingbo area of Lagos. 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 was set ablaze around 8:30am. Similar attacks occurred in Yaba and Berger area of the state.
TVC ATTACKED, CHANNELS TV GOES OFF-AIR
The headquarters of Television Continental (TVC) came under attack by a mob in Lagos.
Tope Mark-Odigie, a TVC anchor, in an Instagram video, said the station was attacked by some hoodlums. The building was also set ablaze by the mob.
Journalists and staff of Channels Television present at the Lagos office on Wednesday took to their heels as a precaution following reports of a similar impending mob attack.
The station also went off-air for some time but it resumed operations after about one hour.
THE NATION NEWSPAPER HEAD OFFICE SET ABLAZE
Hoodlums set ablaze the head office of The Nation newspaper at Matori in Lagos. Some vehicles inside the building located on Fatai Atere Way were also torched.
The suspects were said to have overpowered some policemen who were deployed to ward off any attack, but more operatives arrived the area and they eventually succeeded in securing the premises.
FRSC, VIO OFFICES ATTACKED
The Ojodu office of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Lagos was attacked by thugs who set vehicles ablaze.
The FRSC unit in the area shares the same compound with the Vehicle Inspection unit.
An unconfirmed number of vehicles were set ablaze while several properties were destroyed.
OBA OF LAGOS ATTACKED
The palace of Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos was vandalised, forcing the monarch to flee. It is also reported that the staff of office was stolen by hoodlums.
HOODLUMS INVADE LAGOS COURT
Hoodlums also broke into Igbosere high court in Lagos state, carting away some files.
Some of them made away with court equipment, including desktop computers, laptops, fans, chairs, air conditioners, freezers and many other items.
IKOYI PRISON ATTACKED
There was an attempted jailbreak at the Nigerian Correctional Service in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday.
Facilities at the prisons were torched as the inmates attempted to break out of the centre.
However, the attack was foiled and the situation was brought under control after the arrival of security operatives.
There were attacks on some shops and malls around Lekki and Ajah area of Lagos.
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu, while assessing the level of damage on Friday, lamented the level of destruction, adding that the recent wave of violence recorded in the state is unprecedented in its history.