Following the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests, the Lagos State Police Command said the agitation against the excessiveness of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, police brutality, extortion and harassment among others was brought to fore on social media and physically manifested on October 8, 2020 when some groups of individuals protested peacefully to the Police Command Headquarters, GRA, Ikeja.
It was gathered that the protesters, who were peaceful, presented a letter to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, through the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, to register their grievances for necessary attention and action.
At a press briefing by Odumosu on Tuesday, it was disclosed that the letter was the same day endorsed to the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
Odumosu said in acceding to what seemed to be the major demand of the protesters on October 11, the disbandment of the SARS across all the state Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory was announced by Adamu.
He noted that the structures of the defunct SARS and other tactical units in Lagos State were immediately collapsed and the operatives were assembled and addressed by the Commissioner of Police on the expectations and directives of the IGP following the disbandment of the Units.
According to the CP, in a swift turn of event, another dimension of the protest rolled in when the peaceful protest in the state turned violent on October 12 when some criminally-minded hoodlums at the Surulere protest venue cashed-in on the precarious situation and proceeded to attack the Anti-Kidnapping Unit’s Office of the Command located at Iyun Road, Western Avenue, Surulere, with premeditated intention to liberate the suspected kidnappers detained in the facility.
Odumosu said in the process of the clash, three of the policemen on duty were shot and critically injured, while two suspects were set free.
One out of the injured policemen, Inspector Erinfolamin Ayodeji, with one male civilian passerby, Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo, who were hit by a stray bullet, were later confirmed dead in the hospital.
Similarly, a detachment of the Command’s Rapid Response Squad was attacked by violent protesters with bottles, stones and cudgels at Adekunle Area of Yaba while being conveyed in four RRS personnel carrier trucks to their various duty posts on October 19.
It was disclosed that 19 of the RRS personnel sustained varying degrees of injuries in the attack, while the vehicles were badly damaged.
The Lagos State Police Command arrested 520 suspected hoodlums and recovered some looted items from them.
According to Odumosu, 17 police stations were set ablaze during the unrest.
He said the police stations included Orile, Amukoko, Layeni, Old Area J Command Ajah, Elemoro, New Area J Command Elemoro, Igando, Ebute-Ero, Ajah and its Barracks, Ilasamaja Police Stations, Makinde police station and its barracks, Ikotun, Isokoko, Pen-Cinema, Onipanu and Alade Police Stations.
The CP also said 13 formations were vandalised, amongst which were Ojo and Ojodu Stations.
He stated that police posts were burnt at Cele, Ilogbo-Elerin, Shibiri, Defunct Anti-Cultism office, Gbagada, Defunct SARS Office Onilekere, Makoko, Daleko, Ashamu, Makinyo, Amuwo-Odofin, Defunct Anti-Kidnapping Office, Surulere and Old SARS Office Ajegunle.
He also said police posts were vandalised by hoodlums in Mowo, Morogbo, Ikota and Mawa.
The CP noted that six police personnel and four civilian were murdered during the unrest.
The policemen who were killed were ASP Yard Edward, attached to Denton Station; Inspector Olayinka Erinfolami, attached to the defunct AntipKidnapping Unit; Inspector Adegbenro Aderibigbe, attached to Meiran Division; Sergeant Abejide Abiodun, attached to DOPS SHQ; and two others attached to Orile Division.
Odumosu said: “Thirty-eight policemen from various formations/locations within the state were injured, 58 police vehicles at various locations within the state were burnt and 13 police vehicles were vandalised.
The CP also noted that private/exhibit vehicles were burnt and vandalised.
He said: “Sixty-two vehicles belonging to individuals and those connected with some pending cases as exhibit were burnt, while nine vehicles were vandalised by the hoodlums.
“Fifteen motorcycles and tricycles were burnt, while 65 were vandalised at various locations within the state.”
The CP said government and public facilities were burnt and vandalised.
He said: “High Court Complex Igbosere, Lagos Island, Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, broad street, Lagos island Lagos, Ejigbo LCDA Secretariat, BRT Terminal Iddo ( where Sixty Seven buses were burnt), City Hall, Lagos Island, COVID-19 Warehouse at Monkey Village, BRT Terminals at Ojodu and Ikotun, Ajeromi Ifelodun LG Secretariat NPA Head Office, Marina, FRSC/VIO Office at Ojodu where only the vehicles parked outside the main buildings within their compounds were burnt.
“Some private facilities as well as other investments that were partly torched and vandalised include, the Oba of Lagos’s palace, Television Continental Station at Ikosi- Ketu, Access Bank, GTBank and Ebeano Supermarket at Victoria Island, the Nation Newspaper office at Fatai Atere Street, Matori, Mushin, where only vehicles were burnt, Shoprite Mall at Ajah, LTV 8, Alausa, Ikeja, Surulere, Samsung outlet at Apo Roundabout, Festac, Shoprite at Festac, Samsung Office Oyingbo, etc.”
However, the CP stated that some of the looted items from these outlets/offices have been recovered.
The CP also said that based on these incidences, the command was able to arrest a total of 520 suspects for various offences ranging from arson to robbery, murder, rioting, malicious damage, and unlawful possession of firearms.
He stated that one Olamilekan Ibrahim, 19, one of those who broke into a new generation bank and carted away cash and other valuables in Lekki, was arrested with N250,000, which was his own share of the loot from the banks, and a locally-made pistol.
Odumosu said: “Two suspects Ebere Ruben, 29 and Samuel Oyediran, 16, were arrested by RRS operatives for their involvement in burning of the BRT terminal at Berger and TVC Station in Lagos State, respectively, with left-over of some quantities of petroleum products with which they set the places ablaze.
“In the light of the above, it is a known fact that the protest was hijacked by armed hoodlums who have been responsible for series of killings, arson and looting of many shopping outlets in the state.
“Thorough investigation into the cases has commenced.”
The CP also urged the members of the public to be rest assured that they will be updated as investigation progresses.