By Moses Adeniyi
Hunts after looters and vandals who in the disguise of #EndSARS protests wrecked havoc on government and private properties across the Federation has led to the arrest of hundreds of persons on Monday.
In Lagos State, Nigerian NewsDirect gathered that no less than 400 suspects have been arrested in connection with the looting of Warehouses in search of COVID-19 palliatives, just as some of the looted items have been recovered.
Disclosing to Nigerian NewsDirect on Monday, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP. Hakeem Odumosu, stated that the State Police Command is making frantic efforts to establish evidence through investigations to substantiate the prosecution of the suspects in Court.
Following the hunt after looting of warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives were kept, the Kwara State police command on Monday disclosed that no less than 144 suspected hoodlums who disguised as #EndSARS protesters have been arrested in connection to looting government and private properties in the State.
The State’s Commissioner of Police while briefing journalists at the police headquarters in Ilorin, the State Capital, said all the suspects were arrested with looted items in their possession.
Stating that the command would ensure that all those who looted public and private properties were apprehended and the stolen items recovered, he said the police would continue to comb all parts of the State to arrest those involved in the criminal act.
Mentioning that the police, in collaboration with other security agencies, will ensure no culprit is allowed to escape, he however said whoever willingly returns the loots in their possession will be pardoned.
Similarly, the Police command in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Monday arrested 51 suspected looters in connection to the plundering of Warehouses at Jabi-Daki-biu, Idu Industrial Estate Karim area, Abuja, while they recovered some stolen items in their possession.
The FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bala Ciroma, who made the disclosure at a press conference in Abuja explained that the operation that led to the arrest was necessitated by the looting and destruction of public and private warehouses in the territory by some suspected hoodlums.
He said: “It is on record that in the last two weeks, the FCT and other parts of the federation have witnessed various forms of protest and demonstration under a different guise.
“Some of which have taken different colouration and dimensions which has resulted in the loss of lives, destruction of property and looting.
“In the bid to ensure the property within the territory, the command has arrested 51 suspected looters and recovered looted items.”
Meanwhile the Plateau State Police Command, on Monday said it has arrested 100 persons in connection to looting government warehouses, shops and private houses of individuals within the State, stating that it is giving the looters a three days ultimatum to return the loots in their possession or suffer arrest and prosecution.
A statement issued in Jos the State Capital, signed by the Acting Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Donbey Peters read: “Sequel to the ugly occurrences that bedeviled some parts of the State particularly Jos North and Jos South LGAs of the State, the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command CP Edward Egbuka has ccondemned in totality the breaking and looting into government warehouses, shops and private houses of individuals by hoodlums and other criminals within Jos and Bukuru metropolis under the guise of #ENDSARS protests.
“He described it as an act of criminality aimed at truncating the tireless efforts of the Police and other Security agencies on the Plateau. This has led to the arrest of over hundred persons.
“He stated that the Government of Plateau State is giving these looters the grace to return immediately every looted item to the nearest Local Government Office not later than Wednesday 28/10/2020.
“Anyone found in possession of any looted item after this date will be arrested and brought to book. In conclusion the Commissioner of Police reminded the public that the 24 hours curfew is still in place and he cautioned the public about disobedience.”
Moreover the Adamawa State Police Command on Monday confirmed that no less than 120 suspects have been arrested for allegedly taking advantage of the #ENDSARS protests to vandalise and loot public and private properties in different parts of the State.
The State’s Police spokesman Suleiman Nguroje told newsmen in an interview on Monday that some items recovered from the hoodlums include looted-tractors, farm implements, and other equipment stolen.
He said: “For now over 120 suspects were arrested by the Police and other security sister organizations for various criminal offenses ranging from arson, stealing, malicious damage to property and assault before and after the statewide curfew imposed by the Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri to restore law and order in Adamawa.”
He further explained that after police investigation, the government will prosecute these suspects with prima facie cases, who allegedly took advantage of the #EndSARS protests to destroy and loot public and private properties in different parts of the State.
It was gathered on Monday that following the commencement of house-to-house search for loots by the Police in Calabar, the Cross Rivers Capital, some suspected persons who had looted COVID-19 palliatives within their homes had began to drop them at open places within the metropolis.
The development is trailing the 24 hours Grace announced by the State’s Commissioner of police, Abdulkadir Jimoh for looters to return carted-away items or face the full wrath of the law.
The looting of Warehouses in search for hoarded COVID-19 palliatives which began in Maza-Maza, Lagos last week, has extended to other parts of the Federation from the South to the North. The ugly development has unfortunately led to losses of lives recorded in Edo, Kogi, Taraba, and Abuja due to heavy stampede.