Protest over the scarcity of fuel and new Naira notes, on Friday, in Ibadan, Oyo State, was allegedly hijacked by some miscreants within the popular Araromi Spare parts, Gate, who set ablaze a police station and vandalise WEMA Bank branch in the area.
It was gathered that the peaceful protest, which started at Iwo road, suddenly degenerated as protesters attacked and vandalised both government and private property along the roads.
The visibly angry youths, who had earlier converged on the Iwo road end of Lagos-Ibadan expressway, blocked all the major roads, causing serious vehicular jam before moving to the Idi-Ape Agodi-Gate area.
It was learnt that the angry mob descended on passersby and blocked all the roads leading to Agodi Government House and the Governor’s Office before security personnel arrived in the area.
Some miscreants within the market at Agodi-Gate, it was learnt, took advantage of the protest to attack and burn down the police station in the area and also vandalised a branch of WEMA Bank, dispossessing some residents of their phones and looting some shops along the road.
It was gathered that the suspected hoodlums carted away one of the Plasma TVs and other valuables at the police station before a team of Operation Burst operatives arrived in the area to restore peace.
A journalist of The PUNCH newspaper, Ademola Adegbite, was attacked by the hoodlums for taking some shots. His mobile phone and other valuables were seized from him. But he later recovered his mobile phone.
The armed youths then proceeded to the entrance of Oyo State Secretariat, where they made a bonfire and blocked a portion of the road linking Bodija to the Secretariat axis.
The mob then forcibly entered the state Secretariat and headed straight to the Governor’s Office they attacked and injured a police inspector on duty. The police officer was said to have been stoned by the protesters as he attempted to stop them from gaining access to the main office.
He was later rushed to the hospital for medical attention.
But the state’s joint security outfit, Operation Burst, policemen and Amotekun officers later dispersed the mob.
They, however, moved from the state Secretariat to Mokola roundabout, Adamasingba and Dugbe, throwing stones and and other dangerous missiles to residents.
Meanwhile, the Police in the state have warned youths not to allow themselves to be used by agents of violence trying to take advantage of the situation to criminally enrich themselves as the general elections approach.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, said in a statement that the Command was prepared to fully mobilize to prevent the criminal elements from turning the state into their playground.
Osifeso said available intelligence revealed that certain unscrupulous elements have perfected plans to hijack the current situation by attacking places of interest.
The PPRO said, “Members of the public are hereby advised, especially with reference to the youth segment to avoid being used by agents of violence who want to capitalize on the situation to criminally enrich themselves, especially as we navigate towards the 2023 general elections as the command is fully prepared to mobilize fully to prevent these criminal elements from turning the state into their playground.
“The state police command wishes to inform members of the public to stay calm and maintain peace even amidst pockets of protest that have emanated at different parts of the metropolis over hike in fuel pump price and unavailability of cash for dispense at ATM machines and Point of sales Terminal, especially within the capital.
“Worthy of note is that available intelligence reveals that certain unscrupulous elements have perfected plans to hijack the process, escalating the situation into full-scale chaos by shutting down and attacking places of interest which include but not limited to INEC facilities, Banks, media houses, schools, Correctional Centers and other critical infrastructures inclusive of looting major malls and business centers within the state.
“Consequent on the above, residents would witness high octane patrols in concert with relevant sister security agencies all in a bid to Heighten the level of confidence of residents and as well reassure them of the commitments of the state police command at providing comprehensive security for all residents in the state.”