Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun has reaffirmed the commitment of the Police Command and that of other securities agencies to the protection of lives and properties and the protection of human rights of residents and visitors alike in the state.
Briefing journalists on Saturday on the on-going 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government, Egbetokun, who was flanked by other security service commanders, said: “I want to make it clear that criminal elements cannot and will not enjoy our protection. The protesters are no longer on the streets but the hoodlums are.
“Yesterday (Friday), the hoodlums looted warehouses, malls and shops. They forcefully dispossessed individuals of their valuable belongings and threatening to do more. An attempt to burn down a popular Mall after looting was frustrated by security agents.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to parents and guardians to keep their wards off the streets and warn them not to follow the hoodlums who are presently treading a dangerous path. It is our duty to protect lives and properties in the state.
“Those who choose to remain with the criminals on the streets clearly made a choice of confrontation with the law enforcement agents and are at risk of the consequences of such an action. I also appeal to all law abiding residents of the state to stay at home for the period of the curfew.”
Lamenting that the #EndSARS protests in Kwara, like other states, was later hijacked by hoodlums, the CP said: “The #EndSARS protest was conducted peacefully in Kwara State. For the period the protest lasted, the Police provided adequate protection for the protesters and followed the directive of the IGP in ensuring that the protest was conducted peacefully.
“I commend the organisers of the #EndSARS protest and indeed the great Nigerian youths who took part in the peaceful protest in Kwara State. I recall a particular day when the great Nigerian youths withdrew from the protest when it became clear that some bad elements had infiltrated and attempted to use the protest for a criminal purpose of looting shops. This decision forced some these bad elements to also flee on their own without intervention of the security agents. I remain proud of the great Nigerian Youths who took part in the #EndSARS protest.”
Fielding a question on why the police and other security agencies failed to be proactive despite the state government’s early alert to attack on public properties by hoodlums, Egbetokun said: “Yes, the intelligence was made available to us and we acted on that intelligence. But if you saw what happened yesterday, the hoodlums came out in thousands, they were out in large numbers.”
He disclosed that many arrests have been made, saying he wouldn’t give out the figure now because the security agencies are now out everywhere and the arrests are ongoing.
On the curfew, the CP said: “Security agents are out, all of us are out to enforce the curfew and stop the hoodlums from doing what they did on Friday, and they are warned that they cannot have a field day again. They should in their own interest stay off the streets or leave the state or be prepared to face the full wrath of the law.”