Metro & Crime

#EndSARS: Ikoyi inmates set fire, attempt jailbreak

  • Houses, shops, fuel station torched in Lagos ethnic clash


  • Govt kicks as residents steal palliatives from warehouse


  • Sanwo-Olu frustrated over failure to reach Buhari


Violent protests continued yesterday in Lagos, the Centre of Excellence as demonstrators attacked public facilities. Thugs attacked Ikoyi Correctional Centre.


But an attempt to raze the facility was thwarted by a combined team of law enforcement officers. It was learnt that an armed squad of the Nigeria Correctional Centre, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and officers of Federal Fire Service were on ground to forestall the situation from escalating.


The fire, which caused panic in the prison with many of the inmates trying to break down the fenced walls of the prison, was said to have started in the kitchen and then gutted part of the record section and clinic.


The state Command of the Nigerian Correctional Service Public Relations Officer, Supt. Rotimi Oladookun, said in a statement that it was an attempted jailbreak. Oladookun said the personnel of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) foisted an attempted jail break by some inmates of Ikoyi Custodial Centre, Lagos.


He said: “The inmates sought to take advantage of the current #EndSARS protest and enforced curfew in the state to stage a jailbreak. However, the inmates met stiff resistance by the personnel at the Centre. “Unfortunately, the inmates in their attempted jailbreak set a section of the Custodial Centre ablaze.


“There was no breach of the Custodial Centre security perimeter as the combined deployment of military and other security agencies ensured the safety of the inmates and the Custodial Centre.


“Further investigations and mop up operations are currently ongoing. “The Controller of Corrections, Sam Iyakoregha, wishes to reiterate that the security integrity of Ikoyi Custodial Centre and all Custodial Centres in Lagos State is safe.” But while firefighters and other security agents battled to contain the fire at the prison and ensure no inmates escaped, violence continued to ravage other parts of Lagos.


The Ojodu Police Station was said to have been attacked, even as violence, which started three days ago at the Fagba area of the metropolis, escalated. The violence, which started with hoodlums taking charge of the axis, snowballed into ethnic conflict between Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.


A witness, who didn’t want to be named, said trouble started after the hoodlums stopped some northerners bringing a trailer loaded with cows into Lagos. He said: “The hoodlums, who for days had been extorting money from people because of the insecurity in Lagos, demanded money from the northerners who refused. The hoodlums then set fire to the trailer and all the cows.


This caused the northerners to embark on reprisal, burning and destroying shops around Fagba.” Another witness, Adeola Adeyemi, said there was violence at Fagba and Oko-Oba areas of Ifako-Ijaiye. He said: “Hausa have killed many and burnt houses. The head of the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) in Ifako- Elemere had already been killed. Shops belonging to Igbo and Yoruba on the railway line at Fagba were all burnt and looted.


The tension there is still high and many residents fled yet security operatives are nowhere to be seen.”


So far, two tankers had been burnt, 40 vehicles burnt, shops looted and burnt. Despite the total breakdown of law and order currently going on in the state, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday expressed frustration that he was able to speak with President Muhammadu Buhari since the shooting of protesters in Lekki on Tuesday night. The governor said he made two attempts to speak with the President over the incident, but he wasn’t successful in speaking directly with Buhari.


Sanwo-Olu, who spoke on a television interview, said that the first time he called, the President was not in the office while he was said to be at the Federal Executive Council meeting the second time. He said: “I made phone calls to the President. I made calls twice yesterday (Wednesday). The first time, he hadn’t come to the office and the second time, he was at the FEC meeting.


So, indeed, I have not spoken with him directly. I actually did call to speak with him. But like I said, he was at the FEC meeting and probably had his briefings. “He was the one that asked the Chief of Defence Staff to call me and I think it was when he got my message


“He (CDS) said to me, that it was the President that asked him to call. I don’t have a report to say. We haven’t spoken.”


Meanwhile, there was excitement yesterday at Monkey Village at Mazamaza area of Amuwo-Odofin Local Government as residents stormed a warehouse and carted away thousands bags of food palliative packages donated to the state government by the Private Sector Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).


New Telegraph learnt that residents of the community, upon discovery of the presence of the bags of food, vandalised the warehouse and made away with bags of rice, sugar, pasta and other food items. It was learnt that they carried as much as possible while others invited their friends to join in the looting spree.


In a viral video, some young boys were sorting the food items while others were assisting in the movement of the food items outside the warehouse. But the Lagos State government has condemned the vandalism of the warehouse, saying that the food items which were recently received from the donor were kept in the warehouse for the purpose of repackage before distributing it to the residents.


Sanwo-Olu had on September 22, 2020 taken receipt of the food palliatives from the CACOVID team meant for distribution to the indigents. The acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Nisola Olusanya, explained yesterday that the warehouse in question was not state-owned and its usage was made available to the CACOVID group.


Olusanya added that the government had been allowed to commence rebagging of food items allotted to it from the quantities meant for South-West states. She said: “The rebagging was being done to account for each beneficiary receipt, as was required and monitored by the CACOVID team.


The distribution was ongoing but had to be halted due to protests, before the invasion of the warehouse today (yesterday).


“For effective distribution of the food palliatives, groups such as transport unions, ethnic groups, religious associations, artisans and tradesmen associations, marketmen and women association, people living with disabilities, orphanages and old peoples’ homes among others were being used as distribution channels to their members.”


The commissioner added that the state government regretted the invasion of the warehouse and appreciated the support offered by the CACOVID group to the citizenry of Lagos.


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