Following the scarcity of fuel and new Naira notes, some miscreants within the popular Araromi Spare parts, Gate, on Friday, took advantage of protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, and set ablaze police station and vandalise WEMA Bank in the area.
The peaceful protest, which started at Iwo road, suddenly turned brutal as protesters destroyed both government and private property along the roads.
The angry youths, who had earlier assembled at Iwo road, end of Lagos-Ibadan expressway, blocked all the major roads thereby causing artificial hindrances before heading towards Idi-Ape Agodi-Gate.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that they descended on passersby and barricaded all the roads leading to Agodi Government House and Governor’s Office before the arrival of the security personnel.
At Agodi-Gate, the miscreants within the market took advantage of the protest by burning the police station, destroying the WEMA Bank, stealing phones and looting some roadside shops
Unconfirmed reports said one of the Plasma TV and other valuables at the police station were carted away by the hoodlums before the arrival of Operation Burst who restored sanity into the area.
The PUNCH’s reporter, Ademola Adegbite, was not lucky as he was mercilessly beaten for taking some shots while his mobile phone and other valuables were seized from him before they returned only the mobile phone later.
The youth, armed with dangerous weapons, therefore moved to the entrance of Oyo State Secretariat thereby blocking a portion of the road linking Bodija to the Secretariat axis with burn fire.
They forced themselves into the state Secretariat and headed straight to the Governor’s Office where one Inspector of Police who was on duty was injured. He was said to have been stoned by the protesters while trying to prevent them from gaining access to the main office.
He was later rushed to the clinic for proper treatment.
The protesters were demobilized by the state joint security outfit known as Operation Burst, police and Amotekun officers.
From the state Secretariat, they moved to Mokola roundabout, Adamasingba and Dugbe pelted people with stones and other dangerous substances.
Meanwhile, the state Police command has warned youths to avoid being used by agents of violence who want to capitalize on the situation to criminally enrich themselves as the general elections are fast approaching.
A statement by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, said Command was fully prepared to mobilize fully to prevent the criminal elements from turning the state into their playground.
He said available intelligence revealed that certain unscrupulous elements have perfected plans to hijack the current situation by attacking places of interest.
Osifeso 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.”