Victims Count Losses After Thursday Looting and Vandalization in Iseyin….As PMI, Olasupo, Others Condemn Destruction
The atmosphere in Iseyin town on Friday was tensed as residents trooped out to commiserate with victims of the Thursday vandalization and looting spree across the community by hoodlums.
What started like an attempt to organize a peaceful protest across Iseyin, in Iseyin local government turned violent when hoodlums took charge of the situation and forcefully entered the Divisional Police Station at Oketapemo Barracks and took away motorbikes, car parts, office items, electronics as well as items believed to be exhibits.
The mob thronged the three bases of Nigerian Customs service in the community, the offices and residents of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Immigration Service and the AGRO RANGERS to cart away office equipments, uniforms, personal effects and household items.
Bearing dangerous weapons and amulets and chanting songs, the mob went back to the police station and set it on fire and forcing open the shops that belonged to private individuals along the station’s perimeter fencing.
Individuals that spoke with The Chronicler Newspaper and preferred their identity hidden claimed that the worst situation was the looting of properties and personal belongings of residents living close to the police, Nigerian Customs service, NSCDC, AGRO RANGERS and Nigeria Immigration Service offices or having their businesses close to these stations.
“The first regrettable thing this people did was to burn down the police station and the shops at the perimeter fencing that belonged to residents of the community, did they forget that it was the community that built it? We are the ones that will be eventually responsible for the rebuilding of this station either directly or indirectly.
“The second thing is attack on properties of people living around these places, I know of one Mr Sunday that lived at the topmost floor of one of the Nigerian Customs service base at barracks area, they took away everything the man owned despite that they knew he was not a Customs officers, they went away with even his clothings and those of his family members.
“A woman whose offense to the mob was that she is a wife of a policeman got the worst bargain as her warehouse where she sold and kept her daily needs material for sale at wholesale was totally looted, it was so bad.”
Our reporter gathered that the hoodlums attacked Chief Tunde Mustapha’s building at Omoloju area, which housed the office of the Nigeria Immigration Service and also looted properties of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) in the same compound.
It was learnt that attempt was made to forcefully enter the fault of the bank without success but the whole building was vandalized and personal belongings were taken away or destroyed.
Attempts to speak with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), of Iseyin, Mr Fawole Abimbola was without success as his telephone line was not available and messages were not returned.
Oyo State government has described the looting that later characterized the protest in some parts of the State as condemnable and urged youths to sheath their swords and allow peace to reign.
A notable group in the community, Pioneer Movement, Iseyin (PMI) in a statement signed by its President, Mr Shola Adelere said the acts of looting and arson were condemnable.
Adelere said the group received with shock, the destruction of the township police station, Nigeria Customs Service formations and others by hoodlums hiding under the guys of the nationwide #EndSARS protests.
“We are highly disappointed as a group and condemn the action of Thursday by the unruly mob, we have been in the struggle for a better policing of our community through various supports and encouragement, we are saddened that this is coming at a time when every hand should be on deck for an additional police division and Area Command for the community.
“It is quite unfortunate that despite despite all efforts from different quaters, from numerous individuals and clubs, labouring and agitating for progress and development of the town, the few unscrupulous elements took laws into their hands to perpetrate Evel acts.”
The former Honorable representing Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola and Iwajowa, Hon. Abiodun Olasupo said the act of arson and vandalization should be condemned by all to avert further perpetration of such in the future.
He called on the federal government to start implementing programmes and actions that would engage youths and improve the economy of the nation, adding that police reform was necessary to avoid future unrest in the land.