The monthly enviromental sanitation excercise in Ilorin,Kwara state capital on Saturday turned violent as suspected miscreants invaded two mobile courts sitting at different locations disrupting proceedings.
According to him, one persons was also reportedly short while shops,houses and properties worth several millions of naira were set ablaze by suspected hoodlums protesting by the enforcement of restricting movement by law enforcement agents.
While about eight hoodlums armed with dangerous objects invaded a court session at Oja-Oba area, it was the same scenario at Ipata mobile court where some youths protesting closure of road threw the court into a total disarray.
The situation forced the court’s presiding judge and sanitation officers to flee the scene for fear of being attacked.
According to eye witness account,trouble started when a police man arrested a motorcycle for flouting the order on restriction of movement during the hours of the sanitation exercise around oja-oba area.
The motorcycle, it was gathered belongs to one of the leader of the gang popularly known as Ariyo.
The rider of the motorcycle,it was gathered told the police man that the ‘okada’ belongs to Ariyo,a plea which the police man reportedly turned down saying no one was above the law.
He said the action of the police man,the hoodlums reportedly mobilised themselves destroying properties at sight and setting ablaze shops in the Oja-oba area leaving people to run helter skelter for their lives.
The hoodlums including some ladies reportedly shots into the air, brandishing various dangerous weapons and throwing pebbles,,broken tiles and bottles to their targets.
The rampaging hoodlums,according to eye witness,used clay pots to cover their heads to protect themselves from being shelled while they unleash terror on the community.
Unconfirmed reports said one person was shot during the melee.
In the middle of the crisis,men of the state fire service department were drafted to put off the raging fire of various properties set ablaze.
It was learnt that the fracas got worsen due to the absence of armed security personnel.
At Ipata, the youths said to be carrying out immunisation exercise for various households in the metropolis, were said to have been stopped by the task force attached to the mobile court sitting in the area even after properly identifying themselves.
The resulted degenerated to a free for all forcing people to scamper for safety.
The presiding judge and sanitation officers were also forced to take to their heels when they could not withstand the charged atmosphere.
Meanwhile, 36 people were arrested and arraigned at different mobile courts sitting in Ilorin for violating the state environmental sanitation law.
The offenders were picked up for failing to participate in the exercise as well as roaming around the streets when the exercise was still on.
The courts where the defaulters were arraigned included Unity, Post Office and Offa Garage among others.
Some of the offenders were pardoned after fulfilling their bail conditions while those who could not meet up were ordered to be remanded at police stations, Oja-Oba, Ilorin.
While reacting to the situation,the state Commissioner for Environment and Forestry, Usman Abubakar Mora, regretted the recurring problem of inadequate security personnel during sanitation exercise.
He also directed environmental management team in the ministry to raise letters to the state executive council and the state Commissioner of Police to address the incessant attacks on environmental officers by the suspected hoodlums.
While addressing newsmen after the sanitation exercise, Mora appealed to his men not to be discouraged by some of the challenges encountered while carrying out their lawful duties, saying "those are parts of the hazards".