Two persons reportedly lost their lives during Saturday sanitation exercise in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital in a bloody clash between the NDLEA and drug users in the ancient city.
The Police Public relations Officer, PPRO for the Kwara State Command Mr Ajayi Okasanmi who confirmed the incident to our Correspondent said the matter started with the issue of the NDLEA that arre sted one of alleged drug users in the past.
According Okasanmi; “It was as a result of problem between the NDLEA and drug users at Oja-Oba market area which allegedly spilled over to Ipata area of town”
“The hoodlums today sighted one of the NDLEA officers that were involved in the arrest in at Oja- Oba market area.
“He ran to Police Station and the Police tried to rescue him, (meaning the affected NDLEA officer) but the hoodlums became annoyed and started attacking places and people”.
“Some houses have been attacked, they were attacking anything they
see, they did not identify any special place to attack, they were just
attacking”, the Police said.
The Police Image maker told our correspondent that as at time of filing this report, two persons have been confirmed killed in the mayhem while a number of suspects have been arrested.
Okasanmi added that Police Squads have been drafted to the flash points to bring the situation under control assuring to keep our correspondent updated on the matter.
However, other eye witness account gave a different version of the mayhem which left many buildings razed down and properties worth millions of naira destroyed.
It was gathered that the hoodlums were protesting the enforcement of restricting movement by law enforcement agents during the sanitation exercise that lasted between 7 and 9.00A.M.
According to an eye witness, trouble started when a police man impounded a motorcycle for flouting the order on restriction of
movement during the exercise around Oja-oba area.
The motorcycle, said the eye witness, allegedly belonged to one of the leaders 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, insisting that no one is above the law.
Infuriated by the action of the police man, the hoodlums reportedly mobilised themselves destroying property at sight and setting ablaze shops in the Oja-oba area leaving people to scamper to safety.
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.
The hoodlums on the rampage were alleged not only to have disrupted the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in the metropolis but also sacked two mobile courts sitting at different locations in the state capital.
It was further gathered that about a dozen of the hoodlums armed with dangerous objects invaded a court session at Oja-Oba and at Ipata areas.
Our correspondent reports that some youths protesting closure of road threw the court into disarray while the situation forced the court’s presiding judge and sanitation officers to flee the scene for fear of being attacked.
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.
Meanwhile, 36 persons were arrested and arraigned at different mobile courts sitting in Ilorin for violating the state environmental sanitation law.
The courts where the defaulters were arraigned included Unity, Post Office and Offa Garage among others.
Speaking on the crisis, the state Commissioner for Environment and Forestry, Usman Abubakar Mora, regretted the recurring problem of inadequate security personnel during sanitation exercise.
He 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”.