The Edo State Police Command has arrested four male suspects believed to have been part of the hoodlums who attacked some police stations in Benin, and looted the armouries and other items during the #EndSARS protests. The quartet was amongst the126 crime suspects paraded on Wednesday by the state commissioner of police, Johnson Babatunde Kokumo, at a press briefing at the police headquarters in Benin. They were arrested in connection with various crimes. Kokumo, who gave the names of the suspects as Charles Okoeguale , Ojo Osamiemwenfan Igbinoba, Gift Osayiwu, and Osasumwen Imanawe , said they were caught with Police rifles, uniforms and other accoutrements.
Also in police net are 10 male prison inmates who had escaped from the Correctional Centres at Sapele Road and Oko. Kokumo listed their names as: Emmanuel Udoh, Friday Etim, Victor Akpotor, Lucky Precious, and Osarumen Enoragbon. Others are: Patrick Eguavoen, Abraham Matthew, Endurance Ifobuow, Mohammed Adamu, and Henry Atadi.
Similarly paraded were two armed robbery suspects namely Michael Peter, and OZ Esi whom Kokumo said were arrested October 27, 2020 by officers of the Nigerian Army attached to 4 Brigade Headquarters, Benin City for allegedly attempting to snatch a Honda Civic Car with Reg. No. AA 261 AY from one John Destiny of No. 40 Agbonlahor Street, Aduwawa, Benin City. He said in another development, on October 26, 2020, while #EndSARS protest was subsiding, “some unscrupulous elements in Jattu, Edo State, were hobnobbing on how to break into the Town Hall” adding that they were however arrested by some vigilantes and policemen of Jattu Police Division before any damage could be done.”
A breakdown of the 126 suspects showed that 106 were arrested for store breaking, looting and arson; 10 for escape from lawful custody; and 10 for other offences like armed robbery. The breakdown further showed that 28 persons were arrested in connection with the invasion and looting of the Nigeria Customs Service Warehouse, WAEC Road, Off Benin-Auchi Road, Aduwawa Benin City; 16 for looting of the Blessed Doris-Dey Warehouse, Benin-Agbor Road, Benin City; 45 for looting of Central Medical Stores, at Okhoro, Benin City; and 13 arrested for looting the Olam Nigeria PLC Private Warehouse, Located at Abico Junction, Upper Sakponba Road, Benin City.
According to the police boss, some exhibits were also recovered in the course of the various arrests, including arms like five AK 47 rifles, two locally-made exhibit guns, and one locally-made gun. Two stolen vehicles – one Lexus 330 SUV with Reg. No. KWL 205 AZ, and one Toyota Camry Saloon car with Reg. No. LSD-231-GD – were similarly recovered, as well as two bags of 50kg and one 25kg of rice and 24 crates of assorted drinks.
Addressing journalists, the police commissioner said “The Command wishes to brief members of the public through the media on the “EndSARS” protest which was consequently hijacked by hoodlums and mobs who went berserk wreaking havoc majorly in Benin metropolis”. He recounted how “the hoodlums burnt down police stations, carted away arms and ammunition, raped women in some areas, killed policemen on their gory path to destruction, freed convicted criminals and felons, looted businesses and extorted innocent Nigerians”.
Lamenting the dastardly saga, Kokumo said “The Command is currently pained by the havoc caused by the mobs and hoodlums masquerading as protesters who were united by a common criminality” stressing that “the stolen arms, regrettably, will be unleashed on the members of the public”. He said “However, as the looting and destruction was taking place, the Police and other security agencies mustard their acts together and were able to arrest some of the arsonists, looters and escapees”.