Edo Police Nab 50 Hoodlums …DIG Reads Riot Act In Lagos
Edo State Commissioner of Police David Omojola has confirmed the arrest of more than 50 suspects in connection with the alleged violence and looting during the protest against the removal of fuel subsidy in the state.
Omojola told newsmen in Benin on Wednesday, that investigation into the violence would continue, but that commercial activities in the city had returned to normal.
According to reports, more markets, business centres and petrol stations had opened for business.
However, government offices and banks remain closed, but vehicular traffic and movement of people had improved.
Meanwhile the Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ) has appealed to the Federal Government to create an avenue for dialogue with the organised labour to bring an end to the ongoing industrial crisis.
Labour and civil society organisations began a nationwide strike on Monday following the removal of petrol subsidy by the Federal Government on January 1.
Mr Patrick Emiantor, National Secretary of the party, made the appeal yesterday in Abuja, in an interview with newsmen.
Emiantor said the protest had taken a new dimension in some parts of the country, and cautioned that the situation might degenerate into total breakdown of law and order.
“We are worried and our fear is that by the time the strike is allowed for too long, the present situation may degenerate into violence.”
The party scribe further advised government to implement the withdrawal of the subsidy in stages to ensure that Nigerians did not suffer untold hardship.
According to Emiantor, Nigerians are not used to extreme hardship and the implementation of this kind of policy must be in stages to cushion the pains of the removal of the subsidy.
“The government meant well for the people by initiating this policy but we are still advising that the policy can still prevail if the government will be able to shift ground for now.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), `A’ Department, Mr Azubuko Udah, said yesterday in Lagos that the police would not fail to enforce the law on anyone found threatening the rights of fellow Nigerians.
In an interview with newsmen, Udah warned that anyone caught setting up bonfires on the roads and causing violence would be arrested.
He, however, noted that no one had been arrested for such offences since the commencement of the protests on Monday.
Udah said he had been in the South-West to monitor the protests since Monday, adding that he had been to other states in the geo-political zone and that he was satisfied with the performance of the police.
The DIG also commended Labour leaders and other protesters for conducting themselves responsibly.
Udah, however, called on parents to warn their children and wards against violence to avoid dire consequences.
The DIG also warned police officers and men against reckless use of firearms, saying, “a Policeman is only allowed to use firearm when his life or the lives of others are being threatened.”
Udah, however, warned members of the public against any action that would compel the police to use firearms, stressing that all officers had been briefed on what was expected of them during crises.
The DIG noted that the ongoing protests against the subsidy removal posed a big challenge to the police.
He, however, assured members of the public of adequate security, throughout the period.
On the alleged killing in Lagos on Monday, he said that investigation was still ongoing.
The DIG urged the people not to panic over the alleged threat by the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) to attack people from a part of the country.
Udah said that the police authorities were already aware of the speculation and had made special security arrangements accordingly.
He, however, advised the people concerned “to be security conscious and to report to the police every strange movement around them.’’
According to reports, the DIG had a closed-door meeting with Commissioners of Police in all the formations in Lagos State, as well as the AIG (Zone 2), to review the protest.