- Two feared dead in attack on customs office
By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Kwara state governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, in the early hours of Saturday imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state following a breakdown of law and order after suspected hoodlums attacked businesses in the state.
Residents had earlier attacked a warehouse inside Cargo terminal of Ilorin International Airport where Covid-19 palliatives such as bags of rice, semovita and other foodstuff were kept.
The youths soon attacked Nigeria Customs command at Irewolede area of Ilorin where lorries laden with bags of rice seized from smugglers were kept. They were however repelled by the armed officers on guard.
Two young men were feared dead in the melee, while two officers of the Customs Service were seriously injured .
The hoodlums later moved to Shoprite Mall along Fate road and where businesses were massively looted.
They soon took on other popular shops at Taiwo, such as privately owned l, FEMTECH and others which were also looted l. The hoodlums blocked all major roads in Ilorin extorting money from motorists.
While declaring the curfew, the governor said security agencies had been placed on alert to ensure strict compliance.
The governor, who urged residents to stay indoor, said only essential workers would be allowed to move around.
The governor’s speech read, “I have just had an emergency security meeting with commanders of various security agencies in the state. This is to assess the situation in the state. Over the last few days, I had earlier met with the traditional rulers, opinion leaders, members of the student community, and many other stakeholders in the state.
“Our observation is that what has happened so far today was not a protest. It cannot be defended under any guise.
“It was a pure act of criminality. Some persons are hiding under the nationwide tension to commit crimes.
“The government has a duty to protect law abiding citizens and their properties.
“Lives are being threatened. Businesses are being looted. Public properties have been targeted. This is unacceptable. It is not who we are.
“To curb these acts of criminalities, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew in Ilorin metropolis from midnight today October 23rd, 2020. This is in line with Sections 1, 2 and 4 of the Public Order Act Chapter 382 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“People are urged to stay indoors in compliance with this curfew. This will be reviewed as we watch developments.
“While the curfew is on, security forces have been placed on the alert to maintain strict compliance. I urge citizens to comply by this declaration which is meant to protect lives and properties.
“Finally, we apologise to our people and businesses that have been badly hurt. I urge them to be calm while we stop the criminality now.”
Commissioner for Communications, Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin, later made clarification on the exemption of essential workers in a statement.
She said, “This is to exempt persons who qualify as essential workers from the 24-hour curfew declared by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
“Those covered in the exemption are health workers; media workers (journalists); petrol station workers; bankers. Such persons would only be accorded such privilege if they present their valid (work place) identity cards identifying them as such.
“The government regrets the inconvenience the curfew may cause the citizenry but it is necessary to maintain law and order at this critical time.”