The effects of the massive destruction of properties by hoodlums across the nation who had hijacked the peaceful protests have started emerging. The destruction of police stations across hot zones like Lagos, Benin, Onitsha, Asaba, Ibadan, Abuja etc all over the country has caused the security outfit to stay off the streets. In Lagos State which is the epicenter of the destructions saw 27 police stations set ablaze. In Mushin, there are reports that most of the DPOs were either maimed or killed. There was a DPO of one the police station that was beaten and then carried all over the place inside a wheelbarrow.
The police station at Orile was the first be burnt after claims of someone being shot as a result of the protest. At Orile, the youths were carrying out their protests when the DPO ordered her men to seize the laptop of the DJ producing the music for the youths and some youths arrested as well. According to a source, the youths had mobilized themselves and raised the sum of one hundred thousand naira (N100K) as “Egunje” to retrieve their seized laptop and release their colleagues. The “Egunje” was necessary because it was the language understood in most police stations irrespective of the fact that is written boldly on the walls of every station that “Bail Is Free”. What had transpired between the youths and the DPO remains unknown that made the DPO give the order to the officers on duty to open fire. It was act that has resulted in the deaths of two youths. Orile being a den for hoodlums, touts and all manners of miscreants wasted no time in mobilizing a formidable force that stormed the station and set it ablaze not without clubbing one of the police officers to death.
It was this single act that led to the curfew imposition which resulted in the Lekki shootings that ignited the attacks on all police stations across the state and the country. The police have withdrawn into their barracks. They have seen how their colleagues were beaten, maimed and killed. The remaining stations that escaped destructions are heavily guarded. The police station at Ago Palace way, Okota is presently guarded by the OPC (a group of local vigilantes) as most of the police officers have disappeared. The police officers at Ago Police stations are targets for most of the Okada riders who complained about how they are made to pay six hundred naira (N600) daily to some police officers. The police officers have refused to come out of their stations.
One of the demands in the EndSARS protest was the increase in police welfare and reforms. An ex-police officer with the rank of a DPO said “Even if the lowest police officer was is well-paid, he will still collect bribe because of the citizens who offers them. It is free money. Bribery is in the DNA of the average police man”. The police officers are not really happy with what happened as they are also humans. Their absence has made the society more insecure. The hoodlums who burnt their stations also work hand-in-hand with the police in extorting money from commercial drivers. They are friends with the hoodlums as they all go out to smoke weed and drink alcoholic beverages together.
Are the police officers scared of the masses out on the streets or they are technically on strike? Are they angry that the masses have deprived them of their daily extortions or they are seeking for more protection? It is not only the police that are off the streets. Both FRSC and LASTMA seem to have joined the Nigerian Police Force. Is it in solidarity or they are equally scared of the same treatment being melted on them as they also part of the extortion cartel?