Navy arrests 41 suspects for looting, vandalism in Lagos
Written by freshadmin3 on October 30, 2020
Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT have arrested 41 suspects for their alleged involvement in looting properties during the outbreak of violence across Lagos State.
Among the suspects were those alleged to have vandalised malls, private shops and houses around Surulere, Apapa, Ijora and environs with goods worth over N100m recovered.
Parading some of the suspects Friday, the Commander NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, said the Navy also recovered a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) looted from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) headquarters that was set ablaze as well as a truck loaded with various looted items including electronics, kitchen and home appliances, bicycles, auto spare parts, fabrics, clothes and shoes, COVID-19 palliatives, among others.
Shettima who was represented by the base’s acting Executive Officer (XO), Commander Andrew Zidon said some of those arrested were minors and were released to their parents after screening.
The Nation gathered that two other SUVs were stolen from NPA while many others were burnt in the fire which the Navy responded to and rescued eight NPA officials.
According to Shettima, the base conducted over 200 active patrols and responded to more than 50 distress calls from citizens and organisations from October 19.
He said: “Beginning from around October 19, Lagos State plunged into a civil unrest characterised by riots, looting and reported widespread criminal activities by hoodlums and miscreants. The Nigerian Navy responded to the crisis in an effective and timely manner to help ensure the return of normalcy within its Area of Operations.
“This operation was conducted under the Lagos State Security architecture code named OP MESA which designates, Apapa, Orile, Ijora, Costain, Surulere, Mile 12, Amukoko etc as the Area of Responsibility for the Nigerian Navy.
“In the course of carrying out our task, the base conducted patrols and took all necessary measures within the ambits of the law as well as Internal Security Standard Operating Procedure for the Armed Forces of Nigeria to help restore peace and order. This necessitated working with sister services as well as other Law enforcement agencies including the Nigerian Police.
“In this regard, NNS BEECROFT deployed her personnel to Tin-Can Island Port and Apapa Wharf to safeguard those critical national assets. Furthermore, additional personnel were deployed to secure all NNPC installations at Tarkwa Bay Island including Terminals/Tanks Farms and the Atlas Cove Jetty. “Furthermore, Harbour Patrols were conducted around the Ports and Lagos Anchorage to prevent miscreants from attacking visiting merchant vessels.
“NNS BEECROFT also assisted in the securing of the Nigerian Port Authority headquarters at Marina after the building was invaded by hoodlums who looted and put fire to the building. Own personnel responded quickly on receipt of a distress call by the management.
“On deployment, our personnel arrested some of the hoodlums and evacuated some NPA staff to the base, some of which required medical attention. Nigerian Navy personnel are currently deployed at the headquarters for security. The base working in conjunction with NPA security also recovered a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV stolen from the headquarter and the vehicle is currently in the base for safe custody.”
Shettima said the base was collaborating with the state government and some associations to ensure recovered items were handed over to the real owners, adding that suspects would be handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution.
“These suspects here are those we have degree of certainty on their involvement in the crimes. They are the ones we hope to handover to the police. Among the 41 suspects arrested, some were 11, 12 or 13-year-olds and so, not people we felt we should keep in custody.
“We invited their parents and handed them over to them. Suspects were arrested from various locations. The truck was intercepted under the bridge at Orile and the driver arrested. He said the truck was going outside Lagos. Through the driver, we have gotten other suspects.
“There was no confrontation with them. We have done serialisation of every item recovered and some of the owners have already identified what belongs to them.
“Not everything here was taken from malls. Some of them were stolen from small shops and homes.”
An employee of STI Textiles, Seun Olubode, who said their shops at Suruelere and Lekki were looted, thanked the navy for helping them get some of the items.
“We are thankful to the navy for the little one we have seen. We have identified our laces among the items but it is just like a scratch compared to what was looted. We are still thankful for these ones we have seen and hoping we will get more,” she said.
Another victim, Abubakar Mohammed who said his spare part shop was looted twice with goods worth over N17million carted away, told reporters he has been able to identify some of his items among the recovered loots.