EndSARS crisis: Navy arrests 41 suspected looters, recovers looted items worth over N100m

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VIDEOS: Ongoing looting of warehouse in Abuja

Jeep stolen from NPA HQ among recovered items

•I watched helplessly as hoodlums invaded my shop twice – biz man

By Evelyn Usman

 

Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Beecroft, Apapa Lagos, have arrested 41 suspects in connection with the invasion  of the Nigerian Ports Authority headquarters, Marina, last week , where vehicles and valuables were razed.

The suspects were also alleged to be behind looting of many warehouses and private apartments in Surulere , Orile, Ijora Apapa, Costain and Amukoko areas of the state.

Recovered from them were items ranging from fabrics, electronics , truck parts ,  a  Toyota Land Cruiser SUV , stolen from the NPA headquarters and two trucks loaded with the stolen items and palliatives .

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One of the trucks loaded with the stolen items was on  the verge  being driven outside Lagos, apparently to sell at give away prices to ready buyers when the operatives intercepted it under the Iganmu bridge.

The operation which was  carried out  in response to the civil unrest that greeted the hijack of the #EndSARS protest according to the  Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, was  conducted under the Lagos State Security architecture code named OP MESA which designates, Apapa, Orile, Ijora, Costain, Surulere, Mile 12, and  Amukoko , as the Area of Responsibility, for the Nigerian Navy.

Parading the suspects and recovered items before journalists yesterday at the NNS Beecroft parade ground, the Base Operations and Acting Executive Officer of the  NNS BEECROFT, Commander Andy Zidon, who represented Commodore Shettima, said, “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 Tincan 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  securing  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”.

Arrest

“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 HQ.

Furthermore, the Base working in conjunction with NPA security also recovered a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV stolen from the HQ. The vehicle is currently in the Base for safe custody.

 ”In the course of carrying out its activities within this period, the Base conducted over 200 active patrols and responded to over 50 distress calls from citizens and organizations.

In the course of the operation, 41 individuals were arrested for partaking in various criminal acts, including looting and attacks on innocent citizens of the state.

“Furthermore, a large number of looted items were recovered at various locations across our Area of Operations and evacuated to the Base. 

These items include vehicles, household appliances, industrial equipment, food stuff, clothes, jewelries and  bicycles estimated at over 100 million Naira. 

In fact, a large truck and Mini Bus were also discovered loaded with looted items about to be taken out of the State. NNS BEECROFT is currently working with the Lagos State Government for the handover of the items and their return to the rightful owners”, he stated.

Owners identify recovered items

Some of the owners of the recovered items were around to identify them. 

One of them, Abubakar Mohammed  ,disclosed that his shop located on Apapa road Ijora was invaded twice with truck parts worth over 17 million carted away.

He said: “ I was helpless. 

There was nothing I could do because of their number.  I watched helplessly as they made away with my goods.

“When I saw the Navy patrolling, I told them what happened and they  went after the hoodlums. Some of the items which included :gear box, transmission axis  have been recovered but there are still more out there”.

On her part, Seun Onigbode , disclosed that two of her textile shops in Lekki and Surulere were invaded and fabrics which monetary value she could not immediately give, carted away. 

Though she expressed gratitude to the Navy over the recovery of some of the fabrics but said more were still out there.

Some of the suspects whose ages were between 11 and 13 years according to  Commander Zidon ,were released to their parents after profiling . 

He added that the Base would serialize the item and that it  was also working with community leaders in Surulere , to ensure that the recovered items were returned to the right owners, latest, mid next week.

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