How they wreaked havoc in Abuja
Women’s center converted into a public toilet
Famous Ladi Kwali pottery center destroyed
The recent kidnapping by thugs of a peaceful #EndSARS protest in the Federal Capital Territory FCT could have ended, but not without leaving behind a series of devastation.
What happened in places where the thugs left their signatures can best be described as “Operation Sweep”. It was more than looting. It was a complete sweep of the affected facilities as the thugs went as far as removing roofs, breaking down walls to remove conduits and cables, removing roofs, doors, windows, and even taking office tables, stationery and files.
The scale of the damage was so shocking that the only rational conclusion would be to argue that the thugs from neighboring countries could have come to help their Nigerian counterparts. Otherwise, you may also be right to conclude that there are more bullies in Nigeria than there are law-abiding citizens.
Both positions could also be a true reflection of what happened. Because, as Sarkin Jiwa, HRH Dr. Idris Musa said, those who looted structures in the FCT came from the far north, including Katsina, the president’s home state and the neighboring Republic of Niger.
Speaking in his palace when he received the ‘FCT Ministerial Committee on Assessment of Losses Caused by the #EndSARS Riots’, the royal father said that the committee did not have to go far because those who perpetrated the looting can be traced with the help from security agencies.
He said; “It is very sad and we do not pray that we will see such an ugly incident again. We saw what we were not supposed to see because the ones who wrecked these things, most of them, came from the far north, the Republic of Niger, Katsina and other parts of this nation.
“And I want to advise, not to waste time, for almost five years I have been advising the government to act in this part of the city that is the headquarters of the Babangbola (scrap metal collectors). With this #EndSARS, what (the scrap collectors) have done to the city is bad. In this axis, most of the houses that were being built were vandalized. They went there and smashed all the aluminum. In some areas where stores were vandalized, most of the machines were recovered by the military. Therefore, you must contact the army and retrieve those machines. Around 92 machines were recovered by the military. Some items were recovered from the bushes and remain in the Gwagwa and Karmo divisions. So you can visit those places and see what they have ”.
Some of the facilities affected were the NYSC National Youth Services Corps Orientation Camp in Kubwa, the FCT Customary Court in Dutse, the Nigerian Fire Police outposts and the Nigerian Civil Defense and Security Corps NSCDC in Dutse’s public and private warehouses in Idu, Jabi, Tunga Maje, Gwagwalada and elsewhere.
In fact, of the six Area Councils in the FCT, only one, Abaji, was not affected.
In Kuje, the Central Council Store, which contained medical supplies and other non-medical goods, was also looted.
The ICT Center and Council Library were ransacked with 20 desktop computers, eight standing fans, eight air conditioning systems, and 13 inverter batteries. The thugs also invaded the offices of the FCT Fire Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC within the library premises, where they took office equipment and stationery. They even went off with the electricity meter and destroyed the local power plant.
However, the soldiers staunchly resisted an attempt to invade the Area Council Secretariat, but that was after the thugs brought down the rear perimeter fence of the Secretariat.
The Jiwa Women’s Center was ransacked and the site has been turned into a “public toilet”, as the evaluation team was greeted at the facility by a pungent stench of human feces.
The correspondent on Saturday had to return immediately due to the stench and despite wearing a face mask.
At the Kwali Area Council, the famous Dr. Ladi Kwali Ceramics Center which was commissioned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005 and which has continued to attract worldwide attention was vandalized.
Other places in Kwali where the thugs left their tracks were the Council Secretariat, the FCT Fertilizer Store, the Microfinance Bank and the Veterinary Clinic.
Similarly, thugs stole food at Gwagwalada LEA Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society. The building, popularly known as “House of the Masters”, also contained motorcycles and other items purchased by the teachers to empower themselves. The thugs also destroyed the FCT Fadama House, the zonal headquarters of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria FRCN, the FCT Central Store and others.
The wells were not left out of the looting wave and the thugs took not only the submersible pumps, but even the tanks above.
In some of these places, the thugs literally left their tracks. They forgot their footwear, but does Nigeria have the forensic knowledge and database to track down the owners of those footwear?
At the end of the activities of violent non-state actors across the country, the FCT DRTS Road Traffic Services Directorate (also known as Vehicle Inspection Officers VIO) lamented the invasion of their Auto Pond in the Gosa area in Abuja, putting the value of his losses at more than ¦ billion.
FCT DRTS Director Wadata Aliyu Bodinga revealed this when the ministerial committee visited the pond.
The Auto Pond is where seized vehicles and motorcycles that have remained in the hands of DRTS the longest are kept. However, some other law enforcement agencies also contact the DRTS to keep some vehicles in the pond.
Giving a breakdown of the losses, Bodinga said that no fewer than 174 vehicles, 3, 432 motorcycles and 43 Rickshaws (tricycles) were driven by thugs.
According to him, the thugs operated unopposed for about three days and eventually also vandalized offices on the premises, stole the electricity transformer and looted some 40 solar panels.
“We had more than 3,432 motorcycles and not a single one was saved, not a lock was left because everything was completely looted. We had around 174 vehicles and even the offices were vandalized, including the roof that was removed.
Some 40 poles of solar energy have also been eliminated; the observation post was vandalized. All metal, whether alloyed or not, was removed. The fence was torn down and the rods removed. Approximately 43 Keke NAPEP were stolen.
The transformer that supplied electricity to the site was also removed. I think the thugs stayed here for about three days, continuously looting the place.
“We have evaluated the articles. Like motorcycles, we assign a value of N26,000 to each one, and even at that value, the money amounts to more than N800 million and the value of the vehicles is N76 million. So in total, what has been looted here exceeds one billion naira. “
On Saturday he observed that a nearby private estate under construction was also looted, with the roofs of the houses removed.
In Idu Industrial Layout, the president of the Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger branch of the Nigerian Manufacturers Association MAN, Odun Emasealu, who praised FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Musa Bello for his prompt intervention to stop the looting, said that Billions of Naira in investments have been lost.
“We have been around and the looted industrial equipment is very expensive. Buildings were raided and equipment destroyed. Around 15 to 20 factories were affected. Windows, doors, and other things were taken, including toilet seats and bathtubs, all amounting to billions. They have left these factories totally disabled and, in fact, the owners need to reinvest to recover some of them. We just hope that these people do not get demoralized, that they have the faith to get back up, “said Emasealu.
Committee chairman and CEO of FCT FEMA Emergency Management Agency Alhaji Abbas Idris said his team would do a meticulous job and present their findings to the relevant authority.
“Honestly, the level of devastation is a lot. If you look at what we saw in the Jiwa, Gwagwa, Kuje and Gosa area, you will know that billions of Naira have been lost under these circumstances. When you come to Idu Industrial Layout, many factories were invaded and it is beyond anyone’s imagination, “he said.