By Ovasa Ogaga,
Suspected hoodlums today (Friday) defied Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s 48 hours curfew imposed in the state to unleash terror in Sapele, Delta State, looting and vandalized a popular mall, Memories Superstores along Ajogodo road, carting award goods worth millions of naira.
The hoodlums were chased out of the mall following the timely intervention of men of the Nigerian Army, 19 Battalion, Koko, who on getting a distress call raced to the scene on time, however, the hoodlums fly before their arrival.
Recall Governor Okowa had on Thursday imposed 48 hours curfew in Delta following reported cases of violence and criminal activities following the highjack of the #ENDSARS protest in some parts of the state, leading to the burning down of some state government properties at Asaba and reported jailbreak at Okere Correctional facility at Warri.
Our reporter gathered that some suspected hoodlums hiding under the guise of protest last night, Thursday, setup fires across Sapele town, residents also reported hearing gunfire around the ever-busy Olympia area along Oleh road and Okpe road, the gathering point of the protesters.
Speaking at the scene, Chairman Sapele Local Government Area, Hon Eugene Inoaghan appealed to protesters to be clam noting that the government was doing everything to meet their demands, “we know how pained the youths are and I can assure you all that the government is doing everything to meet your demands, just give the government some time” he appealed.
The Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to Governor Okowa on Security matters, Omasan Mabiaku who addressed newsmen at the scene of the vandalisation said, “It was disheartening that genuine protest by youths has now been hijacked by hoodlums.”
He added that Sapele was not noted for such criminality; “This is not a protest, genuine protesters don’t break into people’s property and loot, what they did is stealing and we condemn this in total, we are appealing to the youths, parents and guardian to talk to their people.”
Omasan, who is also a Pastor, had earlier dispersed some group of protesters at the Amukpe end of the town.
One eyewitness, Akporotu Onome, told newsmen that the hoodlums stormed the mall and forced their way in ” and thereafter began to loot goods inside the store, people were carting away goods and others were destroying until soldiers came in”
Another eyewitness, Chika Michael, said some persons were watching outside while others were doing the looting, while a photographer, Matthew Akpeyi said the presence of the soldiers did help to restore peace and secure the place.