Wednesday, October 21, 2020 6:47 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
Rivers on Wednesday evening joined the rank of states that have declared curfew over their territories to rein in hoodlums who are taking advantage of #EndSARS protests to loot, maim and burn down government and private property.
Earlier in the day there have been sporadic shooting at Oyigbo in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State by unknown gunmen who have burnt down two Police Stations, a State High Court and another Police Station in Afam Community also in the area.
An unconfirmed report indicated that a Police van was also burnt at Woji, a town in suburb of Port Harcourt.
There have also been sporadic shootings along Mile One, Diobu, from Ikokwu Motor spare parts area market to Education Bus stop area of Port Harcourt as some hoodlums were see marching towards the Mile One Police Station Port Harcourt.
A full loaded truck of police officers, an armoured personnel carrier, was dispatched to the area to ward off the rampaging hoodlums.
The activities of the hoodlums led many residents ,motorists and commuters to flee the area.
It is unclear at the moment who is responsible for the shootings, but our sources said claimed that some hoodlums may have crossed over from Aba in Abia State for a protest that later turned violent.
Oyigbo local government is at the boundary between Rivers and Abia State.
The violence continue till evening, forcing Governor, Nyesom Wike to announce imposition of a 24 hour curfew in the entire Oyigbo Local Government Area in a broadcast.
He also announced that the curfew extends to Mile 1, Mile 2, Emenike, Ikokwu and Iloaubuchi areas of Port Harcourt Local Government Area as well as Oil Mill area of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of the State.
The governor explained that the decision to impose the curfew was taken after a State Security Council meeting which held at the Government House, Port Harcourt earlier today.
Wike stated that while the State Government appreciate and commend the peaceful nature of the on going #EndSARS protests , it was becoming clear by the day that the protest had been hijacked by hoodlums to unleash carnage.
“Earlier today, some hoodlums attacked and destroyed Police Stations and Court buildings in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the State. Another set of hooligans were also on rampage at the Ikokwu spare parts markets disturbing public peace and damaging property”.
Governor Wike asserted that the State government cannot watch helplessly and allow trouble-makers to take the laws into their hands and use the current situation to create a state of panic and insecurity.
To this end, he said consequently, the State’s Security Council had decided to impose curfew in some parts of the State to secure lives and property.
“A 24-hour curfew has been imposed on Mile 1, Mile 2, Emenike, Ikokwu and Iloaubuchi arears of Port Harcourt from 6.30 p.m. today 21st October 2020.”
“A 24-hour curfew has been imposed on the entire Oyigbo Local Government Area from 6.30 p.m. today, 21st October 2020; a 24-hour curfew has also been imposed on Oil mill area in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area” he said.
The governor has therefore directed security agencies to enforce the curfew with effect from 6.30 p.m. today 21st October 2020.
He also asked Local Government Chairmen to mobilize vigilantes and work with security agencies to ensure that no hoodlum is allowed to disturb the peace or destroy lives and property in their Local Government Areas.
“We urge all citizens to remain vigilant and report all suspicious characters to the security agencies for immediate action. Let me appeal to our youths not to allow themselves to be used to roll-back the peace we are enjoying in the State under any pretext” he added.