The Kwara State Police Command on Wednesday said eight people have been arrested over the violent protests which followed Sunday’s announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two people had reportedly died in the Ilorin protests which began on Monday.
Peter Gana, the state’s Commissioner of Police, told newsmen in Ilorin that the on-going protests in the state were being hijacked by hoodlums. The hoodlums, he said, had been robbing innocent people of their valuables.
The police boss said the hoodlums had invaded the Ilorin branch of Sterling Bank and snatched two vehicles, including a bullion van, in the premises of the bank. The hoodlums, he said, also torched the MRS and Total filling stations, damaging vehicles as well as snatching cell phones and money from innocent people.
He said the police would not watch idly and allow hoodlums to create a climate of anarchy in the state.
Mr. Gana said police personnel had been dispersing the hoodlums with canisters of tear gas in order to clear the bon fires and barricades on town ship roads.
“The police did not fire any live bullets into the crowd, the hoodlums that hijacked the protest were armed with some dangerous weapons. Some arrests have been made in order to get to the root of the matter because we have a duty and responsibility to see that citizens are protected from hoodlums.
“I want to appeal to Kwarans to continue to be law abiding; we are all faced with the same situation.
“The Federal Government has inaugurated committee to provide palliative measures to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
“Eight people have been arrested so far and are helping us in our investigation. The police have succeeded in persuading some of the group leaders to shelve their protest.
“I met with the students group, traditional rulers among others on the need for peace,” he added.
The commissioner said the command was working to curtail the protests across the state.
He appealed to parents and guardians to caution their children and wards against violence, saying the police were ready to enforce law and order.
Meanwhile, the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Gambari, has appealed to residents to exercise restraint in the pursuit of their constitutional rights.
The emir, who warned against arson, advised residents to express their democratic rights peacefully as permitted by law.
Also reacting to the development, the Occupy Nigeria Movement, Kwara chapter, urged the Federal Government to rescind its decision on fuel subsidy removal.
The NGO, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Bashir Araoye, also condemned the violent protests in the state capital.
Similarly, the President of the Afonja Descendants Union, Olola Kasum, appealed to security agents to be restrained in the handling of the protests.