Despite the state government’s imposition of 24-hour curfew, some defiant urchins in Benin City, Edo State on Tuesday defied the order by mounting barricades in some areas far away from the regular security checks.
Security in most parts of Benin and the environs was tightened late Monday following the hijack of the peaceful EndSARS protests by hoodlums which led to jailbreaks at two Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) centres and the burning of police stations in the state.
PREMIUM TIMES reporter who went round some parts of Benin earlier on Tuesday observed that at Joromi junction by Ekenwan Road, the defiant youth mounted roadblocks with bonfires and were seen extorting money from motorists.
Some motorists, however, managed to wriggle their way out of the situation, while others were seen parting with money before they were able to pass through.
There were also bonfires and blockades mounted by youth around some adjourning streets off Sakpoba and Upper Sakpoba roads as well as the New Benin area.
However, checks around the city revealed that soldiers and anti-riot policemen, as well as men of the Edo State Command of the Nigerian Correctional Service, have been deployed to major streets in Benin to forestall further breakdown of law and order.
PREMIUM TIMES reported on Monday how the hoodlums broke open the cells and freed several inmates in the process. Several persons sustained gunshot injuries as an armed squad of prison officials engaged the suspected hoodlums in a gun duel.
The exact figures of the inmates who escaped could not be confirmed by the NCoS spokesperson, AC Njoku, as of late Monday.
There are also indications on Tuesday that some plainclothes operatives from the state police command and NCoS were searching for the fleeing inmates.
Meanwhile, security was beefed up at strategic locations and government buildings such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other banks located along Akpakpava Road and the two NCoS centres on Benin-Sapele Road and Airport Road respectively.
Some motorists and pedestrians were turned back by the security operatives for failure to explain their mission to their various destinations.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has warned that the 24-hour (round-the-clock) curfew imposed in the state on October 19, subsists till further notice.
Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to the state governor on Media and Communication Strategy, in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, urged parents and guardians to restrain their children, wards, and youths from flouting the order, as security agencies would not spare any errant individual.
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Mr Osagie said, “As such, everyone is expected to remain indoors. Security agencies have been deployed in the streets to ensure full compliance and anyone found contravening the directive will be dealt with according to the law.”
He said the curfew was imposed on Monday when the #ENDSARS protests turned violent, leading to two jailbreaks and the burning of at least five police stations within the Benin metropolis, as well as various degrees of public disturbances in other major cities across the state.
“The authorities are yet to confirm the total number of inmates released to the streets, as investigations are still ongoing, which necessitate the shutdown in the state,” he added.
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