A police officer and three other persons died on Thursday as hoodlums attacked various police stations in Anambra State.
The police officer, whose name is yet to be ascertained, was killed and burnt by hoodlums in Nnewi, Anambra State.
Police spokesperson, Haruna Mohammed, in a situation report, said three other people suffered various degrees of injuries.
He said the victims were rushed to hospital for medical attention, adding that they were responding to treatment.
He said five persons were attacked in Onitsha and taken to hospital for medical attention, where three have been confirmed dead while two others were receiving treatment.
He further disclosed that the protesters attacked Nnewi police station, set it ablaze and vandalised patrol vehicles and other property.
Mr Haruna listed other police formations attacked to include Nnewi Area Command, 3-3 Division, Ogbunike/ Isiuwulu, Nnobi, and Itchy divisions as well as Peoples Club police post.
The statement by the police reads: “On the 21/10/2020 at about 11:30 pm hoodlums in large number under the guise of “END SARS” protesters attacked Nnewi Police Station, set it ablaze and vandalised patrol vehicles and other exhibits but were prevented from assessing the armoury to cart away arm due to strong resistance placed by police men on duty.
“Similarly, on the 22/10/2020 between 3:30am and 5:pm,the hoodlums in large number equally attacked Nnewi Area Command,3-3 Division,Ogbunike/ Isiuwulu, Nnobi, and Itchy Divisions as well as peoples club police post, burnt Police vehicles and set the facilities ablaze carting away exhibits kept at the divisions.
“Meanwhile, one police officer was beheaded and burnt to ashes while three others sustained various degrees of injuries. The injured police officers were rushed to the hospital for medical attention and they are responding to treatment,” he said.
The spokesman said seven other police stations in the state namely, CPS/Area Command Onitsha, Ogidi, Awada, Inland Town and B Divisions successfully repelled the attacks and chased the hoodlums away.
“Also, police operatives in collaboration with members of the communities comprising youth, vigilante and community leaders at Okpoko, CPS Awka, Oraifite, Otolo, Amichi and Oba vehemently resisted attempts by the hoodlums to attack the police stations.
“However, five persons were attacked in Onitsha and taken to the hospital for medical attention where three have been confirmed dead by the medical doctor while two others are receiving treatment,” he said.
Mr Haruna said other government property burnt or destroyed include High Court Ogidi, Idemili North local council secretariat while the Zik statue at DMGS roundabout was vandalised.
The spokesman said some arrests were also made by the police.
Meanwhile, the state governor, Willie Obiano, has declared a 24-hour curfew in the state, beginning 8pm Thursday, to curtail the outbreak of violence in the state.
The governor made the announcement during a statewide broadcast.
According to the governor, the curfew has become necessary due to unpleasant incidents recorded so far, as well as rising tension in the land.
He declared that all schools and markets in the state be closed down, adding that all large gatherings in any form are banned.
While describing the anger of the #EndSARS protesters as justifiable, Governor Obiano charged youths in the state not to resort to violence.
“I am immensely proud of what you have achieved so far. But we must not succumb to the morbid attractions of violence; no matter the provocation, no matter how justified our anger and no matter how easy it all might seem. Violence does not yield fruitful results,” he said.
He said security agencies are on notice to do the needful, asking them to resist all efforts to provoke them to use extreme force.
“All law enforcement officers charged with ensuring compliance to the restriction on movement must resist the temptation of applying excessive force while attempting to bring the situation under control.
“We cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes that created the problem we are trying to solve in the first place,” he said
Mr Obiano assured all non-indigenes living in the state of their safety and security promising that “the government of Anambra State will not allow you to come to any harm.”
The governor called on stakeholders including the clergy, traditional rulers, youth leaders, among others, to lend their voices and help address the escalating situation.
He revealed that the sum of N200 million has been approved to compensate families of those affected by SARS brutality in the state.
He concluded that this is not the time for destructive rumours, but a time to unite and keep Anambra safe.