Police stage show of force to warn hoodlums, express worry over protests
Tension in Osun community, Ilesa as security operatives stage a show of force in the early hours of Friday to showcase their readiness to forestall breakdown of law and order as some residents plan to storm public places to protest fuel and money scarcity.
This comes up after some aggrieved citizens on Thursday evening allegedly attacked two filling stations namely Emiloju and Holas situated in Oke-Omiru, Ilesa, Osun State.
It was learnt that there was disruption infront of United Bank of Africa (UBA) as residents struggle to use ATM machines which led to slight destruction of properties while some residents also fought within the premises of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN).
According to unofficial sources, some persons are planning to storm streets and show their grievances over scarcity of fuel and new Naira notes.
A reliable security source told this reporter that some unidentified persons blocked major junctions with big stones, tyres and wood which restricted free flow of vehicles.
It was further learnt that they also highlighted some public places to stage protest to display their grievances over the current situation of the country.
A 32-year-old woman simply identified as Morenike (not real name) told WITHIN NIGERIA that some unidentified young men were the ones who came very early to block our junction with woods and stones to prevent free movement of vehicles and motorcycles.
According to the woman, they were in rush and did not spend much time to block these major junctions before they took their leave.
When this reporter moved around the Ilesa metropolis, patrol vehicles of Iperindo Division, Ayeso Division and Ijamo Division could be seen at strategic places. He observed that soldiers filled up another patrol vehicle and some shops were not entirely open.
Shop owners are extremely fearful over the safety of their goods while people who were at the ATMs to withdraw funds were at alert to leave their respective positions.
A top cop who prefers to be anonymous told WITHIN NIGERIA that there is no new thing happening within the Ilesa metropolis because it is a general phenomenon.
‘There is tension everywhere. There is only one UBA branch in the entire Ilesa metropolis against the number of bank users. People also protested infront of First Bank Plc too due to scarcity of new Naira notes. These are no new things to us. However, we are providing immediate response to every situation despite being affected by the fuel and money scarcity, he stressed.
While speaking on attacks on fuel stations, the police source revealed that the police have met with the Okada riders leadership and representatives of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria within the Ilesa metropolis.
IPMAN representatives claimed that they sell fuel in varying prices because they did not buy it in same rate or means. They also vowed not to sell fuel due to threats from Okada riders. The police intervened in the matter, asked both parties to allow peace to prevail in their engagement and both parties resolved to allow peace to reign, he added.
“This is a volatile period. We can only do our best to ensure it does not escalate beyond control. We’ve staged a show of force to inform those who intend to cause trouble that we are ready for them. Just yesterday, some police operatives were sent away by the people when they visited one of the banks to advise or caution them against violence. The people would surely react. It’s mandatory”.
The top cop while advising the government to address these serious issues before they boomerang urged the people to remain calm so that hoodlums or criminal elements would not take advantage of the situation.
People are more than the police. They outnumbered us. The collective anger of determined men sometimes is a difficult nut to crack. We still remember the ENDSARS and its effects. Most businesses including persons have not recovered. Hence, the government must do the needful, he concluded.
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