As wanton destruction and looting of public and private property by hoodlums continued unabated across the country, politicians, senior government officials, and party chieftains are reportedly running helter-skelter to avoid being victims of the rampaging mobs, Daily Independent has gathered.
Our correspondent gathered that some wealthy Nigerians are becoming increasingly alarmed by the growing lawlessness which was a direct aftermath of the #ENDSARS protests.
The crisis, which was a fall-out of the anger that trailed the shooting of some #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, took a frightening dimension when hungry and angry Nigerians started turning their attention from government property towards the assets of the rich in their states.
One of the first victims of the unrestricted looting was Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos.
Despite the presence of soldiers, hoodlums ransacked the palace of the monarch, stripped everything bare, and went away with his staff of office.
The monarch was also ferried to safety by soldiers when the hoodlums attempted to burn down the palace.
The rampaging mob later went to the residence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), at Bourdillon, in the Ikoyi area of Lagos.
Initially, Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, was said to have fled to France but he denied the claim during a visit to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday.
Other politicians who have suffered similar fate are serving and former federal lawmakers from Cross River State, including Senators Victor Ndoma-Egba and Gershom Bassey.
Senator Teslim Folarin, lawmaker representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, equally suffered huge losses when a large crowd of people broke into his Ibadan residence and looted it completely.
The residence of Sanai Agunbiade, the majority leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, was not spared as it was stripped bare while the hoodlums made away with his vital documents.
Our correspondent gathered that attempts by some state governors to make use of soldiers was futile as they were overwhelmed by the angry mob.
The development has sent shivers down the spines of many politicians and wealthy Nigerians as they appeared hopeless.
Many of them have resorted to the use of thugs to secure their homes while others have employed the services of militia groups such as the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), hunters and local vigilante to secure their businesses and homes.
Confirming the development on Sunday, Iba Gani Adams, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, in an interview with Arise Television, monitored by Daily Independent said the pressure on him by politicians and wealthy Nigerians seeking the services of OPC members had been enormous.
Adams, who was the National Coordinator of the OPC before his elevation as Aare Ona Kakanfo, said he had been receiving calls from states outside Lagos, from politicians seeking the deployment of OPC members to their homes for security.
He said: “The pressure on me in the last one week is enormous; both from within and outside the country, and I tried to explain to them that there is a limit to what I can do about the internal security challenges.
“Those who do not know the importance of OPC would have done so now with what happened in the last three days.
“I slept by 4a.m today. Apart from the communities that engaged the services of the OPC to secure their environments, most of the police formations that were not burnt, about 50 percent of them, were jointly protected by the police and OPC.
Community leaders who before now did not know that OPC existed have called for the support of OPC members when these hoodlums started looting.
“Even in states like Oyo, Ondo, Osun, and others, some powerful politicians started calling me yesterday evening for assistance because they are afraid that their houses and businesses could be attacked.
“I don’t even think the number of OPC men we have on the ground can do what they were requesting us to do.”
Speaking on the solutions to the crisis, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a former Minister of Transport, said the best approach was for the government to appease young Nigerians and talk to them on the need to embrace peace.
Babatope, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said President Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast to the nation further worsened the crisis rather than ameliorate it.
“I think what can be done by everyone, not just by the government, is for us to ensure that we sue for peace.
“We must appeal to all those who are making problems to desist and accept peace. Our leaders must also ensure that justice is done to all.
“The speech of the president has not helped the situation but that does not mean that he can still not remedy it and change it to appeasement.
“We must appease these angry people in order to achieve unity. The situation right now is very frightening and we need to put all hands together so that we don’t worsen the situation in the country.”
Sharing the same view, Monday Ubani, a former second vice president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), suggested that aside remorseful statements from politicians, practical steps must also be taken to drastically reduce the jumbo pay of politicians and channel the money into the development of the nation.
“I think the kind of statements that proceed from political office holders will go a long way. What we need to hear now is remorseful sayings from politicians who have messed up the lives of these young ones”.
“Government must also take practical steps, especially cutting the salaries of political office holders. These guys are living in affluence while the majority of Nigerians are finding it difficult to eat one square meal a day.
“In the light of this, you still show them affluence and arrogance in the way you do things. I believe that these amendments that these young Nigerians are demanding must be immediate.
“I don’t like this arrogant way of approaching issues and then trying to hide facts and shift blames to those who are peacefully protesting,” he said.