#ENDSARS: Police clampdown on looters, recover more items

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The Lagos State Police Command has commenced clampdown on suspects who looted public and private properties during violence protests that followed the #ENDSARS protests in the state.

Commissioner of Police (CP) Hakeem Odumosu said the culprits were being picked up following analysis of videos that showed looting and destruction of properties in different parts of the state.

He disclosed this Tuesday while parading 789 suspects arrested during raids of black spots carried out and arrest of 357 vehicles, 480 motorcycles alleged to have violated traffic laws in the state between November 12 and 16.

According to him, some items looted during the violence were recovered including a generator belonging to the Area Command, Ajah as well as electronics stolen from shops.

Giving updates on the initial 560 suspects arrested in connection with murder, arson, house breaking and looting cases recorded during the violence, Odumosu said 435 were prosecuted, 48 are still under investigation while 82 were released after screening.

“The command has re-launched its strategies to fight crimes and criminality across the state and bring to book the hoodlums that hijacked the #ENDSARS protest in the state. Most of the hoodlums were highly suspected to have been responsible for killing, burning both public and private facilities including police stations, stealing and looting shopping outlets as most of their faces were identified in the videos of the atrocities.

“On 15th November, 2020, the command commenced raiding of identified black spots in all the 14 Area Commands in Lagos State where 798 suspects were arrested. Incriminating items recovered from the suspects included locally-made guns and life cartridges, substances suspected to be cocaine, weeds suspected to be Marijuana and some items looted from the Ajah Area Command and stations that were burnt by hoodlums during the recent ENDSARS violence in Lagos State. “The suspects have been handed over to the State CID, Panti, for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.

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Odumosu noted with dismay, the flagrant violation of the Lagos Traffic Law by both private and commercial motorists, a trend he attributed to the violence and lawlessness that preceded the #ENDSARS protests.

“It is not out of point to state that the aftermath of the #ENDSARS violence in the state has, to an extent, encouraged lawlessness, gross violation and disregard of traffic rules across the state. This has been so worrisome due to the upsurge in road crashes and accidents that have claimed many lives, rendered many injured and properties destroyed in the state.

“The Police Command has also observed that the violation of traffic rules by both private and public owners of vehicles, motorcycles and tricycles has been detrimental and inimical to social and economic development and general security of the state. These are not acceptable any longer.

“The command wishes to reiterate and remind the public of the major traffic regulations, as contained in the Transport Sector Law of Lagos State (2018) which will be religiously enforced by the command in conjunction with other security agencies.

“Driving in a direction prohibited by the law/neglect of traffic directions, that is ‘One Way’, attracts forfeiture of vehicle to the state government, under Part 111, item 27 of the Transport Sector Law of Lagos State (2018).

“Use of BRT lite Corridor attracts a fine of N20, 000 for first offender, under Part 111, item 45 and 46 of the Transport Sector Law of Lagos State (2018). Willful obstruction on highway attracts a fine of N50, 000 in addition to cost of towing.

“Illegal U-Turn attracts a fine of N20, 000 for first offender. In addition to the few above-stated traffic offences, the Police Command shall fully enforce every provision of the Transport Sector Law of Lagos State (2018).

Giving details on the seized vehicles, the police boss said 302 were private and 55 commercial. He said 132 private vehicles were held for plying against traffic, 168 for using BRT land and two for obstruction.

Similarly, 46 commercial vehicles were impounded for driving against traffic; six for using BRT lane and three allegedly obstructed traffic, adding that 42 of the vehicles had already been forfeited to the state.

Stressing that the command would not condone traffic offenders, Odumosu said 1,000 cops have already been deployed for traffic control and enforcement during this ember months.

He said Special Anti-One-Way Taskforce has been established at the Area Commands comprising Police, LASTMA and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) while a special unit on Anti-One-Way has been established within the Lagos State Taskforce and Government Monitoring Team (GMT).

“They are all empowered and directed to fully go after One-Way vehicular traffic and okada violators. They are being accompanied by Mobile Court for instant trail and media teams for coverage and exposure of One-Way violators to the world.

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“The command wishes to warn the public that henceforth, any vehicle, motorcycle and tricycle plying BRT lanes and/or driving “One Way” will be impounded and forfeited to the government respectively while the owners will be charged to court.

“Equally, those who are in the habit of repairing their faulty vehicles on the road/spots where they get spoilt and create avoidable traffic obstruction must desist from this as full wrath of the law will henceforth be applied

“It’s criminal for anyone to cover his number plates on his vehicle and use siren. The command will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute any violator or criminal. Same goes to the use of siren.

“It is high time we started restoring sanity to the system of Lagos State and maintain law and order. The Police Command will not condone any act of lawlessness or criminality that is capable of crippling social and economic activities and general security of the state.

“While we urge the public to respect the law and accord necessary cooperation to the police, the command will leave no stone unturned to provide adequate security for all and sundry in Lagos State, particular during and beyond the yuletide season,” he said.

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