The anti-fuel/Naira scarcity protest in Ibadan turned bloody on its second day (Saturday) after one person was shot dead by security personnel.
Some hoodlums, according to the police in Ibadan, had attacked the security personnel while on patrol around Apata junction market.
Long queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) persisted across the country as people raced against time to dispose of their old Naira notes and collect new ones before the 10 February deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The police in Oyo and Kwara States said intelligence at their disposal suggested plots by some people to attack banks and public facilities over the scarcity.
The Ibadan security team had embarked on the patrol to keep the peace following the eruption of protests in parts of the city on Friday. However, one of the patrol teams ran into the hoodlums who were said to have perfected plans to molest residents, harass shop owners, and loot shops.
On sighting the combined security convoy, the suspected hoodlums allegedly began firing guns, hurling stones, sharp objects, and other dangerous missiles at the team.
A spokesperson for the Oyo State Police Command, Superintendent of Police Adewale Osifeso, who confirmed the development in a statement, said the team “arrested the situation with reasonable force in line with police standard operational procedure”.
According to him, only the calmness and professional conduct displayed by the security operatives prevented the provocation from claiming more lives.
He said: “The Oyo State Police Command wishes to unequivocally reassert its resolve to maintain the relative tranquility in the state despite pockets of protests witnessed in some parts of the metropolis under the capital.
“Recall the Command issued an advisory via a press release dated Friday 03/02/2023 with the intent to intimate residents about concluded plans of some criminal elements to destabilize and completely bring to a halt economic activities in the state by launching coordinated attacks on critical infrastructures to include INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) facilities, banks, correctional centres, religious centres, landmarks, recreational centres, shopping malls, business centres, public spaces and other places of interest under the guise of protesting the scarcity of fuel and paucity of cash for dispense at ATM machines and Point of Sales terminals.
“Consequent on the above stated, Oyo State Police Command in concert with relevant sister agencies embarked on high octane joint convoy patrols simultaneously across the nooks and crannies of the state with the sole purpose of ridding the environs of undesirable elements with sinister motives of hijacking the situation to make criminal proceeds.
“Today Saturday, 04/02/2023 at about 1015hrs, while embarking on a series of confidence-building patrols around different black spots and flash points, the joint convoy patrol comprising the police and other agencies ran into a band of hoodlums around Apata Junction Market, Apata Area under Ido Local Government Area.
“In a rather surprising event, the hoodlums, who had perfected plans to molest residents, harass shop owners, and loot shops, on sighting the combined convoy of security, launched a series of unprovoked attacks by firing guns, hurling stones, sharp objects and other dangerous missiles at them.
“The trained officers, cautious of the level of casualties that might be recorded should they engage at the location, resorted to restraints and professionally took charge at the scene while arresting the situation with reasonable force in line with standard operational procedure.
“However, during the rage, an individual identified to have been a member of a vigilante group and who was reported to have died in the fiasco has since been deposited at a government hospital for post-mortem.
“Meanwhile normalcy has since returned to the area with heavy deployment of patrol teams and other tactical assets visibly on ground”.