Operatives of the Ojodu Abiodun Police Station in the Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State were stunned on Sunday as some youths invaded the division and vandalised property.
The assailants reportedly broke into the cell of the station, freed detained suspects and carted away some valuables, including television sets and seized motorcycles.
Cars parked beside the station were also destroyed.
Punch Metro learnt that the youths, in a large number, stormed the station around 1pm in retaliation for the shooting of a youth.
It was gathered that a team of policemen had raided a black spot in the Yakoyo area on Saturday, when they were confronted by some hoodlums.
The team was said to have responded with gunshots during which the victim, Dada Omotoye, who was relaxing in front of his house, was hit by a bullet.
He was said to have been rushed to a private hospital in the community.
On Sunday, some angry youths were said to have mobilised to a checkpoint along the Alagbole under bridge, but were repelled by the operatives on duty.
They allegedly regrouped in numbers and attacked the division around 1pm.
There was tension when Punch correspondent visited the police station around 2pm on Sunday as armed men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad were seen patrolling the area.
It was observed that glasses of the station’s windows had been shattered, while its charge room was in a shambles. An electricity box at the entrance of the charge room was also destroyed.
Windscreens and side glasses of four vehicles parked beside the division were vandalised. Two of the cars reportedly belonged to policemen at the station.
Punch Metro also observed that broken bottles littered a section of the premises, while a television set was smashed by the station gate.
Punch correspondent heard an armed policeman in mufti, telling a man that there were a few operatives on the ground when the hoodlums struck.
He said, “We were caught unawares. It was only the S.O. (Station Officer), one or two policemen and me that were at the station when they (the hoodlums) came. They were about 200. They entered my office and removed my TV set. They went to other offices and stole TV sets. They carted away some seized motorcycles on the premises. Their intention was to burn the station, but we were able to disperse them.”
An FSARS operative was also heard lamenting that the hoodlums freed some suspects in the police custody.
Some panic-stricken residents approached by our correspondent declined comments on the incident.
Punch correspondent, however, eavesdropped on a crowd discussing the attack in hushed tones.
One of them said, “They did not find any stolen property on the boy. Why did they shoot him? Will his parents be happy to lose him? I don’t blame the hoodlums for attacking the station. I am even happy that they freed people in the cell. Maybe some of them were arrested for offences they did not commit.”
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the shooting of the resident and attack on the division.
Oyeyemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the perpetrators of the attack would be tracked down and brought to justice.
He said, “There is a black spot in that area, where hoodlums smoke Indian hemp and carry out all sorts of unlawful activities. There have been complaints from residents of the area. That was why the police went to raid the place. It was a raid, involving men from other divisions around the Ojodu Abiodun division, aimed at flushing out those hoodlums.
“In the process, the hoodlums attacked the policemen, throwing bottles and attacking them with cutlasses. A bullet ricocheted and hit somebody while the policemen were firing to scare the hoodlums away. The man sustained a minor injury and was taken to a hospital. He is responding to treatment. He is not among the hoodlums.
“Today (Sunday), the hoodlums moblised themselves and attacked the station. They damaged the station and stole some property. We have identified those behind that dastardly act and we will get them arrested. We will use them as a lesson to those who have the habit of attacking stations. It is an affront on the security agents and they will face the full wrath of the law. If any policeman errs, we have internal mechanism of dealing with them.”
The PPRO said the freed suspects had reported back to the station.