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MD of NPA breaks silence, recounts how hoodlums looted properties before burning building

For days the outcry of youths shouting #EndSARS and end police brutality rang out at various locations in Lagos. The youths who trooped out in…

For days the outcry of youths shouting #EndSARS and end police brutality rang out at various locations in Lagos.

The youths who trooped out in protest, took over strategic locations in the state. They took over the roads leading to government house, Alausa as well as Lekki tollgate for days. They danced and eat by the side of the road while vowing to use their strength to ensure that they put an end to police brutality.

A cross section of cars that were burnt when urchins invaded the corporate office of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Marina, Lagos recently during the #EndSARS protests.

Social media buzzed for days with protest notes calling on others to join. The protest has been holding for about a week non-stop until what hitherto appeared to be peaceful, took a violent dimension on Monday, October 12, 2020 when urchins took over and started unleashing terror on the city of Lagos.

The protest paralyzed economic activities in major parts of Ikeja, Lekki, Surulere, Magodo and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. vehicular movements were halted by the protesters.

The protesters defied the presence of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, also attempted to force their way into Tin-Can Island Seaport, but for the timely intervention of the police and the military, the protesters would have brought to a halt commercial activities at one.of the nation’s oldest ports.

To ensure that port operations continued unhindered, Usman ordered for a fresh deployment of security Operatives to beef up security around the Lagos Port complexes.

While all attention was focused at protecting the Seaports, little did the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) know that the arsonists, under the guise of #EndSARS protest, would shift attention to its Corporate Head Office, force their way in and looted computers, refrigerators, chairs, air-conditioners before setting the building on fire.

The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, while conducting media men on a tour of the building, said on hearing the news, she drew strength in the fact that as a Nigerian she won’t allow the destruction affect her negatively but to stay focused.

She said, though the attack on NPA by urchins was  regrettable but that she found joy in the fact that port operation continued despite the attack.

The NPA boss revealed that the determination of management to ensure that all went well was typical of the Nigerian spirit.

She said by the time the dust settled about 27 vehicles, office furnitures, files and computers were completely burnt.

She said that paramount from the attack was that it did not affect the Organization’s information computer technology (ICT) facilities, adding that the critical component of operation was saved and as such the incident did not  interrupt  the organisation’s network.

According to her , within 24 hours of the attack, NPA was able to resume its vital   operations at the ports, while management is  ensuring that all its  critical information and payment system  were not affected .

She revealed however that all the NPA’s assets are insured , pointing out that for now, the insurers and have been invited for assessment of what was lost, and that the management is in the process of making due claims , while it is only when those experts are through with their work that the actual value of what was lost would be known until cleaning is completely and proper auditing is done.

Giving a graphic account of what happened, Usman said: “The attack on the Tincan Island Port commenced at 9:45am on Tuesday October 20th 2020. The hoodlums made an attempt to forcefully gain access into the port, attacked the administrative building and set ablaze a truck which was evacuating cargo.

It took the combined effort of officers of the port authority police, the police mobile force and the Nigerian Customs Service to repel the attack.

“The attacker’s at the headquarters numbering over 300 persons, gained access into the premises at 8:42am on Wednesday October 21st 2020 from the outer Broad Street wing brandishing daggers, sticks and cutlasses.

“After attacking, disarming and chasing the security personnel on duty out of the headquarters premises, the attackers proceeded to burn and vandalise several vehicles belonging to the Authority and some members of staff. They thereafter set a wing of the office on fire.”

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