Looting: Arrested culprits to be duly prosecuted – FCT Minister vows

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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Minister of the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has expressed extreme displeasure at the looting and damage to property by the hoodlums and other criminal elements in the wake of the ENDSARS protests, while pledged that the arrested culprits will be duly prosecuted.

The Minister disclosed this on Wednesday, while making a tour to assess the level of damage done to some of the factories and warehouses in the area of Idu Industrial Zone, Abuja on Tuesday, 27th October 2020.

The Minister who was accompanied by the heads of the various security agencies and military formations in the FCT, traditional, community and business leaders as well as senior staff members of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

Malam Bello assured that the FCT Administration was working with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the Idu Industrial Zone is protected because it is the industrial nerve center of the city where thousands of residents are employed along the manufacturing value chain.

He called on the residents of the community especially staff of the affected companies to be vigilant and volunteer information to the security authorities as to the possible identity of the looters adding that discussions were being held with the community leaders in the area with the intention of tracking and recovering the looted items.

He urged the business owners to cooperate with and work very closely with the security agencies for the recovery of the looted items, many of which he said are specialized machines and equipment that cannot be easily disposed of.

The Minister also asked them to be more security conscious even as efforts are made to beef up the security of the area. He said “All these shanties attached to the walls of factories shouldn’t be here because once they are here, you don’t know who is there.

“They are neither staff, they are neither people from the city. But if it is inside the factory, we know they are staff. So, this is one area we have to work together with you to clear everything so that whoever is here is somebody that is meant to be here”.

Also speaking, the FCT Commissioner of Police Bala Ciroma said that the police command had deployed personnel to the area and had arrested over 71 suspected looters, vandals and hoodlums and recovered some of the stolen items.

He said “. We have adopted a very strong strategy in most of our neighboring villages where we are liaising with the villages there. Wherever they see items stolen and hidden in the forest, we will be going there to recover them. The company officials are also cooperating with us and giving us every necessary assistance to recover most of the items”.

The Chairman of the Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger Branch of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Odun Emasealu who accompanied the FCT Minister on the tour commended the efforts of the FCTA in containing the situation during the vandalisation of warehouses and factories.

He said “As manufacturers, we invest a lot and we do much to keep commerce going. We now know that we have support from the administration and they actually came. In fact, as at yesterday, while the looting was going on, the Hon. Minister was in touch with us, calling more than 10, 15 times, calling all of us to ensure that we are at peace and today, he has come to see for himself.

“This is a big encouragement for all the manufacturers and we promise that we will keep investing and keep doing our best to employ a lot of these youths and create a peaceful place for us to live. On behalf of MAN and the Executive Council, we are very impressed and once again, we say thank you”.

The business owners commended the timely intervention of the security agencies, stating that the damages to their property could have been much worse as the hoodlums were forced to flee on the arrival of the security personnel.

On the entourage of the FCT Minister were the representatives of the Army Garrison Command, Brigade of Guards, the FCT Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Mathias Ohiemi, The Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister Malam Bashir Mai-Bornu, The Executive Secretary of the FCDA Engr Umar Gambo Jibrin, the Chief of Jiwa, Alh. Idris Musa, amongst others.

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