… Says 13 cars burnt beyond repair, 38 severely damaged
By Luminous Jannamike
The auto dealer whose car mart was burnt down in the Apo district of Abuja, Mr. Obiora Eze, has said he miraculously escaped the clutches of the hoodlums with only one car.
The inferno, which occurred around 3;30pm on Monday, left 13 of his cars burnt beyond remedy, and about 37 were severely vandalized.
The hoodlums also destroyed several shops, properties, and valuables around the Apo Mechanic Village, where the incident occurred. In addition, they left several people injured.
According to eyewitnesses, the incident was caused by hoodlums opposed to the #EndSARS protest in the area.
Speaking exclusively with our correspondent, on Tuesday, in Abuja, Obiora said the incident was a shock.
The 51-year-old tycoon explained that he and his friend, one Abdulfatai, were having a business meeting, when some people, who informed them of the mayhem perpetrated by thugs who sought after the #EndSARS protesters. .
He stated, “We were having a business discussion when some youths rushed in, and told us that the thugs had begun to attack innocent people on the street.
“I then ended the meeting abruptly, rushed outside to see what was happening. As I stood thinking about what to do, about 30 young men stormed my car stand and started shattering the windshields of the vehicles on display.
“My friend and I quickly got into one of the cars and by the time the gave us a chase, I had made good our escape. So, they set ablaze the other cars.
“Out of 49 cars I left behind, 13 were burnt beyond remedy while about 36 were severely damaged. I had to tow the damaged cars to a safer location, this morning.”
Reeling out a long list of the exotic cars that were destroyed, Obiora, who is a native of Nsukka in Enugu state, lamented his loss, saying some customers had made deposits on some of the burnt cars
“I have not eaten since yesterday. I couldn’t not close my eyes to sleep. How can I? Those who perpetrated this mayhem have finished me.
“My estimated loss is about N78 million. My lawyer came this morning and I have brief him.
“My only offence was that #EndSARS protesters staged their rally on the road leading to my car stand. I neither joined the protest nor stopped anyone from exercising their rights. I’m finished.
“Some people have made deposits for some of the burnt cars. A particular customer gave me N3million two weeks ago with a promise to balance up and pick his car on November 10. Now, the car is no more. What am I going to do?
Obiora, who was not physically hurt in the attack, said no government official had visited nor spoken with him as at 5:00pm on Tuesday.
He, however, called on good-spirited individuals and organizations to come to his aid.
Meanwhile, at least one person was killed and many others injured, on Tuesday, following a fresh outbreak of violence in Waru settlement, Apo district of Abuja.
The civil disturbance which began at about 8:00am left properties worth millions of Naira destroyed.
Some residents said trouble started as #EndSARS protesters were resuming their daily demonstrations against police brutality within the district.
However, a combined team of soldiers and the police have moved to Waru, where a thick pillar of smoke billowed at about 11:15am, to arrest the violence and restore peace in the area.
The security agents have also barricaded some roads leading the epicentre of the attacks.
Speaking with Vanguard, an eyewitness who preferred not to be named, said the man who died was warned against proceeding to Waru settlement Tuesday morning because hoodlums had reportedly laid an ambush for #EndSARS protesters in the area.
“We warned the man who was killed not proceed into Waru. We watched from a distance how the hoodlums killed him.
“They plonked him in the head with a 2-by-2 wood, and as soon as he fell to the ground, they mobbed him to death.
“The Army and police have moved into Waru to calm the situation, but I’m certain as soon as they leave the violence will start again,” he said.
As a result of the tensed atmosphere in the area, the source added that many women and children have fled the area to safer districts.
Meanwhile, many young men resident in Apo and its environs were seen moving about the streets with weapons of all sorts for self-defense.
The fresh attacks came barely 24 hours after hoodlums razed over 50 cars in a car mart, and vandalized many valuables in the area amid the #EndSARS protests in the nation’s capital.
Since October 6, some Nigerians begun street protests for reform in the police.
On multiple occasions, the protesters have been confronted by thugs while police officers have resorted to flogging or using teargas to disperse them.