N205m lost to hoodlums as shop owners count losses

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Novare-loot

Shop owners at the Novare Shopping Mall, Sangotedo, PEP Stores, Surulere in Lagos and MTN Office in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, were counting their losses on Wednesday.

It was in the aftermath of the attacks on their premises by some angry youths, who were protesting xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and their businesses in South Africa.

The youths raided stores at the three facilities.

A firm, Timekeepers Store at the Novare Mall estimated the value of the goods looted and destroyed at the ware point at over N200 million.

A call to the company, picked by a woman, who pleaded anonymity, said the hoodlums forced their way into the locked store and went away with expensive wrist watches and sun glasses.

She said: “When we noticed the crisis, we locked our outlet and all our workers left. We were not there but they broke into the store and looted our wares. We deal in several brands of wrist watches and sun glasses worth millions of naira. The items were either damaged or stolen”.

“I’m sure it’s over N200 million.  The government should do something urgently about this. Is there a way all lost can be returned? The government should act fast, because in the light of what had happened, we are not helping ourselves.”

According to her, the company belongs to a Nigerian, a Yoruba man.

“I don’t know why we should attack ourselves, damage things we own, injure our own people and say we are retaliating the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.

“Our youths are not learned enough and they need to be reoriented because the damage made no sense. They have only caused more damage; they have not resolved any problem. They have rendered so many people jobless”, she said.

In Akwa Ibom, properties worth over N5 million were destroyed by irate youths, who attacked the MTN office on Ikot Ekpene Road in Uyo, the state capital.

MTN Sales representative in Uyo, Idongesit Nkereuwem, listed the affected items as computers, staff phones, customers’ phones, windows and glasses among others.

The sales representative said: “The irate youths ordered people out of the office while they destroyed computers, stole money and customer’s phones but nobody was injured during the incident”

“They ordered staff and customers out of the office and we ran away through the back doors for safety.”

Nkereuwem said the youths came with cutlasses, axes, sticks and other weapons to vandalise MTN offices across the state.

Police Public Relations Officers, Odiko Mac-Don, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said the Commissioner of Police had ordered security beef up in Uyo.

There was panic at Adeniran Ogunsanya and Bode Thomas in Surulere, Lagos as police officers prevented hoodlums, numbering over 30 from setting the Shoprite Mall ablaze.

The hoodlums burnt some used tyres and littered the area with broken bottles and sticks.

They confronted the police, asking the officers to allow them access into the mall.

The policemen got infuriated as the hoodlums became more aggressive; they shot teargas to disperse them.

In the process, four persons were arrested.

The Shoprite Mall in Surulere was shut as well as many offices close to the facility – First Bank, Polaris Bank, Eco Bank, LG, Samsung and Steps Exclusive, among others.

The two MTN offices and the PEP store on Bode Thomas were attacked. The goods at the store, including clothes, shoes, tables, chairs, laptops and desktops, were looted.

One of the hoodlums said they were fighting for their rights as citizens.

He said: “We learnt that our fellow Nigerians are dying in the hands of the South Africans; so, we want to retaliate and destroy all of their properties here in Surulere. We have destroyed Shoprite, two of the MTN offices and PEP.

“The police refuse to let us enter; we gave them 10 minutes, if they don’t allow us to enter, we will forcefully go in and finish what we started yesterday (Tuesday). We came with petrol and matches, stick, bottles. In the middle of the incident the police shot one of us in the chest’

“We are ready to destroy everything here right now and we do not care about the restrictions from the policemen”.

A worker at the KFC, an eatery outlet inside the Mall said they were loading the chicken to other KFC outlets to prevent them from being spoilt.

“Since activities have been shut down in this Shoprite branch of KFC, we have to move out basically our chicken to preserve them,” the worker said