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EndSARS: 2 years after, Oyo police station still in ruins

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The 23rd of October 2020 is a day that people in Ogungbade, Kukumoda, Aba Igbira, Amero, Papa, and Adeji won’t soon forget.

Residents of the communities still think back on that day because one of the projects they had funded was demolished.

In the Egbeda Local Area of Ibadan, the capital of State, the communities are situated along the brand-new Ife/Ibadan Expressway.

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It was the day that the only police station in the local government area, Ogungbade, which served more than thirty (30) communities, caught fire.

The new Ife/Ibadan expressway is only a little over a kilometer from the police station.

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The landlords in these communities had invested their money to build the police station a few years ago as a way to lower the rate of armed robbers in their areas, according to an investigation by Ejes Gist during a recent visit to the communities.

However, the people’s wish was curtailed on Friday, October 23, 2020, when some criminals used the demonstrations as cover to torch the police station.

Protests against SARS

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A few weeks before the protests that erupted in Nigeria’s major cities and towns, what became known as the EndSARS protests made headlines.

The demonstrations, which caused economic disruption in major cities, have been called the best-organized youth protests in Nigeria in recent memory.

EndSARS is described by Wikipedia as a decentralized social movement and a string of large-scale demonstrations against police brutality in Nigeria.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a division of the Nigerian Police with a long history of alleged abuse of Nigerian citizens’ rights, is to be disbanded, according to the slogan.

Residents claim that protesters used EndSARS as an excuse to burn down the Ogungbade police station.

Some irate youths used the ENDSARS demonstrations as an opportunity to torch the police station.

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According to the locals, the community members self-financed the construction of the police station.

According to the locals, the communities contributed about five million naira toward the cost of the police station (N5m).

In spite of repeated requests from the landlords on that fateful day, the police station was reportedly burned to the ground by the hoodlums.

Early on Friday, October 23, 2020—after the residents who had protected the police station from invasion had left—the police station caught fire.

Although they kept watch until 12 am on Friday to stop the thugs from torching the police station the day before (Thursday, October 22, 2020), many of the residents were shocked to wake up to find their investment on fire.

This is how the Ogungbade police station in Oyo State, which is a police station under the Egbeda Divisional Police Headquarters, was destroyed by fire.

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According to Ejes Gist News’s investigations, between Tuesday, October 20, and Friday, October 23, 2020, seven (7) police stations in Oyo State were either completely or partially burned during the EndSARS protests.

Only one police station is located in Iseyin, compared to six (6) in Ibadan.

Ogungbade Police Station, Ojoo Police Station, Iseyin Police Station, Egbeda Divisional Headquarters, Gbagi, Adelubi Police Station, Alabebe Police Station, and Akobo Police Station are the affected police stations.

According to information obtained by Ejes Gist News, items burned in the affected police stations included patrol cars, seized cars, and cars parked next to the stations.

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More than forty (40) vehicles were burned and vandalized in total, the Ejes Gist News has learned.

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The enraged youths destroyed additional items, including electronic devices, generators, and other office supplies.

The hoodlums carted away a number of weapons and ammunition, including guns, rifles, and other security equipment during the protests.

The Ogungbade police, according to the locals, were finished around seven (7) years ago.

It took one year and six months to build.

During a visit on Friday, residents told Ejes Gist News that they had contributed the money—roughly five million naira—seven years prior to the police station’s completion.

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According to the locals, six vehicles along with the police station were set on fire.

Two years after EndSARS, Ogungbade Police Station

The burned-out portion of the police station hasn’t been rebuilt, though, two years after it was destroyed by fire.

The police station is still in the same condition as when it was demolished two years ago, according to a recent visit by Ejes Gist News.

The primary area of the police station that burned down during the protest is still in ruins, it was found.

In a similar vein, the burned-out vehicles from the protest have not been removed from the station.

Residents converse

During a Ejes Gist News visit to the neighborhoods, some of the landlords who spoke expressed displeasure with the police station’s current state.

One of the locals, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed surprise that the police officers were still using temporary buildings as offices.

The temporary buildings are still being used as offices by the police officers. The main station was destroyed by fire two years ago during EndSARS, but it has not been rebuilt.

“We urged the State government to take this community into consideration when building the police station. This station was finished seven years ago. We can only ask the governments to rebuild the police station for us now that it has burned down, he said.

Several communities in the Egbeda Local Government Area were served by the police station, according to community leader Alhaji Lanre Latinwo.

From Ife Road up to Papa, Oki in Iwo Road, this police station served a number of communities, the man said. It served numerous localities. It was built by the locals for between 5 and 10 million naira, and we gave it to the Oyo State Police command.

But during the EndSARS, the main police station, which housed the DPO office, an armory, a cell, and offices, was destroyed by fire. It is still there in the same condition as when it was burned in 2020; it has not been rebuilt.

The officers are currently using stores close to the main structure.

In September, the Landlords’ Association started collecting money for reconstruction.

The local landowners have stated that they are working to rebuild the destroyed station.

The townspeople noted that they started raising funds for the police station’s reconstruction in September of this year.

Alhaji Lukman Akinpelu, vice president of the Kukumada/ Ogungbade and Environs Landlords/ Landladies’ Association, who also spoke with the Ejes Gist News on Monday, stated that the locals are currently working to rebuild the station.

“It was burned in October 2020,” he remarked. It has therefore been there ever since. Although all of our efforts, including those of the DPO of Gbagi, have been in vain, they claimed that the government wants to rebuild it. Recently, the Area Commander visited; he promised to write a letter converting it to Divisional Police Headquarters, but the situation remains the same.

“They told us to go rebuild it after they had returned. They instructed us to rebuild it, so recently we have been trying to raise money for it. There are currently only two patrol vans in Egbeda, so we plan to use the funds to purchase a third. We made a contribution of one thousand naira (1,000) for each house, but later on, someone gave us a golf car, which we used as a patrol van.

“Consequently, we used the funds to rebuild the police station. The action was taken in September. We completed 10 pillars. Some rooms have had plaster applied. We continue to provide financial support for the police station’s renovation.

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