The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman has spoken about the events of Wednesday October 21 when hoodlums reportedly vandalised and set a wing of the building at Marina, Lagos on fire.
She spoke on Sunday while taking reporters on tour of the building and damaged property.
Recall that an attack was also carried out at Tin Can Island Port on Tuesday October 20.
Usman explained that the attack on the Tin Can Island Port commenced at 9:45am.
She stated, “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.”
Recounting the attack on the NPA headquarters at Marina, she said, “The attackers 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 building on fire.”
Speaking further, the NPA MD disclosed that upon knowledge of the attack, officers of the Nigerian were deployed to the premises, adding that they successfully dispersed the hoodlums and reclaimed possession of the premises following which the Authority’s firemen were able to gain access into the building and put out the raging fire.
She added, “After an assessment of the extent of damage, it was discovered that apart from the annex wing that was burnt, many offices were vandalised, while computers, printers, water dispensers and other electronic devices were looted.
“A total of 27 vehicles, including cars, utility vehicles, pick up vans and staff buses were set on fire, while 33 other vehicles, 22 of which belong to members of staff were vandalised. A Toyota Prado SUV, a Bajaj Motorcycle and one Hilux patrol van were also stolen from the premises.”
The NPA MD gave the assurance howeever, that all assets of the corporation were comprehensively insured, adding that insurers were currently undergoing an assessment of the damages.
She expressed satisfaction and gratitude that no life was lost in the incident even though some members of staff who were on critical duty were in the building at the time of the attack.
She stated, “The Authority recognises the gallantry of men of the Nigerian Armed Forces and our firemen whose intervention restored normalcy.
“We also appreciate the concerns of all stakeholders and citizens who have reached out with kind words of support and encouragement.
“All stakeholders and the general public are hereby assured that the situation has not affected operations of the Authority in anyway as we have continued to render our services unhindered.”
Violence broke out on Tuesday October 20 after the military men that were deployed to rein in the #endsars nationwide protests at Lekki tollgate shot into the crowd of protesters injuring many and reportedly killing some.
The carnage that ensued saw the destruction, looting of burning of public and private property.
More than 160 Bus Rapid Transport vehicles were burnt at Oyigbo, the toll gate and a television station, TVC was burnt down including cars parked at the premises while hoodlums gained access and looted some expensive equipment.
The Nation newspapers founded by former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was not spared as it was razed.
Although the governemnt and military have consistently denied that people died in the Lekki tollgate shoot out, many sources, including people on the scene have faulted the denials.
Also, Amnesty International had insisted that people were killed during the shoot out.
The international agency urged the Federal Governemnt not to sweep the incident under the carpet like others but to investigate and bring perpetrators of the act to justice.
The Lagos State Governemnt had set aside funds to help businesses that were affected during the period while the Federal Government had set up an inquiry panel into the toll gate incident.