By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
A combination of Muslim youths and wild looking hoodlums brandishing cutlass and other dangerous missiles took to major streets in Ilorin, the state capital on Monday as the hijab wearing crisis continues in the Kwara State capital.
The brigandage left on its trail damages to churches, schools and shops along Muritala and Amilegbe Roads, in the most provoking manner.
Aside causing trampedes and fears among residents in the areas they wildly took, the irate youths, who scaled the fence in most places, smashed window glasses, panes and other items in The Apostolic Church, by the Sabo Oke Powerful Prayer Church, 2nd ECWA Church building Amilegbe, St. Barnabas School, as well as inflicting injuries on innocent pedestrians.
It took the combined efforts of officers and men of the state Police Command, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and the Nigeria Army to prevent general break down of law and order over the raging hijab controversy.
The hoodlums reportedly brandished cutlasses, bottles and other dangerous weapons, while they matched along some roads in the metropolis, just as some of them wore masks apparently to cover their identity.
Seeing the locked gate of the Cherubim and Seraphim College, Sabo Oke Ilorin, they also attacked the school, as they threw stones, not minding the presence of the military personnel stationed at the entrance gate of the school.
After descending on St. Barnabas LGEA Primary School and some churches in the area, the way they brandished cutlasses and broken bottles forced stampedes in the sleepy area as they increasingly went on rampage.
Reported gunshots heard in the melee were later confirmed to be as a result of the action of a man who allegedly stoned a military man on duty in one of the affected schools on a mission to quell the riot.
An eye witness said, “The officers said they were angry over such development, despite the presence of students in the school. The soldiers, who pursued the youths from the gate of the school, accused them of creating problem around the school.”
The development, which caused apprehension among residents, saw shops and offices located in the area hurriedly closing up to avoid being attacked, just as it was reported that some shops were looted by the hoodlums.
Later in the afternoon, the scenario also saw security operatives being drafted to the affected areas and armed security agents were seen patrolling major streets in the metropolis to restore normalcy.
Speaking on the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Ajayi Okasanmi, confirmed the incidents, saying that the prompt intervention of men of the command nipped the situation in the bud.
Okasanmi said, “Normalcy had since returned to schools and business community in the state capital.”