Ilesa residents in Osun State gathered on Sunday in mass protest against the arrest of some suspects for allegedly attacking Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) employees.
TheIBEDC’s Regional Communications and Branding Officer, Kikelomo Owoeye, had claimed that some hoodlums assaulted and robbed employees of the company in three different offices within the Ilesa business hub.
The statement read in part, “We are disappointed with the attitude of the hoodlums, who attacked the staff of the company at their various offices at the Isare Service Unit, Isokun Service Unit and the Ilesa Business Hub office, Oke-Omiru in the Ilesa metropolis with various weapons such as guns, cutlasses and cudgels.
“Our staff had resumed in their various offices to discharge their lawful duty when some hoodlums from the Olomilagbala and Bolorunduro communities, both under the Isare Service Unit, came around on the day of the incident.
“They were, however, attacked by the hoodlums with dangerous weapons. The hoodlums also forcefully gained entry into the cash office and carted away money.”
Consequent to the attack, the IBEDC cut power supply to the six local government areas in Ijesaland.
The protest, which had started peacefully around 12pm, became violent as the protesters set up bonfires to block major roads leading to the centre of the town thus, impeding vehicular movement for some hours.
It was learnt that two vehicles were badly damaged during the protest because their drivers failed to follow the instructions of the protesters.
The protesters were eventually dispersed while marching towards the Ijamo Divisional Police Station by police personnel, who fired tear gas canisters at them.
Speaking on their reasons, one of the protesters, explained that some youths suspected to have led the attack on staffers of the IBEDC were early on Sunday arrested by the police in the Olomilagbala, Isare and Bolorunduro areas of Ilesa.
According to him, those arrested were innocent of the crime, accusing the police of colluding with the IBEDC to punish innocent people, because the perpetrators of the crime could not be found.