Goods estimated at millions of Naira were looted yesterday from the Delta City Mall, Warri following an invasion by youths suspected to be from Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State.
The Delta State Police Command, however, said that it could only arrest one person when its men stormed the place, following a distress call from the manager of one of the popular retail occupants of the city mall, Shoprite.
More than N20 million worth of goods were carted away from Shoprite retail shop and surrounding shops by the hoodlums, THISDAY learnt.
The hoodlums also destroyed valuables, including automated glass doors and numerous installations at the commercial facility.
The police said that hell was let loose after Mr. Henry Baro, the suspended chairman of Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State allegedly had a disagreement with a naval rating at the shopping mall yesterday morning.
The argument was said to have attracted some other security operatives attached to the Delta City Mall making the suspended council chairman to retreat and leave the premises of the shopping mall.
Another account claimed that the embattled council chairman was slapped by two security officials during the argument.
However, Baro was said to have left only for hundreds of fierce-looking youths loyal to him in the area to invade the shopping mall, causing mayhem and pandemonium as many people were allegedly manhandled and dispossessed of their personal effects.
Some of the invading youths were also reportedly seen chasing some security officials into the main bow of the mall.
Manager of Delta City Mall, Mr Oni Shola, confirmed the attack on the mall while briefing newsmen later.
According to Oni, “Earlier today we had some street urchins came into the mall. They had issues outside the mall and then they came into the mall to violate it. We have security men in place – the navy, army and police. They were instructed that no matter the threat they should not shoot because we don’t want chaos in the mall.
“They didn’t shoot; they allowed them in when they went into the mall. I’m sure you have seen pictures of glasses that were broken. News went into town that armed robbers raided the mall but it wasn’t so. It wasn’t like the security operatives couldn’t stop them but they were working on instruction. We never expected streets urchins would do this to the mall.
The police, however, said that they had brought the situation under control and made only one arrest.
One unnamed person was arrested when police at Ekpan Division near Warri received a distress call at about 11 a.m. on Friday from “one Mr. Akume (surname unknown).
the Operations Manager of Shoprite (Delta Shopping Mall) Warri that some persons invaded the shopping mall, beat, robbed and injured customers and sales personnel.
“Based on the report, patrol men were quickly mobilized to the scene and arrested one suspect while others took to their heels”, a statement by the state police command spokeswoman, Celestina Kalu, said yesterday.
According to the statement, “Preliminary inquiry revealed that one Henry Baro, the suspended chairman of Uvwie Local Government Council, had an altercation with a Naval rating identified as Ma’arafu (surname unknown) in the shopping mall. In the process, the said Henry Baro invited his community (Uvwie) youths who invaded the shopping mall and attacked anyone on sight.”
However, Mrs Kalu said that detectives from the “State CID Asaba have commenced discreet investigation into the incident” with a view to bringing the perpetrators of the crime to book.
The Delta State House of Assembly last year slammed a suspension order on the Uvwie Local Government Council chairman, which has since led to series of protests by some councillors as well as youths from the area even as several efforts have been made by the state legislator to address the issue apparently without success.tweet Follow @@metrolens1