An eyewitness has given a vivid description of how hoodlums who masqueraded under the EndSARS protest, gained access into the corporate head office of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Marina, Lagos on Wednesday and set the edifice on fire.
Vehicles that were parked in the premises were burnt, while the expansive building was also torched.
Few members of staff who were on duty had to find other escape routes as the rampaging youths wielding dangerous weapons unleashed mayhem on the building.
But, an eyewitness who pleaded to be anonymous told our correspondent that the hoodlums came into the building from the Broadstreet area, from where they gained access.
He said: “They didn’t enter from the main Marina front, they advanced through the back, the few security personnel on duty ran for safety because there was nothing they could do”.
When asked why they did not call for help, he explained that the best option was to call-in the NPA Police, but he added that there were no Police on duty.
“You know that the Police were also target of attacks by the hoodlums, so there was no way NPA would have got the Police within the time frame that the hoodlums gained access”
“The hoodlums were more than 50, they came in with cutlasses, broken bottles, petrol, used tyres and petrol bombs. They were like they were drunk too, no one could stop them, we could not even go near them, they were ready to kill”
As soon as they came in through the back, they started breaking the glass exterior decorations before setting the vehicles ablaze, they then gained entrance into the building”, he disclosed.
There has been no official response to the arson from the NPA.
However, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has condemned the attack on NPA corporate head office.
Its President General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju told our correspondent that as much as the union was sympathetic to the demands of the EndSARS protesters, it could not fathom how setting NPA building ablaze could justify such.
“We sympathise with the protesters, but this is hooliganism and arson, this is criminal. Why should anyone think of burning down a national asset like the NPA building, this is a great setback for the maritime industry and Nigeria as a nation”.
We are still in shock, we condemn this strongly. We also appeal to the youths to stop taking the laws into their hands.
For a nation and the maritime industry that is just recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, this arson on the NPA is an attack on the Nigerian maritime industry, government must get tio the roots of this”, he the MWUN said on Wednesday.