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Xenophobic Attacks: Youths Burn MTN Office in Ibadan

Some yet-to-be-identified arsonists have set ablaze an MTN office located along Bodija-Agodi secretariat, Ibadan apparently to protest the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.

According to sources in the axis, the perpetrators were said to have reportedly attacked the security men on duty around 11pm on Tuesday and threw petrol bombs into the building, setting it ablaze.

While a source claimed that the unknown arsonist were led by two young men who came to the office on motorcycles, another source claimed that only two young men carried out the attack after beating the security guards on duty to a pulp.

While contacted on phone, Police Public Relations Officer in Oyo State, Gbenga Fadeyi confirmed the attacks, adding that all South African investment in the state has been properly secured.

When The Nation visited the scene, the building was being manned by officials of the anti-crime task force team and officials of the Oyo State Road Transport Management Agency (OYRTMA) monitoring human and vehicular movement to calm tension and ensure free flow of traffic on the busy road.

Speaking on the incident, Commander of ORTMA, Mr Ayoade Adeoye, said that the men of the traffic agency arrived at the scene of the incident at about 10:30pm on Tuesday when it got the information of attack on the MTN building.

Adeoye said: “Some people on motorcycles were said to have arrived at the building and were asking the security men on duty some questions which they were unable to respond to.

“They then descended on them and beat them. They came with a can of petrol which they used to burn the building.

“The police and other security agencies were here with us. We have been here since that time ensuring that there is no traffic problem as people come down here to see what has happened”

Many of the officials and staff of MTN who had reported for duty Wednesday morning could not believe their eyes at the incident.

Some of them wore shocking looks while some others were seen making long phone calls.

But, none of them was ready to speak to journalists on the incident as they looked depressed and afraid.

A man, who had come to telecommunications office to retrieve his SIM card which he claimed, was stolen the day before expressed disappointment and shock at the development.

He said: “I was not aware that something like this has happened. I was coming down to retrieve my line because my phone was stolen yesterday. I am shocked to see this now”

An on-air personality, Adedeji Ademola, who had come to see the incident, however said Nigerians should consider other approaches other than violence.

He noted that the property that housed the MTN building belonged to a Nigerian, who along with other Nigerians working in that office have become victims.

“We may decide to boycott their services. Stay away from buying from them and allow government to step up diplomatic relations. Doing this (burning) is not good for the livelihood of Nigerians who are already pushed below poverty level,” he advised.

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