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LAGOS RESIDENTS TO FASHOLA, IGP: HELP, HOODLUMS ON RAMPAGE

By NBF News
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In recent times, residents and visitors in Lagos State have been having difficulty going about their normal businesses as hoodlums continued to terrorise the city. Hoodlums are on rampage bringing tears and sorrows to the citizenry.

Following the recent development, Lagosians have sent a Save-Our-Soul (SOS) message to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Hafiz Ringim and President Goodluck Jonathan, to come to their rescue.

Some of the victims recounted their experiences to Crimewatch.

For instance, when Sunday Kosine was leaving his house at Ijesha for Jibowu to board a bus going to Delta State, little did he know that he was embarking on a journey of no return. He bade his wife, Juliana and his 3-year-old son, Azubuike bye and they wished him safe journey.

Few minutes after he left home, Juliana called his mobile phone to know how far he had gone but the phone was switched off.

A worried Juliana decided to inform his younger brother, Udoka of the development. Udoka, who was not suspecting any foul thing, encouraged her to continue trying, but the woman did not rest, as she went straight to Delta Line to find out if her husband arrived there that morning.

Unfortunately, her husband did not arrive at the park. However, she saw a man who was bleeding along the rail line at Jibowu who told her that her husband may be one of the victims that boarded an early morning bus from Ijesha to Ojuelegba that was being operated by commercial bus robbers popularly known as 'One chance.' The bleeding man told Juliana how he was also a victim of a robbery attack that morning. He said the bandits, after robbing him, pushed him out of the moving vehicle. He said after pushing him down, they zoomed off with other passengers. He believed that Kosine may be one of the unfortunate victims that the evil men took away.

Juliana, who searched mortuaries had just relocated to her home town, after futile search for her husband of four years. The case of Juliana is one of many unfortunate situations being faced by helpless citizens of Lagos. Recently at the Toyota bus-stop, on Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, robbers unleashed terror on some victims who were returning home late at night. The robbers were said to have pretended that their vehicle had developed some faults and were trying to fix it. As they pretended pushing out the vehicle from the road, they deliberately caused serious traffic gridlock after which they started robbing motorists and their occupants at gunpoint.

Many people lost their valuables such as laptops, handsets, wristwatches and other personal effects. One of the victims, Sylvester Onwuka, who spoke to Daily Sun said: 'The robbers cashed in on the withdrawal of the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) which was stationed there by the police.' He said it used to be terrible for motorists as robbers unleashed terror on them with reckless abandon before the police brought in the APC.

He wondered why the police should withdraw the APC and the operatives who were manning it. 'Any wonder the robbers dealt with us for hours unchallenged by the police.' Another armed robbery victim, Marcel Obi said he was brutally beaten by armed men in front of the Abia Line Park, at Jibowu.

However, Daily Sun finding showed that the attack on people recently in front of the park was caused by a trajectory war between factions of street urchins at Mushin which has spread to Jibowu and Fadeyi.

The crisis had been on-going without solution either from the state government or the police. The attack also escalated to Palmgroove and Shomolu.

A senior police officer who confided in Daily Sun said over 15 persons including a 3-year-old boy lost their lives in the crises. He said those passing through the area are at risk as they may be attacked or hit by stray bullets. 'As I am talking to you, people are relocating from the areas mentioned because the war by Area boys is unending. They use guns, machetes, broken bottles and other cudgels.'

On May 31, 2011, at Ile Zik along Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway, robbers unleashed terror on road users. The robbers were alleged to have blocked the road with their Toyota 4 Runner Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) marked CH 382 FKD.

It however took the intervention of the men and officers of Isokoko police Division who dislodged the bandits. The robbers after exchange of gun fire with the police, abandoned their vehicle. One locally made pistol, two live cartridges and other dangerous weapons were recovered.

Also, on May 22, 2011, residents of Shipeolu Street, Onipanu, could not sleep as some robbers paid them uninvited visit. The hoodlums engaged on house to house raiding before the police came to their rescue.

The police were said to have shot dead some members of the gang and recovered a double barrel shotgun, five live cartridges, N45,000 and assorted handsets.

May 17, road users on Kudirat Abiola Road, at Radio bus stop knew no peace, as robbers armed with sophisticated rifles unleashed mayhem on them. The bandits terrorized residents and passersby till they were confronted by Anti-Robbery policemen from Alausa who arrested two members of the gang.

Worst hit are residents of Lagos/Badagry Expressway. Robbers embarked on house raids while road users are not spared as the hoodlums cashed in on the withdrawal of boarder patrol policemen on the road to unleash mayhem on innocent people.

A taxi driver, Tommy Oluwagbegbe, who plies the route said that the absence of police on Badagry/Seme Road was first noticed three Sundays ago after the Police-Army clash, where a soldier lost his life.

He said: 'In the past, we suffered untold hardship in the hands of hoodlums on the road. We later experienced relief when more checkpoints were mounted. Now, the 'big boys' have returned again, robbing us with reckless abandon.'

Also in recent times, the Obadore bridge had attracted attention because of the spate of crime perpetrated there. Despite intervention by the police that mount checkpoints on the bridge, cases of robberies are reported daily.

The place has become a dangerous zone for commercial motorcycle operators popularly called okada riders, bus drivers and their passengers are not left out as they are being waylaid daily.

In Ajegunle, it is the same tale of harassment by hoodlums. Since penultimate Monday, residents, especially, vehicle owners have not known peace as hoodlums numbering about 60 at the wee hours went from house to house vandalizing the vehicles parked on the street.

The hoodlums macheted two traders and one Christian Magbego. The criminals did not stop at vandalizing the vehicles, they also dispossessed victims of their possessions. A police source, who confided in Daily Sun, said four suspects have been arrested in connection with the robberies and vandalization of vehicles.

The source also revealed that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for Ajegunle, Mr. Abayomi at the weekend met with the traditional rulers of the community to proffer ways on how to arrest the perpetrators.

A victim, Kennedy Opelowa said his Honda car marked EF 823 ABC was vandalized in front of his residence on Bale Aiyetoro Street. He called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), President Jonathan and Governor Fashola (SAN) to come to rescue citizens who have suffered untold hardship in the hands of hoodlums.

Robbery has become a daily activity at the Punch Estate, Mangoro on the Lagos Mainland.

A victim who resides at Modupeola Street in the Estate, Joshua Elumunor, told Daily Sun that since last December, residents have been sleeping with one eye open. He said the brigandages always storm the estate from the Airport area. 'They have made some holes on the fence demarcating the estate with the Local Airport. They come in at will through the holes made on the fence.'

He said the robbers cashed in on incessant power outage to unleash terror on residents. 'While the generators are making noise, they will burst the doors of their targets without nearby neighbours knowing what was happening in other flats.' He said the problem they have was the controversy between the Airport command and the Onilekere police station on who to take responsibility to tackle the robbers.

'Whenever we report to the Onilekere police station, the police would ask us to channel our complaint to the airport command, the same response we also receive from the airport command.' However, Eluemunor has called on the IG to wade into the matter by directing the command which responsibility it is to man the area to live up to expectation. Moreso, road users plying the Oshodi/Mile 2 Expressway have noticed with dismay the constant dumping of corpses between the First Rainbow and Sanya bus-stops.

On Sunday, two bodies of properly dressed men were found in between the bus stops.

A driver, Jide Saliu said: 'The corpses are either dumped by assassins or pushed down from moving vehicles by 'One chance' robbers. It has become a daily experience to see bodies on the road.'

He noted that when the police were patrolling the route, gory sight of corpses were not seen.

'There used to be some armed policemen on motorcycles who move in pairs along the road, but of recent, we don't see them again.'