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100 vehicles vandalised, many injured in Lagos violence

By The Citizen

No fewer than 100 vehicles were vandalised and many injured when urchins, otherwise known as 'Area boys' on reprisal invaded four streets in Akoka and Pedro in Somolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The hoodlums were said to have arrived the area through the Somolu Market pretending to be holding a candlelight procession for a man, identified simply as Old Skool.

The man was allegedly stabbed repeatedly by some youths during a rally organised by the Somolu LG Chairman, Mr. Gbolahan Bago-Stowe to mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Solanke Street.

Old Skool died on Easter Sunday, thus creating tension in the Akoka part of the LG.

Our correspondent learnt that more than 70 hoodlums stormed the streets between 10pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday, destroying vehicles parked on the streets and inflicting injuries on many residents.

A resident, Mr. Ernest Molokwu, said he was beaten up by the hoodlums while his commercial bus was vandalised.

He said, 'I was at the balcony of my house when I saw the hoodlums. Knowing what they can do, I tried to drive my bus away from my street, but they caught up with me and beat me up. They also broke the windscreen of my bus. As it is now, I cannot work today(Monday).'

Our correspondents who visited the affected streets- Solanke, Ibukun Olu, Ojo Square/Ojo Street and Kajero- in Akoka saw many of the vandalised vehicles. Some residents said many whose vehicles were affected had taken them away from the streets.

On Solanke Street for instance, our correspondents counted 25 damaged vehicles, including one belonging to the Supervising Councilor for works, Somolu LG, Mr. Segun Adebiyi.

Another resident, Adekunle Ogunkoya, said, 'On March 29, 2013, the Chairman of Somolu LG, Mr Bagostowe, along with some members of his cabinet, held a rally to mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

'The rally was also a part of an annual carnival known as Humani Street Day Carnival. This attracted many youths who marched through the streets.

Some of the youths, Rasaki Oseni (aka Elewure); Kunle Eyin Bouncing and Olumide Ogbor, who are members of a gang known as EFCC boys in company with their members from Somolu, marched down to Akoka which is the stronghold of another cult known as Alora boys

'At Akoka, the EFCC boys taunted the Alora boys. On getting to Solanke Street, the hoodlums clashed and Old Skool, who is a member of the EFCC boys, was stabbed. He was rushed to a hospital where he died two days after.'

Ogunkoya said after the incident, some of the hoodlums were arrested but were later released.

He said, ' At about 10pm on Sunday, some friends of Old Skool held a candlelight procession in his honour. But it was a decoy because after sometime, they dropped their candles and started vandalising the vehicles parked on the streets. They also beat up some of us.'

A vulcaniser on Ojo Square, who tried to protect his machine was stabbed but was later rushed to hospital.

A woman, who identified herself only as Bisi, said the hoodlums collected her two phones.

Bisi alleged that a community centre in the area which was built by the LG had become a hideout for criminals.

'We know them (suspects) but anytime we report them to the police, they are only arrested for a while and later released. That community centre on Ojo Street is a den of robbers,' she said.

The LG boss while addressing aggrieved residents, promised to make sure that the suspects were brought to book.

Bagostowe said, 'The residents are not helping at all. They know these hoodlums and where they live. If these hoodlums are arrested, I promise to make sure that they are prosecuted. I will hold a meeting with OP MESA, the police and the Community Development Association to make sure that we put an end to this problem.

'As regards the community centre, I don't believe it is a criminals' hideout. There are many of such in various parts of the state. Ours was built for recreational purposes.'

As of 5pm on Monday, a resident, who declined to give his name, claimed that some of the urchins had started reappearing in the area and that he heard gunshots.

When contacted on the telephone, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, confirmed the incident.

'While I cannot confirm the numbers of the vehicles that were vandalised, I can tell you that efforts are on to get the hoodlums,' Braide said. Punch