To say that the fear of the ‘Awawa boys’ in the Agege area of Lagos and its environs is wisdom is putting mildly, the devastating impact these wild kids have had on these communities in just about a year.
Residents of Agege, Agidingbi, Ogba, Ifako Ijaiye, Iyana-Ipaja and Abule Egba have so consistently fallen victims to these dreaded miscreants that they mention ‘Awawa’ in hush tones whenever reference is to be made about them.
Encomium.ng in this piece, xrays in 10 bullets, activities of the fearless marauders called ‘Awawa Boys’.
- They move in pretty large numbers: The Awawa boys pride themselves in their numbers for it is therein that they draw their strength. When they embark on a mission, they move in squads of between 50 and 100 men (and ladies) bearing small but deadly arms.
- They take drugs like it’s water: An average Awawa cultist takes a cocktail of drugs all day. As they light up their Hemp or Skunk (most times the latter which is stronger) they support it with a combination of Codeine, Rohypnol and Tramadol. Tramadol according to sources close to them is used to boost their libido before engaging in rape, a crime they constantly commit remorselessly.
- The horrendous crimes they commit and how: They operate mostly at night and they target dark roads where they split themselves strategically and wait for unsuspecting passersby. Only four of five of them usually make the first approach and ask their victim(s) to release all their belongings. Any attempt to resist is usually met with a swift, vicious attack by more members of the gang. They also burgle shops and rape. Encomium.ng sources revealed that those who rape get rewarded specially and they keep ‘body count’ of the number of girls they have raped for ‘bragging rights’.
- Razor blades and the weapons they use: Their most commonly used weapon is razor blades followed by Shoemekers’ Awl or ‘Shooker’ as most Nigerian cobblers call it. They also carry small axes but when they have scores to settle with rival gangs or sometimes, offending splinter groups, they make use of machetes and handguns.
- They have the best dancers at carnivals, parties: They love attending carnivals and night shows as they make a lot of money from them. They attract a lot of crowd to themselves by displaying incredible dancing skills while others mix with the crowd and rob them. They have boys selling hemp to fun seekers and characteristically, they eventually scatter the event violently.
- They loot uncontrollably in Agidingbi during the annual Felabration: The annual celebration of the Legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti at the African shrine presents for these gang, a week-long constant supply of victims to dispossess of their belongings. As most unsuspecting visitors try to find their way home after enjoying themselves at the shrine, they get ambushed on the Agidingbi road and are assaulted and robbed.
- What they look like: Apart from their most distinct mark – they spot a unique teardrop tattoo beside their left eyes – they usually look scruffy and their eyes are always dilated from the excessive drugs they take.
- Their ranks swell faster than Police can arrest them: The ranks of the Awawa boys have been swelling at an alarming rate recently according to our sources. Dropouts, unemployed and homeless young boys and girls in their hundreds are seeking refuge with the gang in search of adventure, and as most of them claim, a means of survival.
- Police swooping on them a bit late: The Lagos state Police must be given a lot of credit for hunting down and arresting more than a hundred Awawa boys in the last few months but they might have left it a little too late as they are increasing their numbers faster than they are being nabbed. Another worrying aspect is that only few of the arrested have yet to be arraigned while some previously arrested boys return to the streets soon after, boastfully, like dons who are beyond arrest.
- Little kids hero worship them: The last and saddest bullet of this piece is that little kids on the streets of Agege, Ogba and environs playfully refer to themselves as ‘Awawa’ boys just like this writer used to call himself ‘Superman’ when he was a kid. They draw inspiration from these delinquents as they play with toy or imaginary guns and stick pieces of papers in their mouths to depict smoking weed. If somebody somewhere doesn’t do something decisive about the Awawa boys, the next generation is waiting in the wings to take up their vices.
- Daniel Fayemi for encomium.ng