‘We have embarked on massive raid’ – Police
DESPITE the efforts of the Lagos State Police Command to ensure the state is crime free and its residents assured of safety of lives and property and can move freely without the fear of being molested or attacked by miscreants, the unrepentant hoodlums are not ready to quit their illicit trade. Instead, they keep terrorizing innocent people and causing more havoc in the state, therefore, constantly putting the law enforcement agents on their toes.
The factor of Lagos being a heterogeneous state is not helping matters as many people troop in from different states daily without any likelihood of any means of living or survival. Such people, in the long or short run, turn criminals and create hideouts for their heinous activities.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s research revealed some dark spots in Lagos, including Ajegunle, Apongbon Bridge, Bamboo area in Oworonsoki, AP area in Agege, Ile-Epo/Pleasure bus stop along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, Ijora bus stop, Fadeyi-Onipanu bus stop, Berger bus stop, Onikan (in front of Muson Centre), Agboju/Mile 2 bridge, Cele bus stop along Lagos-Badagry Express road, Ketu bus stop, Ojota, Ojuelegba and many more.
Most of the activities carried out by these hoodlums in all the aforementioned areas are similar. Although, they may not be violent in their conduct, they quietly dispossess their victims of their belongings without passers-by noticing.
However, on some occasions, most of these notorious gangs are armed, and they use such to threaten motorists along any of these routes. Aside collecting money, the items of their target include laptops, expensive phones, ATM cards and other valuables.
In Mile 2, the criminals use under the bridge as their den. ENCOMIUM Weekly learnt that they usually assemble in this place between 8 and 9 p.m standing in groups of four or five, carefully monitoring vehicular movement to enable them hit their target cars on arrival. Also, some of them, we were told, are only saddled with the sole responsibility of keeping vigil to avoid being caught by the long arm of the law as police regularly patrol the place.
Both under and over the bridge at Mile 2 have been adjudged most dangerous spots in Lagos, especially at night. Most of these traffic robbers, we gathered, don’t vacate the place until around 1 a.m. One of their victims who spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly under the condition of anonymity narrated his ordeal in the hands of the criminally-minded gang. He added that he only enjoyed God’s grace to escape unhurt as he initially engaged in hot argument with them, mistaking them for police in mufti.
“I was driving home around 11 p.m that fateful day. I closed late from work and there was traffic along the route. I had to maneuver my way around the overhead bridge. I ran on to these guys and suddenly two of them stopped me. I thought they were police officers carrying out stop and search operation. And because I was tensed up, I shouted at them and started querying why they should stop me just like that. Only for them to tell me to calm down, they only needed my money, phones and jewelry. They said they were not police officers. Before I knew it, one of them displayed his pistol and asked me to smell it.
“And unfortunately, I couldn’t shout because I had been warned against doing that if I don’t want to waste my life. I had to cooperate with them. They succeeded in collecting one of my phones, laptop and my purse containing N10,000 and ATM card. No motorist or passer-by raised any alarm. But I was lucky I wasn’t shot. I believe I only enjoyed the grace of God. If not, the story would have been otherwise. I thank God for saving me that day. Since that day, I always made sure I close early so that I could get home before 9 o’clock.”
In Bamboo area in Oworonsoki, the place is also not safe at night, especially for pedestrians. The guys operating at that vicinity snatch bags and atimes beat up their victims if they fail to cooperate with them.
ENCOMIUM Weekly learnt most of the hoodlums in this area mostly in their 20s also rape their female victims.
Another deadly zone is Ketu-Alapere. In this area, the hoodlums operate both day and night and it’s very difficult to identify them. That makes it easy for them to attack the unsuspecting passers-by and motorists, ENCOMIUM Weekly also gathered reliably.
An actress (names withheld) who once fell victim of the ugly circumstance told us that she was robbed as she was about getting to Ketu bus stop at about 4 p.m while coming from a movie location in Ikorodu. According to the famous thespian, the guys had identified her in her Toyota Camry and they started trailing her from Alapere.
“Ketu-Alapere is a very dangerous spot in Lagos. Those ‘boys’ don’t care whether it’s day or night. They can strike anytime and catch you unawares.
“I had been robbed at Ketu when I was coming from Ikorodu after a movie shoot. I was going to another location in Ebute Metta, that same day. It was a Thursday, I can still remember very well. I didn’t know they were trailing me since they identified my car from Alapere. I was just driving on until when we’re stopped by the traffic warden along the route and I had to stop and wind down my glasses because my air conditioner was malfunctioning.
“I just discovered two guys standing on both sides of my car. One at the driver side just greeted me and hailed me. I also smiled and thanked him. As I turned my head to see if the person is someone I know, because he greeted me with pleasantries, the guy on the other side quickly stretched his hand and picked my expensive phone and purse. I shouted but they escaped through the crowd. I was dumb-founded for minutes before I took off. The police were not even around, so no help from anywhere. That’s how I lost all the contacts, I am just regaining my balance now. I think the police should do more in that area. That place is very dangerous.”
Another dangerous location is Ile-Epo/Pleasure area along Lagos/Abeokuta express road. Many have fallen victim of traffic robbery. The hoodlums in that vicinity only operate at night, and they’re usually fully armed.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s findings revealed that members of the notorious gang are often dressed in jeans and T-shirts, smoking heavily and parading themselves along the road without a check.
Recently, a journalist was reportedly robbed along the route around 10 p.m, losing his cash and valuable items to the hoodlums at gun point.
Also, not quite long, a lady who simply identified herself as Doyin, a student of Lagos State University (LASU) said she suffered a similar experience on her way back home. According to her, the incident happened around Agboju bus stop, another deadly spot along Lagos/Badagry expressway.
“I was dispossessed of my phones, laptops and cash few weeks back at Agboju bus stop, along Lagos/Badagry road. I wasn’t alone in the car, we’re four and all of us were quietly robbed. These guys instructed us not to talk if we don’t want them to waste our lives. And out of fear, we all kept quiet, including the cab driver. The guys came in a motorcycle and left immediately after the incident. Although, we alerted the police instantly but nothing came out of it. The only thing is that police are now patrolling the place very well and I learnt some of the hoodlums terrorizing the area have been arrested.”
Another dark spot in the state is AP/Isale Oja area of Agege. The only factor checking the notorious gang of their excesses is the presence of police stations around the vicinity, especially Isokoko Police Divisional Office.
Most of the guys, we learnt operate secretly in the afternoon, but swing into full action late in the evening when almost everybody will be returning home from work. The guys on most occasions smoke Indian hemp openly in the afternoon around AP area and along the railway line in Agege. Most of them specialize only in phone snatching and the owners of such phones will be mandated to pay certain amount depending on the brand of the phone before collecting it if such a person is so lucky that it has not been disposed soon as it’s snatched.
A victim who didn’t want her name mentioned said, “I was inside a bus coming from Ikeja after the close of work a couple of weeks back. I just wanted to call my fiancé that I was already on my way. That’s when I discovered that the guy who sat beside me in the bus had cut my bag quietly and removed my Android phone which I just bought for N47,000. And the guy alighted at Pero bus stop without anyone suspecting him.
“Then I kept calling the number till the following day, begging him to please release the phone to me because of the contacts therein. The idiot said he could only give me the SIM card if I can come to AP bus stop, Agege around 8 o’clock that day. I later sent a text, pleading with him that I just bought the phone not up to a month. He said that’s the most interesting aspect of it. He now said if I need the phone back, I should come with N10,000. He said I am a lucky person. I thought he was joking, and I told my fiancé.
“So, around 9 p.m we had to go. He now said, the phone dropped inside the bus we boarded together and he picked it for me so that it won’t fall in the hand of a thief. He asked for that money first and we gave him. He warned us not to look back. The place was dark, they’re many there, smoking. The following day, we made a call through a police officer who happened to be my fiance’s friend, and he promised to ensure that the place is raided.”
Another dangerous area is Airport bus stop along Agege/Oshodi road. A victim, who works at the airport was recently dispossessed of her two expensive phones when two robbers on a motorcycle snatched her bag while they were on motion on their motorbike.
“I was shocked and confused the day robbers snatched my bag, containing my two expensive phones. The guys were two on okada, and I was moving towards the bus stop to board a bus going to Abule Egba. One of the guys just snatched the bag suddenly before I could shout for help they had hit the express road and escaped with the bag containing my phones, ATM card and little cash. Since that day, I have decided not to be walking alone when I close from work. That place is very dangerous at night.”
Other deadly spots that serve as criminals’ hideouts in Lagos include Ojuelegba, Ajegunle and Mushin Olosa bus stop. And residents, shop owners and motorists along these areas are always drenched in fear at night.
However, ENCOMIUM Weekly got across to the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) on Sunday, November 22, 2015, on the situation of things at the moment concerning all these black spots and the nefarious activities of the hoodlums which are now multiplying in the state, he reacted, “Recently, in the last briefing we had, CP said something like that. But I can assure you we’re not folding our arms on that. We have embarked on massive raid of all the black spots and criminal hideouts in the state.
“We’re aware of the situation. That’s why we keep raiding those areas. We won’t relent on our efforts until we wipe them out.”