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Fear as hoodlums seize Orile, Ijora Badia

Published by Tribune on Sun, 25 May 2014

OLALEKAN OLABULO monitors the security challenges currently ravaging a part of Lagos and efforts at tackling them.Palpable tension and fear have continued to envelope many communities in Ijora Badia and Orile towns in Lagos State, following the activities of hoodlums who have practically taken control of the areas. At every slight opportunity, even when unprovoked, gangs of hoodlums engaged one another and take the opportunity to unleash terror on the residents, despite the assurance of the security agencies at the beginning of the year, particularly the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Umar Manko, who warned that cult and hoodlum activities would be seriously countered in the state.For more than five months now, traders around Oju Ina, Baale, Gazikiya College Road, Mount Zion and White House Bus Stops in Orile have had their economic activities almost paralysed as a result of the routine clashes and looting by arms-wielding hoodlums who have turned themselves to thorns in the flesh of residents and traders.When the situation became obviously unbearable for the victims of the hoodlums' activities, a security stakeholders' meeting was held about two weeks ago, following a peaceful protest by concerned residents of Ijora Badia and Orile who could no longer endure the pain and agony that are usually inflicted on them by rampaging gangsters.The protest was a direct fall-out of a gruesome murder of a member of the community, simply identified as Ade Ojora, a reportedly wanted gangster, killed by yet another wanted gangster, Niyi Star, a situation that led to instant pandemonium as members of the victim's group attempted vengeance.The police swooped into action and 11 suspected members of the different notorious gangs, who were allegedly linked with the constant clashes, death, rape, burglary and other criminal offences were arrested.They have since been transferred to the Special Anti Robbery Squad at the state police command headquarters on the order of the state police boss, Umar Manko.There are, however, concerns among many residents, following reports that somebody 'from above' has started working on facilitating the release of the arrested suspects for political reasons. The source of the order from above (names withheld), reportedly insisted that the arrested hoodlums were members of a certain political party, tagging their arrest, political victimisation.In the last three months, no fewer than eight people, including two residents, allegedly killed by a policeman who was part of a team drafted to restore peace during a clash between factions of hoodlums, have become casualties of the Ijora Orile Badia insecurity.About eight people were also reportedly injured between Thursday, March 27 and Saturday, March 29, 2013 as two factions of hoodlums clashed at Akinola and Sari Streets with about 10 shops also looted. The hoodlums, had reportedly used the commotion caused by their clash to rob residents and allegedly broke into shops and looted goods worth several hundreds of thousand Naira.A resident, who identified herself as Alhaja Alirat Balogun, informed Inside Lagos that hoodlums had almost paralysed commercial activities around Baale and White House Bus Stops area of Orile with their unprovoked constant attack .The woman who claimed to be losing her source of livelihood also stated that the hoodlums always took advantage of their clashes to rob people and break into shops to loot.'Please we are begging you to come and save us from these hoodlums. Whenever they want to start, they will just announce that everybody should go inside and before you know anything, they will begin to shoot and rob people,' Alhaja Balogun narrated.She added that 'a few days ago, they robbed this woman (pointing to a woman). They met her and her husband at her shop and they robbed them of their money and phones, as well as some of the goods in their shop.'Another resident, Ramota Animashaun, stated that constant clashes of factions of hoodlums in Orile had forced many traders to either abandon their shops or relocate.'My children have warned me not to display my wares and I have not been doing that for some weeks. I just came back from Alausa now and I went inside to sleep because nobody knows when they will start again,' Mrs Animashaun stated.Chairman of Apapa Iganmu Local Council Development Area, Adeshola Adedayo, while speaking with Inside Lagos admitted that the area had been 'witnessing some security challenges in the last few weeks' and also admitted that no fewer than four people died in clashes among the hoodlums, some of whom had been declared wanted by the police and others arrested for criminal offences.The council boss said that the arrested suspects were picked at their different hideouts following a resolution at a security stakeholders' meeting, that was held after a serious clash recently.The LCDA chairman stated that some parents of the notorious criminals in the society had been warned that they would be held responsible for any criminal misconduct of their wards and that this has greatly helped in some parts of the community.Some of the arrested suspects were simply identified as; Bullets, Afeez Body, Sheriff Walata, Wasiu Nupeng alias Akamaye and Baba LukuA senior police man at Orile Police Station, who pleaded anonymity, while speaking with Inside Lagos confirmed the arrest of 11 people and added that further raids of alleged criminal hideouts would follow.
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