Some residents of Ogun and Lagos have been having compulsory vigil as a result of daily robberies in their communities by a group of homeless hooligans taking advantage of the coronavirus lockdown to disturb the peace of the two states.
There have been continuous reports by those residing in Owode, Ilepa, Ifo, Arigbajo, Itori, Dalemo, Ijoko, Ogba Ayo, Mosa, Joju, Sango, Ota, Oniyale among other communities in Ifo and Ado-Odo Ota local government areas of Ogun State regarding the activities of these hooligans in robbing them of their belongings both day and night.
On Saturday afternoon, there were reports of unrest in FESTAC Town, Jankara and Ifako-Ijaiye areas of Lagos State as hooligans storm the highly populated areas to rob residents and loot shops.
Reference Daily News gathered from reports that an ex-convict with the Felix aka Confidence led the gang, dispersed a police checkpoint in Dalemo, Ogun State on Tuesday and robbed residents.
Eventually, a reinforcement team later came to dispersed the robbers.
The robbers also reinforced and attack again around 10pm on Friday at Agbado Crossing and Randle in the Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.
These led to many residents to keeping vigils and making bonfires to defend their communities from the hooligans which they said numbered about 200.
According to sources the hooligans are fully armed with cutlasses and locally made guns while striking in mass.
On of the source in Ijoko, Sanni Rabiu, said, “I couldn’t sleep till morning for two days now.”
Another source with the name, Opeyemi Johnson, said thugs had become thieves and called on security personnel to act fast.
“I was outside our gate almost all night with fume-stricken bonfires,” he added.
“We need help in Ogun State. People are being robbed not only at night but in the afternoon too. Ijoko, Ifo, Sango and the likes have been under robbery attack since this (last) week. We can’t sleep; residents take turn to do vigilantes,” a youth, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
The outcry from the residents took over the social media, charging the police authorities with the hashtag, ‘#Ogununrest.’
“The people of Sango Ota, Owode, Ilepa, Ifo, Arigbajo, Itori, Dalemo, Ijoko, Ogba Ayo, Mosa can no longer sleep or be at peace because of incessant armed robbery every day even (in) broad daylight. They are ransacking house to house. I am a victim this afternoon. Help,” one Prince Afolarin twitted on Saturday.
@Okikiola_pr said staying home amid the lockdown was no longer safe, adding that landlords and youths now come out at night to safeguard their homes against robbery.
“It’s too much. Ifo is hotter,” he added.
“What is the Lagos and Ogun state governments doing about perpetual armed robbery going on between Abule-Egba all the way to Ifo? We don’t sleep at night since the start of the lockdown. All those toll gate boys have been looting shops and houses,” one Lawrence Hortons wrote.
Another resident, Sherifdeen Ojelabi, urged the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson, to arrest the situation.
“In my hood, Sango Ota, Agbado, Owode, Ilepa, Ifo, Arigbajo, Itori can no longer be at peace because of incessant armed robbery every night. CP Ebrimson should take action as boys prepared for war against criminals,” he said.
“Currently, Festac Town is on a heavy shelling by the men of the underworld. This is scary particularly in broad daylight,” one Korede Abdullah raised the alarm on Facebook on Saturday.
According to a statement released by the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, on Saturday, he said Special Strike Force on Social Miscreants and tactical teams had been deployed in different parts of Lagos State to tackle the menace, adding that 36 six suspects had been apprehended as reported by Reference Daily News yesterday (Saturday).
The statement reads, “The Commissioner of Police Lagos State Command, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the immediate deployment of operatives of the command’s Special Strike Force on Social Miscreants, Special Anti Robbery Squad, Anti Cultism Squad and Raiders to various parts of Lagos State to support the efforts of area commands and divisional patrol teams already deployed to tackle the menace of social miscreants and violent crimes such as robbery perpetrated by hoodlums.
“Operatives of the Command’s Rapid Response Squad are positioned in strategic locations to promptly respond to distress calls. Patrols are intensified around markets and stores to prevent hoodlums from stealing and looting. Patrol teams are equally deployed in various communities and streets.
“Nine suspects were arrested along Abule Egba and Ifako Ijaiye areas after operatives of Lagos State Command successfully foiled a robbery attempt on residents in communities under neighbouring Ogun State. Investigation is ongoing. The suspects will soon be charged.”
“There mission was mainly to steal and loot under the guise of supremacy battle,” he added.
Also reacting, the police spokesperson in Ogun State, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a statement on Friday said the crisis in Ifo was a battle of superiority between two rival cult groups which degenerated into robbery and other criminal activities, adding that police teams had been drafted to the area for ‘aggressive patrol.’
The statement read in part, “Their efforts yielded positive results as five of the hoodlums were apprehended in the Ijako area of Sango Ota. The patrol teams also moved to the Winners Church area along Idiroko Road where another suspect was arrested with a brand new locally-made short gun loaded with five live cartridges and assorted charms.
“Also, the operatives extended their operation to Araromi community in Agbado where three other suspects were arrested with a face mask and assorted charms.
“Earlier, 10 of the hoodlums have been picked up at various locations in Ifo, Kajola and Ososun areas of Ifo Local Government Area by SARS operatives.”