Residents of Mushin, Itire and Surulere communities on the Lagos Mainland have cried out to the Lagos State Government and the State Police Command for help following the increased presence of armed street gangs and robbers and their dreadful activities in the area.
The communities where residents currently live under the terror the rampaging armed gangs includes Ajose, Alfa Nda, Akanro, Dosunmu and Lawanson streets of Mushin, Idi-Araba and some areas in Surulere.
In a Save our Soul (SOS) message from the residents obtained by Guardian, the residents expressed fear that youths in the areas now wreak havoc in broad daylight without fear. “It’s like nothing they can describe in real life; yet it is happening before our eyes, as youths in their numbers invade streets in broad-daylight, breaking shops, smashing doors, shattering show-glasses and looting wares with aplomb. The mob destroys everything in sight, including car screens, without any form of provocation,” the message read in part.
On how the armed gangs operate, the residents said; “Most of the time, they come fully armed, with clubs, knives, machetes and even guns. Their sheer swooping number is always too scary for anyone to try to resist or fight them off; hence the only option has been to scamper to safety.
To make matters worse, they always seem to have all the time in the world.
Meanwhile, residents say the police always seem to arrive much later; as if deliberately granting them latitude to have their day before moving in., Guardian reported.
Narrating some of the atrocities committed by the armed gangs, the residents said; “It started on January 19, 2018 at Kekereowo Street where the gang of youngsters began battering cars parked on the streets and robbing passersby in a commando-style operation. This later became a regular occurrence as the following weekend, the robbers invaded Bishop Aggey, Polar Bed and Babalola streets, vandalizing vehicles and robbing passersby.
“The criminal gang later allied with some cult groups to daily inflict nightmare on residents at Onayungbo and Morgan streets. At a time, it became criminal rivalry between Lawanson gangs and Idi-Arada boys, as the hoodlums go on a robbing spree, macheting passersby and destroying vehicles.
“Their activities have constantly been reported to the Itire Police Station and Zone D Divisional Police headquarters at Mushin. The Zone D Area Commander asked residents to petition the Inspector General of Police to enable the police provide additional police surveillance to complement the efforts of the state command.”
On how peace and normalcy can return to the troubled communities, the leaders of the residents’ associations said Operation MESA is needed as the gangs continue to harass residents at will. “These gangs continue to steal generators, commercial motorcycles, television sets, mobile phones and anything of value around Olufowobi street and the abandoned government building at Idi-Araba market,” the residents noted.
Commenting on the development, the DPO of Itire Police Station, Suleiman Kabir, told Guardian that it is not true that the police did not respond to the attacks. He noted that whenever he gets information that the armed gangs have started attacking and vandalising valuables, he personally leads the offensive to the areas.