The insecurity situation in the country especially Lagos is currently on the upswing, as robbers, cultists and kidnappers have taken over most cities, especially in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests which led to the withdrawal of policemen from the most metropolis.
Recall that most cities, particularly in the south of the country, have witnessed less policing in the last few weeks, heightening fears among citizens, and not even the intervention of Police high command and prominent citizens has led to any improvement in policing.
In Lagos, Edo, Delta, Kwara, among others, Nigerians live in fear of being attacked either in their homes or on the streets.
In Lagos, the streets are still devoid of police patrol, as commuters and motorists have become subjects of attacks by armed robbers, while cultists seized most parts of the city.
Last Wednesday’s daylight robbery attack and hijack of a bullion van in Ajah area of Lagos State remains the climax of the prevailing state of insecurity in the city. In that attack, the robbers succeeded in making away with cash, while also killing, at least, two persons in the process, including a policeman escorting the bullion van.
Platform Reporters gathered that workers and traders are attacked by robbers in the early hours of the day at bus stops, while they set roadblocks to rob motorists at night.
An eyewitness account revealed that the robbers now mount roadblocks around Shoprite in Sangotedo area of Lekki-Epe expressway to rob motorists, adding that they also killed a lady at a bus stop very close to the same spot early Wednesday morning.
The situation is not different in most other parts of Lagos. In Orile area, gunmen daily engage in a fierce fight for supremacy. They engage in sporadic shootings, attacks and killings, on not just their rivalries but residents of the area.
People are now being forced to permanently remain indoors while gunmen hold sway. One of the residents told Platform Reporters that every evening, people coming back from their workplaces are forced to run for safety as a result of the crisis caused by the heavily armed cultists who engage each other in an open fight for supremacy.
According to the resident, “in the past, each time we heard any slight noise, policemen will arrive promptly but now, the situation has changed. Cultists have taken over our streets after the burning of Orile police station and nobody comes to our rescue now.
The burnt station is empty. Many aggrieved residents have nowhere to report cases. “Those that went to the Area Command in Ojuelegba were always told to write down their complaints and that’s where it ends.”
Another resident of the area, Alhaji Tajudeen lamented that Orile community was now a very dangerous zone. “Criminals and cultists have taken over. They openly patrol the streets armed to the teeth and they break into homes, cart away properties, rob and rape freely without fear. Only God knows when this nightmare will be over because of the absence and inability of policemen to respond to distress calls,” he lamented.
Investigations also revealed that the same chaotic and fearful situation exists in areas such as Ajegunle, Ijora-Badia, Araromi Ajangbadi, Iyana-Ipaja, Aja, some parts of the highbrow Lekki, Palm groove, Onipani, Somolu, Bariga, Ikorodu etc.
Platform Reporters gathered that Ikorodu, Mile 12 and Ketu areas seem to be worst hit as criminals and cultists have continued to unleash mayhem and terrorize people daily. This prevailing, dangerous situation, according to a member of the vigilante group in Ketu, Moshood, has led to the death of many.
“People are being attacked, wounded, killed, raped and robbed daily. There is just nothing like police presence. We heard that the AIG, Zone 2 and CP had threatened to deal decisively and ruthlessly with their men that refused to go back to duty but unfortunately, the situation has not improved,’’ he said.
Chief Anayo Eze, a security consultant told Platform Reporters: “Do you expect them to waste their lives when we all know that most of their weapons were carted away by criminals who pretended to be protesters? ‘’These criminals capitalized on the protests to take their pound of flesh on the hardworking policemen who, hitherto, did not allow them to operate freely before the protests.
‘’So, you still want them to go back to their burnt stations, expose themselves and be killed like fowls again? The government should do the needful by urgently providing new stations and equip them with new weapons to face the onerous challenges ahead.
‘’These measures, if urgently taken, will rekindle their spirit and make them swing into action once again. Anything short of this will not restore any confidence in them. “
However, Platform Reporters learned last night that the Army, in collaboration with the Police yesterday raided black spots in Ajah, and other parts of the state, arresting 720 suspects. Incriminating items, including locally-made guns and live cartridges, charms, weeds suspected to be Indian hemp, were said to have been recovered during the operation.
Lagos State police command SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who confirmed the crackdown, noted that the Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, had earlier warned and directed police officers and men to move against lawlessness and criminality in Lagos or face dismissal.
He said Odumosu also directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of SCID, Panti, to commence discreet investigation on the arrested suspects for immediate prosecution, urging those whose items were looted during the recent #EndSARS violence to come up for claims of their items with proof of ownership.
‘’The Police boss noted that there is no reason or excuse for any policeman to be absent or indolent on duty, despite the words of encouragement, solidarity and support from the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and well-meaning Nigerians, including our wives and mothers, the Police Officers Wives Association.
‘’He, therefore, warned the area commanders , DPOs and heads of departments to henceforth book and declare any policeman who fails to report to duty a deserter and to deal with them according to the provisions of the Police Act and Regulations,’’ the PPRO had stated in a statement weekend.
Also, the state governor promised to give scholarships to children of slain policemen in the state to assuage the pains of losing their loved ones and also pledged to rebuild police stations razed by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest in the state.