Zainab Sanni, Paul Dada and Ganiyat Ganiyu
It was a sleepless Saturday night for residents of Aderemi and Kokumo streets, Olambe Community, Ogun States following reports that armed robbers were nearby, plundering a sister community, Akeredolu.
The wake up call had come from the night guard at about 12:15am on Sunday causing residents of the streets to troop out in their numbers and keep watch. According to the night guard, sounds of gunshots rented the air as the armed men plundered Akeredolu community and he had also heard some men speaking in whispers around a bushy part of Aderemi street.
The residents came out with clubs machetes, sticks, stones and other objects that could be used as defensive weapons and kept watch till 3:00am even as individual families ran helter-skelter looking for where to hide their valuables.
There have been overwhelming complaints by residents of 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 over how armed men have taken over the streets, attacking then day and night and taking their valuables.
These incidents have been on since Tuesday, April 7 as armed men allegedly move from community to community terrorising residents and causing unrest. Members of these communities have resorted to keeping group watches , lighting bonfires and patrolling day and night.
An Ogun resident, Mark Adebayo describes the situation as a total security meltdown.
“It’s a total security meltdown. My house is close to the epicentre of the bad boys’ bloody crimes. Even today, broad daylight, from around 11am to 2pm, starting from Agbado station, to Ope-Ilu, Almoruf, Ola-Ogun, Abule, Lemode, Ibaragun, Ijoko, the boys in their numbers on bikes attacked residents and robbed them. They were armed with dangerous weapons and, surprising, POS machines. If you don’t have cash, you’re compelled to submit your ATM card to them at gunpoint while your account is emptied. Reprieve only came when residents summoned courage, mobilised and launched a counterattack to repel them.
We don’t sleep at nights, now we don’t have peace in the day.
I’m a direct witness of the scary scenarios.” he said
Moyosore Dolapo on Facebook shared her experience said she was scared and fed up with the developments. She said “Armed robbers had been parading this area for days now. They came just last week to rob and when two of them were gunned down they brought letter just to warn ahead that they are coming back. Just this afternoon my neighbour warned us not to go out that he got an info they were already in my Estate. I read on Facebook that these armed men were100 in number moving from house to house. From Abule Egba to Ifo, this is no false, it’s true…. I’m scared and tired. They’ve been disturbing my Mum’s area too, she confirmed this when i called her. I don’t know for how long this will end, but I’m scared”
“I am in Sango. We have not been sleeping well since Thursday.” adds Gabriel Omotayo
In Lagos State, residents of Ifako-Ijayie, Abule-Egba and Agege amongst others have also cried out for help.
AN24.net had on Wednesday, April 1 reported the looting of businesses in parts of Lagos State.
Armed men reportedly raided shops and carted away television sets, jewelries, wrist- watches and other valuables while the security men around could do nothing about it.
The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkanan when contacted said the police was aware of the developments and had intensified its patrol of the locked shops. He said that police also had started to embark on chopper surveillance.
As the recent developments have shown, the situation havr only worsened and residents of Ogun and Lagos state now live in fear of their lives and properties. They have taken to devising community-based initiatives to protect themselves.
An24.net on Saturday reported that following unheeded appeals to the government and the Ogun State Police Command, residents residents had resolved to protect themselves against the robbers.
An24.net shared reports from micro-blogging site, Twitter which showed residents were seen making bonfire as they stayed up all night to protect their neighbourhoods in different areas in the state while lamenting the pathetic state of things.
“We had to stay up all night and be our own security…this lock down is really causing lot of problems for us. #OgunUnrestMore#adiyan #ogununrest” tweeted someone named Omo Ijebu
Amid worries about the possibility of an indefinite extension of the total lockdown order on Lagos, Ogun and Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari, residents of the two states continue to hope that the security efforts would be intensified and the armed men, apprehended.
President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a two-week total lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.