Oshodi Mayhem Has Political Undertone, Says MC Oluomo’s Family, Others Differ
CURBING political violence is one of the highpoints of the present administration in Lagos but it is, however, surprising as the menace is gradually finding its way back to the State. Hoodlums from National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) usually played a central role in elections in Lagos until Governor Fashola, two years ago, took action against the menace caused by the Agberos and therefore curtailed their activities in Lagos politics.
The incident of political thuggery was last heard in Oyo State during the years of the late Lamidi Adedibu popularly known as ‘Orisa Monlete’. Until his demise, Oyo politics is usually characterized with violence of NURTW and some Agbero.
The recent mayhem between members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oshodi area of Lagos and the accusations that followed between the two major political parties in the State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has once again underscored the fact that political parties usually employ the services of the ignorant youths to settle political scores. Many people in the state are of the opinion that the NURTW members in Lagos State are card-carrying members of the APC, a claim the party has vehemently denied.
Governorship candidate for People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje had once accused the police of bias over the arrest of 20 members of the party in connection with an earlier clash with the NURTW members and some PDP youths in the Oshodi area of Lagos which left many dead. Agbaje’s campaign team accused the police of arresting PDP members, noting that the police were acting the script of the APC to frustrate the PDP’s campaign. He was accusing the police at the Mosafejo police station of doing illegal arrests.
The police through its Public Relations Officer, Kenneth Nwosu, however, debunked the claim. According to him: “We did not go after any party supporters. We only apprehended 20 suspects who have since been arraigned before the court. Our duty is to ensure the safety of the neighbourhood where the crime was committed. The PDP claim is not true”.
Whether true or false, indications have emerged that the fracas between the NURTW workers in Oshodi was not totally unconnected with the state politics.
Investigations carried out by the Guardian has further strengthened the argument at some quarters that the crises, which claimed no fewer than four lives, was politically motivated. It goes beyond mere disagreement among NURTW workers. What appeared to be mere mayhem between the two factions of NURTW is fast changing to open contestation for power between PDP and APC ahead of March elections.
Though many have been pointing accusing finger at Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo as the mastermind of the violence that broke out recently in Oshodi, but a critical look into the matter has given some certain revelations which denote that politicians are trying to get hold of some strong members of NURTW who could help them achieve their goals in the coming elections.
Speaking with the sister to MC. Oluomo, Alhaja Modupe Odus, she said her brother was innocent of all allegations some people levied against him. The mayhem was between the Onigbongbo and Ilupeju Motor Parks. Oluomo’s park is in Oshodi and not in this Odiolowo local council.
Odus argued that her Oluomo did nothing wrong and that power from Abuja is just after him.
She further disclosed that her brother whom everybody seems to be accusing is not involved at all.
Odus who lives in the same house with Oluomo said her brother had got an invitation from State Security Service (SSS) on the 6th of February, inviting him to come to Abuja. According to her the invitation was for MC. Oluomo to come to Abuja and see President Jonathan. “But he refused to go because the letter did not disclose the reasons behind the invitation. And this is what we are seeing again.
When asked about the whereabouts of her brother, Odus, who is popularly known as Yeye Oge said he is not in the country at the moment and that he would soon come to clear the cloud.
“From all indications it appeared that the whole issue centred on ruling PDP trying to stop APC from having Lagos in the coming elections. They knew that Oluomo is a strong character in NURTW and they are trying to win him over to PDP,” she alleged.
Though he is presently at large but SSS has been beaming its searchlight on him. It was gathered from a reliable source that SSS has been visiting MC Oluomo to arrest him or any of his ally.
When the Guardian called for an update as to the whereabouts of MC.Oluomo yesterday morning, Odus said: “Some innocent people arrested from Oluomo’s residence have been released on bail to me on Saturday”. She even claimed that Governor Fashola had ordered the release of others that were innocently arrested in connection with this.
Odus said rhetorically in Yoruba language that “Owo ma to ba won” meaning those who are really behind this dastardly act would soon be brought to book.
It will, however, be a bad precedence, if Lagos State government folds its arms and watch these criminals behind the burning of vehicles and killings of innocent traders, transporters and passerby go unpunished.
At the end of the fracas, over five persons were killed, 40 vehicles were destroyed; shops were looted and burnt while scores of innocent citizens who were caught amid the fracas sustained various degrees of injuries. Normalcy only returned to the area when security officers took control, while traffic on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway and the Ikorodu road remained at a standstill for hours as the battle raged.
Another source who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity claimed that the fight involved three groups, Big London boys, Railway boys and Under-bridge boys. He said the fight started after the police ordered that there should be a stop to hemp smoking in the motor parks.
What fueled the fight between the Big London boys with the Railway and Under-bridge gangs was because a particular group thought the action was being engineered by another group, ‘Big London boys’.
He said, “the Railway boys and the Under-bridge boys usually conspire to wage war against the Big London boys, which also had Oluomo as its leader. During this mayhem, a man was shot in the eye, another in the hand and leg. Several others are in critical conditions in different hospitals.”
Other people who spoke to The Guardian claimed that the Big London group masterminded the fight but none admitted that political parties were sponsoring them.
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