Hoodlums terrorise Oshodi in Lagos as fear grips Ladipo, Daleko markets
• Soldiers, police drafted to scene to quel thugs’ onslaught
• Yoruba group urges APC to curb attacks on non-indigenes
• Soldiers nab 20 for wandering on election day
Street urchins, popularly called Area Boys yesterday went on rampage at Oshodi and its environs in Lagos State, forcing traders to close shops and in the process destroying goods and vehicles belonging to residents. The hoodlums were targeting Igbo indigenes in the area.
Thugs loyal to a chieftain of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the All Progressive Congress (APC), Musiliu Akinsanya, a.k.a M.C. Oluomo, led the onslaught.
The Guardian learnt the thugs had gathered at the entrance to the market as early as 6:00a.m, waiting for the traders to arrive and from 7:00a.m. when the traders started arriving, they pounced at some of them and scattered their wares.
No fewer than 15 persons have since been arrested for their alleged involvement in the attack. Those arrested have been taken to the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba, where they are being profiled. Police sources said those found culpable after the profiling would be charged to court, while the innocent ones would be allowed to go.
It was gathered that the hoodlums, allegedly led by one Akile, also known as Last-Born, stormed the area as early as 8:00a.m. attacking Igbo shop owners for not voting the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections.
Eyewitnesses said the fracas forced shop owners to quickly abandon their businesses until the arrival of policemen from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and soldiers.
Michael Okonkwo, a trader at Cairo shopping complex said that the armed hoodlums attacked traders and customers. He said some of the hoodlums used the opportunity to snatch bags and vandalize shops.
“I got to the market at about 7:00a.m. having stayed away from business because of the public holiday and election. I was just settling down to shed my goods when I started hearing gunshots coming from Oshodi along. I quickly closed my shop. The owner of the shop next to mine was not so lucky as the thugs destroyed some of his goods,” he said.
Another eyewitness, one John Kalu, said traders were not allowed to open their shops as they were chased away by the hoodlums. “Many people sustained wounds while fleeing from the area. Some of the thugs came from Charity while others came from Bolade. They were led to the market by Lastborn, who is MC Oluomo’s younger brother,” he added.
A combined team of mobile policemen and regular policemen were immediately deployed to restore normalcy to the area. The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Chike Oti, in a statement dismissed the claims of fracas as rumours, but added that the command has intensified patrols and surveillance in the area and other parts of the state.
A soldier who led the detachment of the Nigerian Army to the area said they are on ground to ensure that peoples’ lives and property are protected. On his part, a Deputy Superintendent of Police who does not want his name in the print said they took the matter as a political violence and no one should read ethnicity to the incident.
Traders in Daleko market, Mushin debunked rumour of attack in the market. According to some traders, the gunshot in the area was as a result of a fight that broke out between opposing rival gangs in Mushin.
Traders at Ladipo auto spare parts market, Toyota bus-stop, Mushin, yesterday hurried home over rumours of attack by political thugs. The traders, who questioned if it was a crime to vote for any candidate of their choice, unusually started leaving for their various homes at about 4:00p.m. instead of their normal closing time of 6:30p.m.
One of the leaders who spoke with The Guardian said: “We are afraid of the government, we don’t know what is happening. They have been attacking our brothers across the state, so we have to summon an emergency meeting for everyone to return to their homes when there is still visibility. They attacked our people in Oshodi, Mushin, Shogunle, Orile. Not all the Ibos voted for PDP. Tinubu said Lagos would not contain all of us if we did not vote for the APC and that we should go back to Iboland.”
Meanwhile, a socio-political youth organisation in the South West, Apapo Egba Ewe Yoruba, has urged the Lagos State chapter of the ruling APC to call its thugs to order to halt xenophobic attacks on non-indigenes living in the state. A statement issued by the coordinator and secretary of the group, Babatunde Hassan and Ridwan Olaposi in Lagos yesterday added that the party risks incurring the wrath of Yoruba youths should the trend continues.
The group cautioned the APC and its leaders against setting the local indigenes in the state against their guests in the name politics. They implored the party, especially the National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, to call their boys to order in the interest of peace and prosperity of the state.
In another development, soldiers on LASU-Iyana Iba road on election day at the weekend arrested 20 persons for wandering. According to the soldiers, they were wandering from one place to another without Permanent Voters Card (PVC). Two of them were caught with cutlasses.
One of those arrested said he was having headache and wanted to get drugs from a friend living two streets away from his. Yusuf Olajide, an Okada rider, said he was on his way to refund the money he borrowed to repair his motorcycle when the soldiers nabbed him.
Samuel Olatunji said he lives in a nearby street and was going to meet a friend at the other street when he was arrested. The two persons caught with cutlasses said they were coming from a friend`s farm where they went to assist him to clear the bushes.
But the soldiers said they were lying. “What they told us before we arrested them is different from what they are saying now,” one of the soldiers said. Two persons admitted lying, claiming that they lied due to their fear of the soldiers.