For the residents of a community in Ifelodun Local Government, Lagos State, it has been incessant attacks by heavily armed hoodlums who parade the streets, terrorizing people.
In the past two months, the densely populated area witnessed several violent clashes between different groups of thugs who openly brandished assorted weapons with which they terrorize residents of the area and people going about their normal businesses.
So far, no fewer than 15 persons have been confirmed dead while scores were seriously wounded during the fracas. Last week, the warring gangs took over the streets leaving four yet-to-be identified persons dead with many others sustaining varying degrees of injury.
The streets most affected are: Alaba-oro, Akpasa, Adejiyan, Safejo, Ishaga, Jinadu down to Bus-stop in Ojo Rd, under Ajegunle.
During the fracas, assorted dangerous weapons like machetes, cutlasses, jack knives etc were freely used by the hoodlums who also fired indiscriminately to scare away their opponents.
After the crisis which lasted for hours, residents of Ishaga and Jinadu streets where the fierce fighting took place lamented the loss of properties and cash which they alleged were forcefully taken by the hoodlums. They also alleged that a large number of thugs broke into their homes and made away with valuables and damaged properties, shops and other items like; water tanks, parked vehicles etc.
Community Under Siege
Mr Musa Amadu, a motorist narrated to Crime Guard how he narrowly escaped being killed by the thugs while conveying people to the area.
"It is so sad that we have lost our daily bread to this insurgence in the area. Several times, we have been apprehended by these thugs and harassed for bringing passengers to the area. Just this week, several motorcycles were destroyed by the gun-wielding thugs but for the swift intervention of the police from Amukoko district and other vigilante groups, it would have been messy."
Another resident, John Momor, said shops had been shut down while some residents had to flee the community.
"After the bridges that link Jinadu street from Ishaga and others were destroyed during one of the clashes, the threat was so intense that customers are afraid to come and purchase goods from us. Even when some of them come, the thugs will subject them to ceaseless interrogation accusing them of leaking their hideouts to the police.
The hoodlums have taken over the area completely and created road blocks which they man with their arms. Unfortunately, the police have been carrying out arrests but in the wrong places. It is as if they avoid parading the den of these thugs,"he stated.
Following this development, Crime Guard learnt that the new Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, gave matching orders to all the police formations in and around the area with stern directives to flush out the thugs and recover all the illegally acquired weapons.
He was also said to have directed that henceforth, politicians who fail to control their supporters would be held liable in case of any crisis. Based on this, detectives reportedly swung into action and arrested seven persons in connection with the crisis.
They are currently in Special Anti Robbery Squad , SARS. They were arrested for their involvement in the crisis affecting the community.
Condemning the unwholesome activities of the political thugs and hoodlums in the community, Mrs. Rukyat Awe, a food vendor in Mosafejo area told Crime Guard, "The problems we are facing in this community are the activities of hoodlums. Their activities are threatening our lives.
In our own country, we sleep with our eyes open. We are living as if we are under siege, we live in fear as these thugs go about causing trouble, breaking into people's houses and shops and robbing people of their valuables. Every day, they attack innocent people for no just cause."
A landlord in Adejiyan, Alaba area also said, "The whole area has been taken over by thugs who mask their faces. They move in groups carrying guns in broad day light, looting shops and destroying parked vehicles. We don't know where they get these guns from. Imagine, we couldn't sleep all through the night because of these people.
Yesterday, a young secondary school student was hit by stray bullet from one of the masked men. If not for the police who have been helping to curb the crisis, they would have turned the area into a war zone."