NEWSCOVID-19: Anxiety in Lagos over daily robbery attacks, cult war amid lockdown

NEWSCOVID-19: Anxiety in Lagos over daily robbery attacks, cult war amid lockdown

NEWSCOVID-19: Anxiety in Lagos over daily robbery attacks, cult war amid lockdown

Lagos State is going through one of its roughest moments in decades amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

Just four months into the year 2020, major tragic incidents have already shaken the nation’s commercial hub.

In January, an inferno caused by a ruptured Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline at Ile Epo near Abule-Egba, claimed lives and destroyed properties.

In March, a massive explosion at Abule-Ado consumed many buildings and killed more than 20 citizens including the Principal of Bethlehem High School, Henrietta Alokha, who died while rescuing students.

However, despite the lockdown, Lagos has continued to witness unpalatable incidents.

It was reported that the current crisis in Lagos is two-pronged.

In the last five days, residents have trooped out to guard themselves against the robbery attacks and cult-related activities occurring day and night.

On one hand, hoodlums are using the lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari as an excuse to perpetrate criminal activities with reports of rape, looting, and inflicting physical injuries.

Affected areas are not limited to Abule-Egba, Baruwa, Egbeda, Dalemo, Akinde, Dopemu, Ogba, Iyana Ipaja, Meiran and Alakuko.

Also troubled are some Lagos-Ogun border communities such as Akute, Agbado, Alakuko, and Ojokoro.

Luckily, the Police in Ogun have arrested some suspects and are on the trail of others.

On the other hand, cult groups including Aiye, Eiye, Alora, Vikings, Pirates, KKK, Awawa, One Million, Marindoti, Ojumilojin, Pamolekun are going against each other.

They are attacking themselves over claims that some opposing members were the ones “bursting” homes and streets of supposed rivals.

The situation has deteriorated so much that aside from the formation of emergency vigilance groups, some neighborhoods are now being protected by youths, ‘Area Boys’ (a term for tough young men in localities) or Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) members.

Between Sunday night and Monday morning, several videos of Lagosians keeping vigil went viral, wielding dangerous weapons like machetes, axes, clubs for self-defense.

In one of the clips, a young man raised a brand of AK-47 assault rifle and fired three bullets in the air to the cheer of those around him.

But the Police have assured that it was facing the situation head-on.

The Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command led by DCP Tunji Disu, has been updating residents of its efforts.

Tweets of deployment of operatives to flash-points have been shared via its Twitter account @rrslagos767.

Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Bala Elkana, told DAILY POST Monday afternoon that the situation was under control.

Elkana advised residents to stay calm. He confirmed that the Police have increased patrol and deployed more tactical teams across Lagos.

Elkana said: “The situation was aggravated mostly by wrong messages. Some people are causing panic, creating videos and sending wrong information.

“People in their houses were getting scared. They say “armed robbers are on my street”, but when our men go there, nothing is happening.

“The Police received several calls and we reached the places to ensure the safety of lives and properties. We have also deployed more tactical units.

“We appeal to communities that want to support us to do it in our way. We welcome partnerships but people should not take laws into their hands”, the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, President Buhari will Monday night address the nation.

Going by his statement on Saturday and rising coronavirus cases, the Nigerian leader is likely to extend the lockdown.

“The freedoms we ask you to willingly forsake today will only last as long as our scientific advisers declare they are necessary”, he had stated.

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