- Attack on community only claimed six, says Owoseni
By Gboyega Akinsanmi and Chiemelie Ezeobi
The Lagos State Police Command has commenced an aggressive manhunt for suspected militants who invaded Igbolomu and Ishawo communities in Ikorodu last Friday and unleashed mayhem on the residents.
The gunmen, who were alleged to be militants, were said to have come in through the waterways and released hails of bullets which led to the death of no fewer than 20 persons and left others with varying degrees of injuries.
Addressing journalists, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said an aggressive and massive manhunt had already commenced against the suspected militants.
Owoseni, who was personally at the scene moments after the attack, also denied conflicting media reports on the actual number of people that were killed.
He said the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Owutu responded with his men almost immediately after he was alerted, adding that the mobile policemen were also swiftly deployed to patrol the affected areas constantly.
He said: “The DPO in Owutu went to Igbolomu and the surrounding communities and when he got there, he saw everybody running in panic.
“It could be maybe because of that immediate response that the militants fled the place but while moving round, he later found six corpses of the people that were killed.
“The police took over those corpses, out of which two were immediately released to their families, who said they want to go and bury according to Islamic rights, while we took the remaining four to the morgue.
“That was how we covered that place until we got support and reinforcement from the Nigerian Army who came to stay with us.
“I can confirm that the causality is six and no family till now has come out even while I was there to say that they have extra corpses apart from the ones that were recovered by the police in Owutu.
“What people must know is that this is not an investigation or operation that you can just say one plus one. The guys are taking advantage of the creeks. They hit and run to the creeks and also use the wee hours in the night to carry out that operation.
“Anywhere in the world, the military and police hardly operate in the night and so they have been taking advantage of that and that is why we have now introduced permanent standby points in all the four areas that we have identified as where they are coming from.”
He added that security forces would sustain the occupation of the standby points, while a permanent solution would be found to the impunity that was being carried out by the pipeline vandals.
Meanwhile, Owoseni, has confirmed that the attacks by militants on the two riverine communities only claimed six persons.
He debunked the report that the attacks claimed 50 persons, revealing that the state police authorities had set up security standby points to end the incessant attacks on the two communities.
Owoseni, disclosed this at the weekend during an interview with journalists at Lekki Free Trade Zone, saying the police operatives had launched aggressive manhunt for suspected militants.
At the session, the commissioner disclosed that the police authorities had started investigating the invasion of the two communities, noting that the actual number of people that were killed were six and not 50 as reported.
He explained that the Divisional Police Office in Owutu “responded almost immediately after it got alert. The mobile policemen were swiftly deployed to be patrolling the affected areas. The police went to Igbo Olomu and the surrounding communities.
“As of the time the security operatives got the communities, they saw everybody running in panic and it could be because of that immediate response the militants had fled the place. While moving round, the operatives found six corpses.
“The police took over those corpses out of which two were immediately released to their families. The two corpses were released because their families said they wanted to bury them according to Islamic rights while we took the remaining four to the morgue.
“That was how we covered that place until we got reinforcement from the Nigerian Army. I can confirm that the causality is six. Even while I was there, no family came to say they have extra corpses apart from the ones that were recovered immediately after the attack.”
Before now, Owoseni explained that the police had been making arrests in the areas, while the militants who committed the latest atrocity were being hunted, expressing optimism that the suspects would be apprehended very soon.
He added that what people should know “is that this is not an investigation or operation that you can just say one plus one. The guys are taking advantage of the creeks. They hit and run to the creeks and also use carry out their operations at nights. Anywhere in the world, the military and police hardly operate in the night.
“So, they have been taking advantage of that. That is why we have now mounted a permanent standby points in all the four areas that we have identified as where they are coming from,” the police commissioner said.
He added that the occupation of the standby points would be sustained by security forces, while a permanent solution would be found to the impunity that was being carried out by the pipeline vandals.