•Arrest 191 suspects
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Segun James, Raheem Akingbola in Lagos
Following the rise in crime rate in Lagos and Ogun States, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate deployment of additional intelligence and operational assets of the Force, comprising Police Mobile Force (PMF) Units, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Special Tactical Squad (STS), to the two states to strengthen security and bolster public confidence in the affected areas.
The Intervention Team is being coordinated by a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Mr. Peter Ogunyanwo, a seasoned crime fighter, who doubles as the DIG in charge of the Department of Research and Planning of the Force and the coordinating DIG for the South-west geopolitical zone.
Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, a deputy commissioner of police, said in a statement yesterday that Ogunyanwo is to immediately oversee the deployments of these additional assets to enhance public safety, public confidence and general security in the two states.
Mba said the IG had also ordered Commissioners of Police across the country to immediately rejig the security architecture in their various commands to effectively tackle all emerging crimes associated with the COVID-19 lock-down.
It stated: “They are also to intensify patrols around residential areas, markets, shopping malls and all critical national infrastructures in their jurisdictions. The Assistant Inspectors General of Police in the 12 zonal commands have also been directed by the IG to bring their supervisory role to bear by ensuring that the commands under their zones are safe and secure for the citizenry to live and thrive,” the statement said.
The statement disclosed that 191 suspects have been arrested in Lagos and Ogun States in connection with the incidents.
“The following exhibits, 15 locally-made guns, 52 live cartridges, 42 cutlasses and axes and large quantity of weeds suspected to be Marijuana have been recovered from the hoodlums by the police teams in the Agbado, Ifo, Otta, and Agege axis.
“The DIG, Peter B. Ogunyanwo, can be reached through this GSM No: 0803 389 3226. The Control Room Numbers for Lagos Command are 08127155132, 08065154338 and 07055462708 while that of Ogun Command are 08081770416 and 08081770419.”
The IG assured the citizens that the police will not sit idly by and allow activities of a few criminals to disrupt the peace and security of the country.
He commended Nigerians for their steadfastness, patience, perseverance and vigilance at this critical time.
Some suburbs in Lagos and Ogun states have continued to be rocked by a spate of armed robbery attacks as the after-effect of the lockdown by the federal government bites harder.
In Ogun State, there has been overwhelming complaints by residents of Owode, Ilepa, Ifo, Arigbajo, Itori, Dalemo, Ijoko, Ogba Ayo, Mosa, Joju, Sango, Ota, Oniyale among other communities in Ifo and Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Areas (LGAs) on how hoodlums have been dispossessing them of their valuables day and night.
In Lagos State, areas like Agege, Mangoro, Iyana Ipaja, Festac Town, Jankara and Ifako-Ijaiye, Surulere, Itire, Ijesha, Ikorodu, Oko Oba, Ogba, and Dopemu were rocked by the attacks simultaneously, with particular focus on food stores.
In a bid to stem criminal activities arising from the lockdown imposed by the federal government, the Nigerian Police said it would step up measures including increased night patrols in Lagos and Ogun States.
However, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Olusegun Odumosu, has accused those alleging mob attacks in Lagos of attempting to create tension in the state.
But in what appeared like a coordinated operation, the hoodlums were said to have been using motorcycles and buses to attack residents with different kinds of weapons.
Residents who spoke with THISDAY said the suspects looted food stores and warehouses in the areas.
“They came in about 7 p.m. this night (on Sunday) with about 30 motorcycles and 10 buses,” a resident of Aluminum Village in Dopemu, said.
“Many houses and food shops have been robbed. In fact, they also broke into some warehouses here and stole items,” she added.
In Mangoro, another resident said they attacked people on the streets, snatching purses and bags.
“Nowhere is safe in the area now. Those that were on the streets were attacked and they collected their purses. They also broke into houses and robbed people of their valuables,” he said.
In Iyana Ipaja, a resident said after previous attacks, some youth in the area lit bonfires on the streets.
“We know they have been operating in nearby streets, but we won’t allow them to get into our streets. We will keep a night over this fire,” one of them at Iyana Ipaja said.
It was gathered that some shops in Jankara Market in the Ifako Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State were looted by hoodlums while some residents of Festac Town were robbed.
Agege, another suburb in Lagos was the worst hit by the gang from Oke Koto to Agunbiade, Ayanwale to Pen Cinema.
Hell was let loose in Agege when miscreants called area boys went on rampage and invaded several streets looting and vandalising homes and business premises claiming they were hungry at 2.a.m on yesterday.
However, the over 50 boys met a stiff resistance from youths in the area who engaged them in a free for all.
The action of the boys prompted youths in several areas of the state to set up bonfires on streets in the area.
Similar situation abounds across the city even as most traders have been lamenting the lockdown.
At Agege, most traders cried that their shops were broken into and goods stolen. At Alaka end of the Apapa-Ojuelegba flyover, a journalist was attacked and the windshield of his car broken.
According to Alhaja Mimotalai Mustapha, a foodstuff trader at Capitol Road, Agege, the situation for most people has become desperate.
She begged the government to reopen movement or people may resort to desperate measures to survive.
Most places visited by THISDAY yesterday were characterised by a relaxation of movement among the people.
At Berger bus stop at Ojodu, there were several people seeking transportation to Lagos Island, but no buses to convey them.
At the Old Toll Gate near Seven-Up, stern-looking security operatives were on hand to screen all entering into the state.