By Bose Adebayo
It is barely six months that illegal structures and shanties were demolished at Oshodi while a special monitoring team made up of military officials was equally launched in February.
They were to embark on 24-hours monitoring around Oshodi and its environs. With this development it became immediately clear that the days of criminals who use the place as a hide-out were numbered. It also underlies the state governmentâ€™s determination and seriousness to rid the state of criminal elements who tried to make life difficult for law-abiding citizens.
Today anyone passing through Oshodi cannot fail to notice some patrol vehicles in strategic locations with eagle-eyed military officers monitoring activities in the area. The presence of this patrol unit also ensures that the ubiquitous street urchins popularly called Area Boys are kept atÂ bay.
However, in spite of this effort by the state government to rid the area of crime, it might interest one to hear that criminal elements still manage to conceive ways to carry out nefarious activities within the Oshodi Bus-stop area.
Last weekend, 20-year-old Bisola Bakare ran into some advance fee fraudsters otherwise known as 419 who have more or less made the Oshodi Under-bridge their popular haunt where they attack unwary passers-by and disposses them of their prized possessions.Â The operation was carried out in such a wayÂ thatÂ leaves one wondering how the criminals could have done that right under the nose of security agents.
Convinced that Oshodi was no longer the enclave ofÂ crime and criminals, she left her residence at Bada-Ayobo to pay a visit to her elder sister, an undergraduate of Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH).
Although the incident happened to her a week ago, Bisola was still to get overÂ theÂ shock of this strange encounter as at the time Vanguard Metro met her. According to her, she has never been to LASPOTECH until her parents decided to send her on an errand to her elder sister.
â€œMy neighbours had been telling me I should not be afraid to go to Oshodi because government is really trying to monitor the place,â€ she said.
According to her, she got to Oshodi around 1pm and decided to ask people for direction. â€œI had the written address in my hand while my sister was calling intermittently to direct and guide me to her place. When I got to Under-bridge(Oshodi), I showed the address to somebody who directed me to where I could board a bus to the place.
As this was going on, a man suddenly broke into tears and was shouting, â€˜help! help! I have been robbedâ€™ He approached me and said he was new in the area and he was yet to locate his address before he ran into a gang which dispossessed him of his personal effects.
As he was telling me this, another person appeared behind us (I later realised they were working together) and suggested that both of us should assist the man. At this point in time, I couldnâ€™t recollect any other information, all my attention was centered on these two men,â€ she narrated.
â€œMy attempts to convince the other man that I was equally new in the area proved abortive as he started pleading in Yoruba language, Oju lâ€™o n râ€™Oju sâ€™a nu Oju (one should not hesitate to render assistance to those who need it),â€ said Bisola.
So convincing was the well-rehearsed trick of these fraudsters that the poor girl was taken in by it.Â â€œAlthough my sister kept calling me but all I could mutter was that I was on my way. On hearing this, the man started crying, saying that I was planning against him through the phone call.
Immediately his colleagues asked me to switch off my phone. As this was going on, a young man volunteered to give the man enough money to take him to where he was going provided he was ready to satisfy his condition, which is to follow him to his office at Isolo where the money would be given and all of us made straight for Isolo,â€ narrated the young girl.
At Isolo, another drama ensued when a young man appeared and introduced himself as a pastor. â€œWith the appearance of a pastor, I sighed with relief. The pastor started prophesying to all of us. He told us we were heading towards a fortune.
The pastor gave us some prayer points and also asked us to pray with Psalm 23 when we get home. When we finished with that, he asked us to swear an oath that none of us would reveal the secret that would be revealed to us and we complied. By this time, they had searched my bag and seized my cell phone, perfume and the money I was taking to my sister. One of them spat into my palm and the saliva appeared at the back of my hand.
â€œOne of them brought a soap and chemical whichÂ they used to wash some currency. He asked us to bring more money to buy the chemical so that all of us could share the money. They asked me to go home and bring more moneyÂ Â Â Â but I told them my house was far and they said I could bring the money the following day.
They even gave me a phone number at which to call them whenever the money was ready. Since we had already taken an oath, I could not tell anybody at home. I started searching for my parents money but (un)fortunately I could not get a substantial amount. All I could get was N2,900 which I took to Isolo where one of them was waiting for me. When I gave him the money, he was mad at me and asked me to go and bring more money,â€ she informed.
Contnuing she said: â€œBy the time I got home, the whole neighbourhood sensed something was wrong with me but I was afraid to tell any of them.
At the end of the day, I came back to my senses and called our General Overseer who had travelled to Ibadan on phone. The woman shouted and instructed me to hold on till she comes. I came back to my senses immediately and realised I had fallen into the hands of 419ers. That was when I was able to open up to my parents who never knew I had earlier ransacked their wardrobe. That was the beginning of my healing. I stopped calling them since that momentâ€.
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Free GCE forms a boost to educationâ€” Sosan
FORTUNE smiled on 600 students who are indigenes of Amuwo Odofin Local Government Council when they were given free G.C.E. forms to enable them participate in the forth coming G.C.E. examination.
The Chairman of the Council, Comrade Adewale Ayodele said that â€œeducation is one of the outstanding legacies in our nation and it is one in a life time opportunityâ€.
Teachers were recruited to enable the children to prepare for the exams. He urged the students to read hard and refuse to be distracted. He also told them not to be lazy and also to shun all juvenile delinquencies. The chairman finally said that â€œthe creator of your tomorrow is in your hands, you can decide to kill it now or keep it aliveâ€.
Honorable Adewale Ogunbakin, who is the supervisor for education also spoke to the students, saying that the free G.C.E. forms represent a first step towards the tertiary education of our children, which was based on the consideration of the less privileged.
The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Sarah Sosan, who was represented by Hon. Sunday Kappo, congratulated the chairman of the Local Government for his contribution to the educational sector through free JAMB and G.C.E. forms to students in his local government.
She said the children will be grateful to the chairman because some of them might have encountered one misfortune or the other. She congratulated all the beneficiaries and told them that â€œWAEC certificate is required to get to any institution and also to contest in any election in the country, including the presidency of Nigeriaâ€.