â€¢No they dare not,Â we are on ground â€” Police
By Albert Akpor
FOR more than one year now, the Lagos state police command has remained the cynosure of all eyes especially in the area of crime fighting.Â It has successfully maintained a low crime rate compared to other states of the federation.Â Available statics clearly showed that in 2009, the command recorded only 44 armed robbery incidents.Â
During this incidents, a total number of 335 suspected armed robbers were arrested while 144 of them died during exchange of gun fire with the police.Â This rear achievement so gladdened the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mr. Ogbonna Onovo who described the choice of commissioner of police Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo as â€œnot by accident but by design.â€
Mr. Onovo said CP Akpoyibo is a crime fighter of no mean status who has successfully driven criminals, especially armed robbers away from the state.Â He therefore,Â urged other Commissioners of Police to borrow a leaf from him.
However, emerging events have shown that the bad boys as they are popularly called, are surreptitiously finding their ways back into the state again.
For instance, just barely second quarter into the first month of 2010, the state command has recorded no fewer than thirteen armed robbery incidents with the death of five of the hoodlums.Â Seven of them were also arrested during cross fire with the police.Â There was therefore, no day without an incident of suspected armed robbers exchanging gun fire with the police in their nefarious quest to dispossess innocent persons of their valuables including cash.
For instance, on January 1, 2010 a gang of suspected armed robbers cashed in on the new year celebration to unleash terror on unsuspecting persons along Alaba Oro road by Iyatwu junction Alaba,Â dispossessing them of cash and other valuables; including GSM handsets.
However, while the robbery lasted, a distress was sent to the police on Layeni Divisional headquarters and a team of anti-robbery squad raced to the scene and arrested one Alaba Kazeem Ahmed of no fixed address while others escaped.
Similarly, on January 6, 2010, a team of anti-robbery squad from Ilemba Hausa police station while on routine patrol of the area,Â chased a gang of suspected armed robbers who were about to carry out their nefarious activitiesÂ and arrested one Edward Ogasi with one double barrel shotgun and one live cartridge.
Others reportedly escaped.Â The suspect was said to had confessed that they were about mounting a road block along the Elegbon road Ajangbadi when they sighted a police patrol van.Â The case had since been transferred to the SCID Panti Yaba for further investigation.Â On January 7, 2010;Â Â a gang of suspected armed robbers engaged some policemen from Shagamu road police station in a fierce shootout at glorious estate Ikorudu during which of the bandits was gunned down while others escaped with bullet wounds.
One single barrel shotgun and another double barrel gun cut to size and three live cartridges were recovered on the scene.Â January 10 and 11, 2010 was not any different as the police from Ajegunle arrested two suspected armed robbers who allegedly specialized in using Okada to robber people.Â According to police sources, three persons were spotted on top a motor bike marked QU 362 LND at an odd hour which made the police to go after themÂ But the rider of the bike was said to had brought it to an abrupt halt on noticing that a team of police man were chasing after them and took to his heels.
The other two were however,Â not so lucky as they were arrested.Â When searched, aÂ locally made pistol with one live cartridge was recovered from them.Â Similarly, a team of anti-robbery squad from Igando while responding to distress call on the 11th of the month under review, engaged a gang of suspect men of the underworld who reportedly operated on an unmarked commercial bus.
The hoodlums according to reports drove ferociously against traffic which arose the suspicion of the police men which promptly gave the vehicle a hot chase.Â Two of the occupants of the bus, one Afeez Yusuf of 115 community road Ijegun and Miss Opeyemi Ibiloye of 23 Ejo street Igando were arrested.Â Others were said to had jumped off the bus and escaped into thin air.Â Police sources said the arrested suspects have since made useful statements that is helping police investigations.
On January 13, 2010 a gang of suspected armed robbers engaged a team of anti-robbery squad form Shomolu Division who were on patrol along the Ikorodu road in a shootout which led to the death of one member of the gang.Â Others escaped with bullet wounds.
One locally made pistol was recovered from the deceased suspect.Â Â On January 17, 2010 and at about 11.00 pm a team of anti-robbery squad from Lion Building Division foiled attempt by some suspected robbers to snatch and Acura Jeep while responding to distress on Lewis street Lagos Island.Â One double barrel shot gun and two live cartridges were abandoned at the scene by the suspects.
And on the 18th of the month also,Â at about 11 00 pm, a team of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) on patrol teams 046 and 104 while responding to distress call at Osisanmi street Orekuta Owutu engaged a gang of suspected armed robbers in a shootout.
One of the suspects was shot dead while another who identified himself as Nelson Obetor was arrested with bullet wounds.Â Others reportedly escaped with bullets wounds.Â One locally made pistol two expended cartridges were recovered on the scene.
The following day, a team of anti robbery squad attached to Apapa Division led by the Divisional Police Officer, (DPO) Mohammed Ali engaged a gang of suspected armed men who rod on Okada in a shootout some where on Marine road and killed one of them in the process.
The police recovered N.8m that was earlier snatched from an unnamed business man who had gone to cash the money in one of the commercial banks on Warehouse road, Apapa.Â Sources said the armed men had trailed the man to the bank and waited patiently to come before snatching a bag containing the money from him.Â They zoomed off on their motorbike.
But luck ran against them after a distress was received by the team which was on routine patrol of the area and they were given a hot chase.Â The one holding the bag on sighting the police fired at them while the police responded promptly killing him on the spot.Â The other escaped with bullet wounds and the motor bike.
But like the Chinau Achebeâ€™s Eneke the bird â€œ which will fly without perching becauseÂ hunters have learnt to shoot without missingâ€, the Police in Lagos seemed to be battle ready for the hoodlums assuring that Lagos is much more hotter for them than what it used to be,Â warning that if they dare stage a come, they would end up in their graves.
The state police public relations officer, Mr. Frank Mba said that, â€œThe fact that in each robbery incident the police was always on ground showed that we are ready for them.Â The battle between the police and armed robbers is a continuos one.
Show me any country that is without crime and I will show the country that has gone into extinction.Â We are determined not to give them any room operate.Â We know that criminals are not happy with the state of things, I mean the heavy presence of policemen at every nook and cranny of the state; but like the children of God that we are, will continue to have upper hand against them.Â They wonâ€™t come back because that will mean their end.Â This is stern warning for them.â€