By Evelyn Usman
For long, the Mile-Two Badagry expressway has become a nightmare to both motorists and passers-by.Â Â This is because of the terror unleashed on people by criminals who have converted the major road into a haven.Â Â These criminals usually attack innocent and helpless commuters in their numbers from 7.30 pm daily.
Ironically, these hoodlums carry out their nefarious activities very close to both the Police station and the nearby military barracks at Ojo.
Although some arrests have been made in recent times but that seemed not to have abated the trend as the robbers usually carry out their nefarious activities unhindered.Â Â Â They succeed in carrying out this devilish acts by capitalizing onÂ the unending traffic congestion along the route, thereby inflicting wounds on their victims after dispossessing them of cash, mobile phones and other valuables.
Most times, they reportedly escape through the fence particularly, those ofÂ the military, thereby making it impossible for them to be rounded up even by other security agents.
Disturbed by the alarming trend, particularly as accusing fingers were being pointed at the Army whose cantonment these robbers sometimes run into for escape, military authorities decided to be on their guard.Â Â Their resolve paid off two weeks ago when five notorious robbers who have been terrorizing commuters on the highway met their waterloo.
End Of The Road
The six-man gang who thought it will be business as usual positioned themselves at a vantage point very close to the gate leading to Ojo cantonment, from Mile 2 end around 7 pm on the penultimate day,Â and started raiding commuters.
They reportedly shot sporadically to ward off intruders while the raid was going on.Â Â Soldiers at the main gate, according to eye witnesses, gave the robbers a hot chase on motorcycles and were able to catch up with them in a traffic.Â After the encounter which was described by eyewitnesses as â€˜very hotâ€™, two of the robbers were killed while three were completely incapacitated.
Confirming the incident, spokesman of the 9 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ikeja cantonment, Captain Daudu, explained that,Â â€œthe robbers on getting to the Cantonment main gate,Â had the audacity to pull upÂ and opened fire sporadically and robbed innocent civilians of their belongings.
Commuters from the bus stops adjoining the main gate and the one opposite took to their heels running helter skelter. Soldiers on duty at the gate could not attempt to confront the robbers immediately in order to avoid killing innocent civilians. The robbers got back on their motorcycles and made attempt to escape amidst the mayhem and brouhaha they caused. Luck however ran out of them as they got held in a traffic where they continued theirÂ shooting spree. Activities at the cantonment end of the abattoir pedestrian gate did not even deter them as they continued shooting sporadically and frantically into the air in a bid to enhance their escape.
â€œHowever, soldiers at the gate galvanized themselves into action and went in pursuit of the robbers.Â The point man, Makinta Suleiman took a bike quickly and on closing- up with the robbers, he opened fire, carefully taking his aim. There was a hot exchange of fire at the end of which five of the robbers were gunned down, two died while three were wounded and completely incapacitated.Â The shots were on target and neither hit any innocent citizen nor onlookersâ€.
Captain Dauda further noted that armed robbery attacks on the route are carried out regularly and these men of the under world sometimes use the cover of the barracks to escape stating that, â€œ Soldiers on the other hand, are to adhere strictly to the Rules of Engagement (ROE) at all times. This situation has made members of the public to suspects both soldiers and their wards as masterminds of such attacks.Â Luckily, our men have shown gallantry by dealing with them and we will not hesitate in taking such decisive action whenever the need arisesâ€, he stated.
Police Take Over
Items recoveredÂ at the end of the shoot out,Â according to him, included, a loaded pistol, live cartridges, two operational motorcycles with registration numbers QE 619 AA and QV 983 LSD; mobile phones, digital camera, a wrist watch, two hand bags containing ladies wear, a calculator, the sum of N495 and CFA 7, 000 cash, WHO international certificate of vaccination, amongst others.
Captain Dauda said all the recovered items are suspected to have been robbed from their owners.Â Â He also informed that the suspects, their dead colleagues and items recovered were handed over to the Police Special Armed Robbery Squad.