By ALBERT AKPOR
AN air of reprieve may have started blowing in Lagos state after an almost one month of reported unprecedented upsurge in crime and criminality, especially armed robbery with the recent raids on criminal hideouts and arrest of 42 armed robbery suspects by men and officers attached to the state police command. A large catchment of sophisticated arms and ammunition, including snatched assorted vehicles were also recovered from the suspects.
The new commissioner of Police (CP) Yakubu Alkali while parading the suspects, undoubtedly admitted that policing Lagos state, the nation’s commercial nerve centre transcended mere tea party; debunking rumours from some quarters that crime in the state has been on the increase. He said, “ Permit me to say that feelers from the grapevine tend to suggest that there are concerns in certain quarters about crime rate in Lagos state. Certain individuals have continued to give a hint of exaggerated rise in crime and the lack of security and safety in some parts of Lagos metropolis and environs. This is however, far from the truth as the facts on ground suggest the contrary. Crime in Lagos have to be looked at holistically to be able to fight it and that is what we’re doing.”
According to him, he was being technical and tactful in his strides to ensure that Lagos residents sleep with their two eyes closed assuring that his officers and men have now been fully briefed on the task ahead in the state. Giving an overview of his activities since assumption of office on the 31 of January 2011, Mr. Yakubu Alkali said, his men were able to arrest 42 armed robbery suspects and shot dead 11 during cross fire with the police. He said 18 sophisticated arms including AK47 riffles, and 624 ammunition were equally recovered from the suspects. The CP puts the number of vehicles recovered from snatchers at 157 while only two of his men lost their lives during encounter with men of the underworld.
Continuing, CP Alkali said, “ On February , 2011, at about 14.00hrs, following a report from one Musiliu Elemoro, that his Toyota Camry with registration number BJ 550AKD was earlier snatched by two armed men at Akpogbon under bridge, Lagos. It was traced to Mokwa in Niger State. Consequently, two of the robbers namely, Ibrahim Lawal and Jafaru Dahiru were arrested. On March 10, 2011, through the lead given by the suspect, a receiver of the stolen vehicles, one Alhaji Sanusi Musa was arrested at his car sales outlet in Ilorin. Investigation into this case is in progress while efforts are in top gear to arrest other members of the gang in order to recover their arms and ammunition. Vehicles recovered from the criminal receiver include; Toyota Sienna XLE, Nisaan Murano Jeep, Toyota Camry Saloon car, Honda Civic, Toyota Haice, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry 07 model and Honda Accord. Also, on February 24, 2011, at about 01.00hrs, information was received that some armed robbers were planning to go out for a robbery operation at white sand area of Orilie-Iganmu.
A team of anti-robbery men immediately swung into action and arrested three suspects namely, Kinne Ibeneme, Uchenna Ogbonna and Tochukwu Mademme all of no fixed address. One locally made pistol and six rounds of live cartridges were recovered from them. On February 24, 2011, at about 1 pm, a police patrol team attached to Idimu police station arrested one Ejike Eze with three AK 47 riffles Nos 2998, 1373 4562 and ten magazines loaded with three hundred rounds of 7.62mm calibre of live ammunition in a black golf salon car marked PU 280 KJA. The suspect confessed to the robbery of Union Bank, Ebute-metta and Wema Bank Dopemu on February 17 and 22 February 2011 respectively.
Also on February 24 at about 6.10pm, two suspected kidnappers Akinyosoye Seun and Akin Akinyosoye both male of no fixed address, alleged to have been brains behind the kidnap and missing persons in Owutu area of Ikorodu were arrested in a hideout in Okokoro. And on March 3, 2011, at about 4.30pm three armed robbers, Adigun Shoyinka Gbenga Akinpelu and Nurudeen Fadairo were arrested with two locally made pistols and nine live cartridges at Agbekale Meiran. ”Once again, we want to use this opportunity to say it loud and clear that the command is prepared, motivated and well able to safeguard the lives and property of the good people of Lagos, so much so that they will continue to sleep with their two eyes closed.”