By ALBERT AKPOR
SITUATED on the hills of Oke-Afa, along the Egbe/ Ikotun Road, Jakande Estate Isolo was adjudged about the most peaceful estate of the low cost housing built by one time governor of Lagos state, Chief Lateef Jakande. Until recently, the estate was mostly inhabited by retired civil servants and lived a low profile life. Reports say the estate was totally devoid of any trace of crime and criminality and therefore, it was strange for anyone to hear gunshots and or somebody screaming for help of being under attack by gunmen. However, this seeming serenity hitherto enjoyed by residents of this outstanding low cost housing estate is gradually being eroded as armed robbers, car vandals have taken over the estate. It is now common knowledge to hear sporadic gunshots from dare devil armed robbers who now rob residents uninterrupted. Cars parked at the various zones are constantly being vandalized. And because at every incident, no police man nor police patrol van is sighted in the estate, perpetrators are wont to repeat the dastardly act. It is therefore, an understatement to say that residents now live in perpetual fear of the unknown.
Investigation has revealed that in the last three weeks, apart from the heavy shooting that sent cold shivers down the spines of residents during an aborted robbery few days to the end of February this year, the estate has witnessed continuous car vandalisation with vital parts being carted away. Just two weeks ago, residents of ‘zone 11’ were jolted from sleep by the shout for help from an Hausa security guard after being attacked by vandals for confronting them. Meanwhile, several windows were burgled with ‘go to hell’ tool to cart away belongings. A Mercedes Benz car marked ER 899 KJA belonging to a journalist, Prince Benson Davies of one of the magazines was vandalized with the car stereo, his cheque book and some undisclosed amount of money carted away. The car glass was reportedly shattered before the vandals could gain access into the car. But Mr. Davies said nemesis caught up with one of them as his wrist was slashed by the broken glass. “From what I saw the following day it was clear that the vandal’s wrist was slashed because his blood spilled all over inside my car while ransacking it.”
Remarked an elderly man who simply identified himself as Baba Adio, a retired civil servant: “What is happening now in this estate is totally alien and we are afraid as to the end of this. In those days when we came in here, there was nothing like robbery or vandalization of vehicles. We didn’t need an Aboki night guard. But gradually, drinking joints started springing up and it became a regular thing for night crawlers to remain at those social joints till God knows when. Don’t forget that most of the people that come into the estate to drink are not residents in the estate. What they do is to survey the area on the pretext of drinking.
Some of them even go round the various zones at day time to survey the block (s) they want to attack so that it will be easy when they strike at night. We have held several unsuccessful meetings to discuss how to end the proliferation of drinking joints in the estate. With apology to our Igbo brothers, the way they showcase their wealth also is responsible for what is going on presently. The estate was originally built for residential purpose but this has since been upturned. Most of the flats have even been sold while the buyers have turned the backyards or the outside view into drinking joints.
Apart from using these joints to inconvenient other residents, these hoodlums find their ways into the estate through this channel. Again, the police is not helping matters. The other day, robbers struck though the police later came upon a distress call, after that, we have not seen any police man in this estate again. Except towards the Bucknor estate enrouting Isheri, we have not seen any police vehicle patrolling or stationed at strategic locations in the estate. So we are using this medium to call on the Lagos Commissioner of Police (CP) Yakubu Fakai to please come to our aid. We have reported incidences of car vandalisation and even outright theft to the Ejigbo and Isolo police stations without meaningful result. Each time, it has always been buck-passing as to which division the estate falls.”
Another respondent, a nursing mother and petty trader who identified herself as Mama Usoro, a wife to one of the security guards in the estate narrated how she witnessed her husband being attacked by robbers for daring to challenge them. According to her, “That night, something just spoke to me to check on my husband because he normally spends the night out in the park watching over parked vehicles. Suddenly I discovered that two hefty men had pinned him to the ground and he was shouting for help but none came. So I had to scream blood of Jesus repeatedly and the men later abandoned their earlier plans and took to their heels. The painful aspect is that nobody came out in spite of my shout that night.
Two days after, the men were back again because nothing happened to them the previous time. However, this time they went to other zone where they robbed several blocks. There is the need to invite the police into the estate; let them patrol the estate especially at night during blackout. Again, NEPA or PHCN is not helping matters. In those days we used to have constant power supply in the estate, but this is not so now and that is what these thieves are cashing in on to regularly raid us.”