Stories by Ifeanyi Okolie
Eleven persons are currently cooling off at the Divisional Police Headquarters in Orile Igamu area of Lagos State following violent clashes that recently erupted between street urchins from Aweh and Araromi Streets battling for supremacy in the area.
Crime Alert gathered that a clamp- down on the restive youths by the police became necessary following a massive fracas that broke out between youths from the streets over a yet –to- be determined circumstance, after which no fewer than10 persons sustained live threatening injuries, while several vehicles, and buildings were damaged.
There were conflicting reports over the cause of the fighting which made residents of the area and beyond sleep with one eye open for days. Some residents of the area who pleaded anonymity for fear of being attacked told Crime Alert that the fighting started after a disagreement between two football teams. It was gathered that the team from Aweh was defeated by their Kurforiji counterpart and a fracas ensued which degenerated into a free for all.
Eyewitnesses said during the clash, dangerous weapons were freely used by both parties resulting in many people sustaining varying degrees of injuries. In fact, the situation took a very frightening dimension later in the night when the team that lost the soccer encounter invaded an adjoining street, Kuforiji, in the area and unleashed terror on the residents. They reportedly broke into private homes in search of all grown up boys in the street and ended up destroying properties worth millions of naira.
Private cars that were parked on the street were also smashed beyond repairs while some elders and children sustained severe injuries in the hands of the youths who were also wielding charms and amulets which they claimed protects them against any gun shot or attack.
A resident of the area, Olajide Badero who spoke with Crime Alert also said; “After the clash following the soccer encounter, there were fears that some boys from Aweh street may attack their counterparts in Araromi and Kuforiji. This fear was heightened following reports that one notorious muslim cleric popularly called Alfa who lives at Aweh street, was publicly spraying blood from pigeons in and around the street boasting that he had fortified youths from Aweh street against gun shot injuries and death from attack. After that, the boys from Araromi street were alleged to had contracted hoodlums from Ijora Badia to assist them in the fighting while those from Aweh allegedly contracted touts from Mushin.
That night was like hell, people were attacked randomly, shops were looted and vehicles were damaged. I was walking home from a family meeting when I saw people running helter-skelter. I escaped death by the whiskers because the boys were armed with dangerous weapons and there was no Policeman to take control.
Mohamed Lasisi, who runs a local cafeteria at the entrance of Aweh street told Crime Alert that it was after he saw the boys advancing dangerously to confront each other that he quickly ran to Orile police station to alert them of the impending war. “In fact, I must commend the Divisional Police Officer at Orile. He swiftly mobilized his boys and swooped on the area.
The Police did a commendable job by rounding up all those hoodlums and they even patrolled all the streets for days. When I went to the Police station that night, I was happy to see how they were interrogating the hoodlums and this made them open up and exposed all those involved in the fracas. I am sure they will not try that again because of the swiftness of the police in the area. I would also call on the police to hasten and check the activities of some hoodlums in the area that trade on drugs. This should be tackled the same way they handled those street urchins that were engaged in that clash”.
Crime Alert gathered reliably that the Police in the area have concluded plans to transfer all the suspects to the State Criminal Investigations Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, where more investigations would be carried out before prosecution. Meanwhile, Police sources at Orile hinted that the Divisional Police Officer in-charge of the area, CSP Robinson Eregare has ordered a 24-hourly patrol in all the nooks and crannies of the streets where the clash took place with a view to rounding up other suspected hoodlums that reportedly took part in the fracas.
It was also gathered that four ringleaders of the operation including the notorious Muslim Cleric that was alleged to be their native doctor have been declared wanted by the police and concerted efforts are being made to round them up.