By Bose Adelaja
Mushin, one of the thickly populated and highly commercialised communities in Lagos, is often in the news, in most cases for the wrong reasons. This is because it is said to be notorious for harbouring crime and criminals, apart from it being prone to frequent outbreak of violence.
In Mushin, hooliganism and cultism are common, a reason for which the community has become a breeding ground for street urchins and hoodlums.
In the past few months, its notoriety seemed to have reached an alarming level as residents no longer sleep with their eyes closed, no thanks to sporadic shootings by warring criminal elements. Last weekend, for instance, Muslim faithful in the area celebrated the yearly Ed-El Kabir amidst fear as they were kept virtually indoors by sporadic gun shots that rocked some parts of the area for three days.
Preparation for the festival
On the eve of the festival which was Saturday November 5, the gun shots were first heard around Ojuwoye area, at a time when preparation for the festival was at its peak. Areas such as Railway Line, Odi-Olowo, Ojuwoye, Awoyokun, Idera, and Akala were then agog for the Sallah celebration before sporadic gunshots shattered the prevailing peace there; this was in the later part of the day. Expectedly, this brought about panic and pandemonium as people ran for cover, bringing all activities to a standstill.
A car wash operator, Mr. Taiwo Akinjobi, who told Vanguard Metro, VM, he had a narrow escape from death, said cars were vandalised while shops and offices were looted before the arrival of security operatives who made some arrests. Residents had sighed with relief following the arrests and many of them who had planned to travel stayed back not knowing the Saturday scene was a tip of an ice berg.
On Sunday, the return of relative peace prompted many residents to dine and wine at convenient street corners, with musical shows in place and beer parlor owners doing brisk business. That was after the Muslims among them came back from the praying grounds. But suddenly, there came gun shots from different directions, though first noticed around the Ojuwoye area. Although no life was lost, but several people were injured, while several properties were destroyed.
This spilled over to Monday, as a result of which many endured sleepless nights while the trouble lasted; others made hasty plans to vacate the area.
When VM visited Mushin on Sunday and Monday, there were different eyewitness accounts of the incident. While some said it was an offshoot of a problem in the past, others said it was political. “Some streets urchins were sponsored to make the area ungovernable,’’ said a trader, Madam Precilia Aganga and Ebunoluwa Oladimeji both residents of Mosalasi.
A law enforcement agent who spoke on condition of anonymity simply said the incident was based on a revenge mission by ‘Akala Boys’ who took the law into their hands. “Many residents are aware of this,’’ he said.
Meantime, residents have appealed to government to urgently restore sanity in the area.