By ALBERT AKPOR, IFEANYI OKOLI and IDOWU OLAIDE
IT’S a common phenomenon for Lagos celebrities to be cheered by his admirers, especially Area boys, whenever they appear in any social circles. They would sing his praises in anticipation of a gift which in most cases, comes in the form of cash. The moment the personality drops the money, he is allowed free access to the occasion and in no time, the ‘boys’ would disappear to their enclaves to share the largesse.
This was exactly what happened last Saturday, March 3, in Oyingbo in the Lagos Mainland Local Government Area. According to one report, a member of the House of Representative identified as Hon. Nosiru Alao Owolabi reportedly arrived from Abuja to attend an unnamed social ceremony. He was spotted at the occasion and as usual, the boys swooped over him like a swarm of flies demanding that he parts with some money before being allowed entry.
An unconfirmed source said the law maker later bowed to the pressure from the ‘boys’ and allegedly dropped N500,000 for them. He was cheered and allowed to enjoy himself at the party. While the ‘boys’ disappeared to their enclave and were sharing the loot, a quarrel broke out over the sharing formula. They were said to have engaged themselves in a free for all which was later settled.
Free for all over sharing formula
However, the following day, another round of fighting broke out when those who felt slighted in the sharing formula attacked their leader simply called MC. It was during the attack on MC that his supporters retaliated and it turned out to be a free for all. Vehicles were vandalized, shops looted and factional members including passersby injured in the ensuing pandemonium. Crime Alert gathered that a member of one of the factions died in the crisis.
Another report said the law maker was refused entry to the occasion because what he gave the Area boys was not enough. He was therefore, physically assaulted while his vehicle was vandalized.
He was said to have reported to his immediate supporters who are also Area boys and was assured of a reprisal. Thus at about 2.30pm the following day, Sunday, the alleged law maker’s supporters stormed the area where he was assaulted and unleashed terror on the opposing faction including innocent passersby.
About 15 vehicles were torched while shops were looted. Several people including an unnamed police officer returning from a church service were injured. Among the vandalized vehicles were Volkswagen Jetta with number plate MA 600 EKY, Volkswagen Golf with number plate LSD 351 AE, and a Renault bus with number plate KTU 703 XA. The fight later spread to streets like Kadara, market, Obalolu, Oloto, Willoughby, Coats and Redemption Way.
Some of the residents who watched the show of might between the Area boys described it as a war situation. They said they had not witnessed such flagrant breach of peace in recent time. An aged man who craved anonymity said: “It was a serious crisis, just like war. It started with gunshots yesterday (Sunday) when some boys stormed our area harassing everybody. We later learnt that the whole problem started on Saturday when Hon. Alao Seniyan who just came back from Abuja gave the hoodlums N500,000 and their leader popularly called MC refused to share the money equally with his members.
“The honourable represents us in the House of Representatives. So on Sunday, I was sleeping when I heard gun shots and that woke me up. I came outside my room and I saw people running for their life and before long, I saw the miscreants chasing one another with guns, axes and cutlasses. They were shooting at one another and one member of Redeemed Church, a policeman who was returning from church was shot in the leg but did not died. But later, we heard that two of the hoodlums died during the fight.”
But the Police public relations officer, Mr. Joseph Jaiyeoba, said nobody died during the clash. He said four persons have been arrested while those who sustained injuries have been treated and discharged. He could not, however, tell whether the lawmaker was invited for questioning.