By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, has ordered security to be beefed up around Mile 2 in Amuwo-Odofin LGA and Apapa-Oshodi Expressway following public outcry over the rising cases of armed robbery, violent attacks on motorists, and other road users by hoodlums.
Reliable sources reveal that a joint patrol exercise comprising six Police Divisions from three area commands and two teams of policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) have been strategically stationed at a section of the Mile 2 bridge and the descending part thereof to prevent any act of criminality.
Before now, despite increase in the number of policemen patrolling these areas, cases of armed banditry have been rising with many people narrowly escaping death from the hands of men of the underworld.
Residents of the area are worried, partly attributing the insecurity to the on-going construction work by both the federal and state governments in the area. They also blamed the incessant heavy traffic gridlock arising from the same road construction, lamenting the bold presence and activities those young bandits, undeterred by police.
Eyewitnesses recount how these bandits, as early as 6am, operate without anyone challenging them: “You can see them sometimes in two or three, robbing from vehicle to vehicle with ease.” Some, they said, would just stroll away after the operation, while others would just mount their motorcycles parked nearby and zoom off.
Recently, a young business man resident in FESTAC town was shot down at Mile-2 by gunmen and left to die in the pool of his own blood.
One Francis, an employee of a media houses in Apapa, narrated this story: “After close of work one day, around 7.30 pm, as I was driving home there was this heavy traffic jam from Berger Suya to Mile-2. “As I got to Otto Wharf, I noticed three hefty men coming toward my car. They banged at the driver side mirror demanding that I wind down the glasses, but I refused. Suddenly I heard the sound of shattering glasses as they used the butt of their guns to shatter the windows.
In the process, they beat me blue-black and within a twinkling of an eye, they have made away with all my valuables: mobile phones, laptop, wristwatch, cash and some other things in my handbag. I sustained serious injuries on the head during the attack. I was infuriated when I got to the Mile 2 bridge and saw some policemen in a van stationed there doing nothing, but waiting to extort money from commercial bus drivers.”
The citizens of the area are now crying and urging the government to join efforts with the Army and the Navy to have effective patrol of the area with a view to flushing out the bandits and restoring the erstwhile sanity and safety of life and property in the area.