By Onozure Dania
A trailer driver, Mr. Sina Odeyale, and his motor boy, Lateef Ahmed, escaped death by the whiskers, but ended up hospitalised after encounters with ubiquitous hoodlums, popularly known as Area Boys, in Lagos.
From Odeyale’s narrative, the perennial traffic gridlock on Mile 2-Apapa Expressway and a mechanical fault in the trailer worked against them.
To avoid the traffic, Odeyale said they intended to take a roundabout route through Oshodi to Apapa.
However, while leaving for Oshodi, two rough-looking young men jumped into the vehicle in the Mile 2 traffic, with one of them pointing what looked like a gun at Odeyale, collected N10,000 before they jumped down.
On getting to Oshodi at 6.30a.m., their trailer broke down and, according to him, “suddenly, many hooligans swooped on us like bees.
“Some demanded N30,000 while others reduced it to N20,000 to help us watch over the vehicle, while we get a mechanic to fix it.”
He told Vanguard that efforts to explain to the hoodlums that they had been robbed earlier fell on deaf ears.
He said the touts were further incensed when, after ransacking the vehicle and searching their pockets, they found no money.
The touts, numbering over 10, went berserk, hitting himself and the motor boy with fists, legs and machetes.
“People were passing by while this was going on. They saw us because the day was already bright. When the Area Boys saw us bleeding profusely, they scattered in different directions,” Odeyale added.
He thanked the good Samaritans, who later rushed them to New Line, a private hospital at Isolo, adding that Ahmed could have died if help didn’t come on time.
Reacting to the attack and other similar ones perpetrated by touts, an indigene of Lagos and a human rights activist, Mr. Michael Adebowale, called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to increase security surveillance on Lagos flashpoints, especially the ever busy Oshodi Bus Stop.
He said: “If Lagos must truly become a mega city, where people move from one place to another 24 hours round the clock, Governor Ambode must, as a matter of urgency, flush out these hoodlums from the state.”