Loot church, destroy vehicles
* as wood seller mistaken for mad woman escapes being lynched
By Evelyn Usman
Two scavengers alleged to be ritualists were yesterday set ablaze by a mob at Ile Zik bus-stop along Lagos Abeokuta expressway.
The irate mob also went on rampage, attacking mad people around the areas , alleging that they errand boys to ritualists and their sponsors.
In the process, a wood seller said to have been mistaken for a mad woman escaped death by the whiskers as she was prevented from being lynched .
Security agents had Thursday prevented a mob action on five persons , including a Vulgariser
who owns a stand at the bus stop.
The action as gathered, followed report that ritualists had their den inside a manhole at the bus -stop where kidnapped victims were killed and their body parts dismembered and thereafter taken to their sponsors for money rituals.
However , the claim was discovered to be false as nothing suggestive of such action according to security operatives , was found at the end of a four- hour search of the manhole.
Not satisfied with the security agents report, Vanguard gathered that armed mob stormed the manhole yesterday morning, where two scavengers said to be sleeping were dragged out , beaten to a pulp and set ablaze.
Thereafter, the mob stormed a church, New Testament International Gospel Church, located close to the bus-stop, destroying properties. An eye witness , Obehi Uwayiamen, said ” The two men were iron scrap scavengers. They were lynched on the suspicion that they were ritualists who sold human parts there.
The place is a crime prone area where passers- by are attacked a night and early morning, including motorists whose vehicles broke down there. Women were also raped at night here”. A private guard who gave his identity simply as Abubakar, told Vanguard that the situation was hijacked by hoodlums to steal.
Abubakar who has a kiosk where he sold wares , lamented that : “All my goods were looted . Those killed were innocent people .
They did not ask them any question, they just killed them for nothing ” Another trader who spoke on the condition of anonymity claimed that women wigs, shoes, rope suspected to be used by ritualists to strangle their victims and other personal effects were found inside the tunnel when the mob stormed there. She further alleged that some kidnappers hid camouflage as destitute to commit atrocities there.
It was gathered that the mob went on rampage attacking mad people in the area, claiming they were using it as bait to get their victims.
A mad woman who was attacked at Magoro area of Agege, was reportedly prevented from being lynched by the mob. Another woman who looked unkempt was reportedly also attacked, on the suspicion that she was feigning madness.
The woman said to have been immediately whisked to Isokoko Police division ,where she identified herself as a plank seller .
A member of the New Testament Gospel church that was attacked by hoodlums, Elder Gabriel Adaji , condemned condemned the action and wondered what the church had got to do with the issue at hand.
He said : ” They attempted to force the door to the office of the bishop opened, in the process, they broke all the glasses in the church and destroyed the Bishop’s vehicle. . But for the timely intervention of the police , they would have done more damage.” Some arrested were however made by the police.
But some of those arrested claimed they only alighted from the commercial buses they were in , to satisfy their curiosity ,only to be nabbed. Commissioner of Police , Lagos state Police command , Fatai Owoseni, who described yesterday mob action as one too many in recent time , said ” A number of arrests were made in this regard.
The foregoing has made it imperative that the general public be reminded of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999)which states thus: “It shall be the duty of every citizen to respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of others and live in unity and harmony and in the spirit of common brotherhood. No person shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
“There is no justification for jungle justice on suspected persons. It is barbaric and uncivilised. It is a manifestation of the erosion of our moral values and a disregard to sanctity of human lives. It violates the rule of law and dents the image of the State. Above all, it is a violation of the law, and all those arrested in connection with the aforementioned cases will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“The General public is advised to report any suspicious happening in their areas to the Police and other security agencies. The public is assured of the renewed commitment of the Police and other security agencies to promptly respond to such reports.
“The general public is therefore, strongly advised to desist from this unlawful and barbaric act. No effort will be spared in ensuring that lawful means are used to bring to justice, anyone who violates the law, please.”