•Scores battered, wounded
•Truck drivers threaten reprisal attack
•Police helpless

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor

Residents of Oguntedo and old Ojo road in Satellite town, Oriade Local government Area, Lagos state have continued to live in fear following incessant attacks and clashes between members of a notorious gang, truck drivers and members of the community over extortion of money and forceful acquisition of land and property. Last week, the deadly gang that has been terrorizing the area struck again at Vinager area of the town.

The gang reportedly clashed with truck drivers after efforts to extort money from the drivers who were members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPPENG, was stoutly resisted. It degenerated into fracas as members of the notorious gang reputed to have been tormenting, reigning continuous terror and intimidating residents of Abule Ado and its environs went berserk, unleashing mayhem on anyone they saw.

Armed with all kinds of dangerous weapons including stones, members of the gang pounced on both trucks and drivers, damaging and wounding scores in the process. Eyewitnesses said the gun wielding thugs shot indiscriminately at their opponents who tried to confront them. The shootout reportedly lasted for hours after which the gang disappeared to an unknown destination with some of their members that were either shot dead or wounded during the deadly encounter.

Crime Guard learned that efforts by the police to confront them were stoutly resisted prompting a tactical withdrawal by the police until the thugs disappeared from the scene. At the end of the battle which raged from 9pm till early hours of the morning, it was gathered that many trucks were badly damaged while those wounded were rushed to hospitals in the area. Unconfirmed report said about two dead bodies were seen but the bodies were later evacuated by unknown persons.

A truck driver who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being traced and eliminated by the gang told Crime Guard that the gang operated from the confines of a notorious family whose head claimed to be the Oba of the community. He alleged that his sons were leaders of the gang and they coordinated the activities of the members made up mainly of notorious criminals and thugs. According to him, members of the gang were recruited from criminals who had completed their terms in prisons and were harbored in the community.

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“Whenever they struck and wrecked havoc, they would flee to Badagry area where they have a permanent camp. They were the same gang that humiliated some policemen from anti-cult unit in Lagos last year, who were on official assignment in the area. The gang members ambushed and rounded them up after which the policemen were forced to frog jump, kneel down and flogged publicly. They later disappeared with their weapons and nothing has been done about it till date.”

He further said: “They also invaded Oriade Local government headquarters after they tried to check their excesses, assaulted their officials and workers and went home freely. They operate freely around a Satellite town, Mile 2, Maza-Maza and Abule-Ado, near Trade Fair flank. However, their main domain is popularly known as Oguntade village

“The gang members were armed with guns, dangerous weapons and they have different terrorist cells in the community. Members of the community live in fear as they always threaten to eliminate anybody that confronts them. They allegedly kill and bury at will, they also forcefully take over other people’s houses. Builders and business operators are forced to pay them handsomely. They appropriate houses; lands etc and legitimate owners dare not challenge them or call police because they reign supreme in the area. They extort upwards of N2m and above from their victims,” he stated.

He further said that one of their victims whose house was forcefully taken over on a day he came back from abroad to take his ailing mother to hospital, was bedridden at his base overseas. “They battered him mercilessly when he tried to resist their invasion and he was rushed out of the country for treatment. Today, he is a wreck and bedridden while his mother died during the encounter. Another of his victims whose company was forcefully closed down and no fewer than 100 of his staff rendered jobless till date, is still in pains. These able-bodied young Nigerians are now in pains to make a living as a result of the atrocious and criminal activities of these thugs masquerading as owners of the land.”

Recall that under the former Commissioner of Police in the state, Muazu, thugs numbering over 100 stormed Satellite town on a Weekend demanding millions of money from shop owners and landlords, claiming that the money was to renew the ownership of the properties. Trouble, however, started for the residents, especially shop owners after they refused to pay the money demanded by the thugs led by a community leader. The thugs who were armed with dangerous weapons started looting and destroying houses including warehouses and shops. Police efforts to stop their terror failed after they openly confronted them and in a bid to avoid casualties, the police tactically withdrew from the scene after arresting some suspects.

However, it was gathered that after last Weekend ferocious attack, the thugs, anticipating that the new no-nonsense and battle-ready Commissioner of Police in the state, Kayode Odumosu will carry out a massive onslaught against them, quickly disappeared from Lagos and re-located to their hideout around Badagry-Seme axis where they will wait for tempers to cool off before striking again in Satellite town. A member of the gang who claimed he ran away from them after becoming a born again Christian intimated that most of the thugs are presently out of Lagos because they are aware of the reputation of the new Commissioner of Police in Lagos. “We were informed that he is ever battle-ready to deal with criminals and that he does the work of Area Commanders and DPO’s. So, fearing an onslaught, most of the gang members left Lagos after the operation last Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Crime Guard learned that NUPENG has taken up the case and said it would petition the Inspector-General of Police over the activities of the gang and the inability of the police in Lagos to flush them out. Some notable firms in the area were said to have also towed the same line. Investigation revealed that truck drivers in the area who have been victims of their incessant attacks have vowed to embark on a reprisal attack and were making adequate preparations towards withstanding their fire power.

Vanguard

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