Crime Guard

April 18, 2020

LOCKDOWN: Activities of deadly One Million Boys, Awawa gang rubbish police claims in Lagos

Police, Akwa Ibom, Cultists

…Members unleash reign of terror on residents

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor

Shortly after declaring a 14-day lockdown in Lagos and Ogun states as a result of the rampaging Coronavirus pandemic, residents of the two states started experiencing nightmarish situations. The frightening scenario was more dominant in the densely populated suburbs and neighbouring communities of the two states.

Alarmed, police authorities swiftly pronounced death knell on such daring-do and reacted by sending their men to the affected areas. Unfortunately, they came out with a damming verdict, tagging the alarm raised as fake news borne out of apprehension by the residents. Lagos state Commissioner of Police personally led a team to the affected communities where he addressed and cautioned them over t false alarm.

The Inspector –General of Police, Adamu Muhammed reacted swiftly to the alarm by ordering the immediate deployment of additional intelligence and operational assets of the force comprising police Mobile Force, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Intelligence Response Unit, and the Special Tactical Squad to Lagos and Ogun states to strengthen security and bolster public confidence in the affected areas. He also assigned a Deputy Inspector general of Police, DIG to coordinate the operation and ordered Commissioners of Police across the country to immediately rejig the security architecture in their various commands to effectively tackle all emerging crimes following the lockdown that disabled many especially daily income earners.

However, Crime Guard investigations revealed that the picture is more deadly than what police authorities came out with. It was learned that members of the dreaded One Million boys and Awawa boys who were terrorizing Lagos state in the past suddenly re-appeared on the scene, this time more daring than before. The perpetrators are not only well known but dreaded and they have been operating freely with such venom that rattled the police in Lagos.

Luckily, their excesses were drastically curtailed during the era of Commissioner of Police, Imohim Edgal in Lagos state. He succeeded in flushing them out of Lagos state and placing a seemingly permanent ban on their criminal activities. Unfortunately, just after the lockdown over Coro19, they re-surfaced in a more deadly manner, terrorizing the streets and communities mostly in the suburbs and boundaries of the two states.

READ ALSO: LOCKDOWN: Panic as hoodlums reign in Lagos

Formed in the jungle city of Ajegunle in 2011, One Million Boys group was started by about 20 boys in the suburb with the original motive to fight perceived injustices that are synonymous with the city. Initially, the association was growing from strength to strength and soon, they formed vigilante groups to checkmate and fight crime and criminality in the community. This, they were doing in collaboration with security agencies.

However, midway into its existence, some members of the association hijacked it and turned the hitherto crime fighting group into a sinister one, terrorizing the entire community, raping hapless women and robbing defenceless and unsuspecting residents. They literally became kings of the jungle, doing whatever they liked unchallenged.

If they want to raid any street, they first write a letter and send through a small boy to the head of that street informing them that they will come and they always come as planned. When they come, they would rob from one building to another, raping girls and women, married and single. There was one bizarre incident when they reportedly raped a pregnant woman to death and forced a father to sleep with his daughter with a threat that if he failed to comply, they would kill him. The man had no option than to carry out their order.

The second gang, Awawa Boys started in Agege then. If you were having a party, these boys aged between 12 and 20 would come in large numbers and start dancing and all the disc jockeys knew their preferred tune. If you didn’t settle them with food and cash, you and your guests were at risk of suffering bodily harm. They have cult signs and marks on their skins to show allegiance and members are recruited from all the communities in the state and beyond. Intelligence report revealed that they used their teenage girls to target men after which they would dispossess their victims of all their cash and valuables.

The One Million boys grew as a rival gang to Awawa boys based on ethnic lines. All of them indulge in many criminal acts including gang rape etc. They are mostly seen in motor parks, bus stops especially the isolated ones and many of them are homeless. Before they were shown the way out of Lagos, they normally trooped in hundreds to a popular joint in Alausa, Ikeja every Friday where they would frolic till early hour of the next day. On their way to their base , they would wreck havoc on both motorists, passersby and virtually anybody on sight.

Such was their way of life until the lockdown which started taking a toll on them. They therefore went berserk, invading neighborhoods, communities, Estates etc, attacking and robbing people. Initially, they struck at the fringes of communities at the border with Ogun state. Later, they extended their onslaught into the cities including Meiran, Agege, Ibah, Badagry, Surulere, Odo-Iran, Igando, Ikotun, Shasha, Pen Cinema, Cele bus stop, Onipetesi axis of Ikeja Local government area etc.

Reports said that they struck at Ijesha and Itire areas last Sunday after dropping a letter informing them of their visit and shot somebody at Odo Iran market close to Cele bus stop. Residents of the area told Crime Guard that they were attacking from house to house armed with POS which they used in fleecing their victims of money from their accounts. Also, some residents of Agege alleged that Awawa boys attacked them and later proceeded to Onipetesi inward Dopemu. They escaped after youths in the area confronted them .

Residents of Ifako Ijaiye also claimed that hey notorious cult gang attacked their community and looted shops after which they carted away goods. Those interviewed said some members of the community especially those living around Balogun, Alhaji streets and its environs, Oke-koto, Agbalaya, New Oko-oba Estate, Markaz , and Amoo re-located from their houses as a result of the frequent attacks by the cultists.

At Oniwaya, Dopemu and Capitol road, residents of the area said they were under siege as a result of threats of attacks by the gang. According to one of them who refused to identify himself properly for fear of the being killed, they came only once and conducted house to house robbery, armed with guns, machetes.

Many residents were injured because they failed to yield to their demand fro money. After attacking us, they proceeded to Ilepo axis and youths from our area pursued them. Since then, they have not really come again but they still threaten the area and we have been getting letters purportedly from them. We cannot say whether they are real or not but the fact is that we are at alert and we no longer sleep at night, he stated.

At Oke-Koto, a female resident who spoke passionately said police men usually arrive late after several calls were made to them but stated that youths from the area are now poised for action and will challenge them if they come again.

When Crime Guard visited Paiko/Idimu area of the state where residents raised alarm over the week,

Evangelist Akinbola in charge of RCC Olorunshogo Parish stated: “In the past one week, it has been hell; maybe the One Million Boys with Olosumbare boys invaded our Estate. Unfortunately, some of these boys are living in our community here. I think that has given them the insight of every nook and crannies of Paiko of which presently some of them have evacuated their families. The signals that they have ulterior motive for us here.

I can point to some of the houses.  We cannot say where they are now because they came to rent houses here. Some of these boys are known faces. Even when we were coming from the Police station at Shasha this morning, we saw one of the boys living in our mist here extorting money at Orisumbare roundabout.”

The secretary of the Estate, Idowu Niyi Mafesiri stated that they came, throwing bottles and stones. “They have a very dangerous weapon which they prepare with bottles and other dangerous implements. It explodes like a bomb when they release it. That was what they used to scare our boys until we re-grouped and chased them out of the estate. The chairman of the Estate, Lawal kolade, said that much. According to him, on Easter Monday, the community was peaceful and calm until “ about 5 or 6pm, we began to see people running.

Before then, we heard that the One Million Boys would be coming. That was what actually caused panic in the minds of people. Unfortunately, before we saw what was happening, we realized that some boys were approaching the community from Orisumbare and this is not the first time we were experiencing such. It has been happening for some time now.

Let me say, the last incident was the fourth time, It is not a case between us and Orisambare boys but, geographically, our community happens to be the battle field where Orisambare and Idimu boys meet.  The fracas goes beyond Covid19 lockdown.”