•AIG Adeleke swings into action

By Efe Onodjae

There has been anxiety on the long bridge, inward Lagos State, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, over constant robbery attacks on the bridge. The situation is such that commuters are now afraid to take the route, following incessant robbery attacks perpetrated by armed criminals on the bridge.

Attack in day time

A few days back, four of the criminals took over the ever busy bridge and held motorists and commuters hostage for hours. They started the operation in the early hours of the day, when many motorists and travelers were rushing to different destinations, and subjected many people to untold hardships. In fact, the early morning deadly operation was in progress when some brave motorists challenged them with stones and pebbles, leading to their escape from the scene.

They reportedly jumped down from the imposing long bridge and disappeared into the raven below, while bewildered and traumatised commuters kept on raising alarm, calling for help. Sadly, the gridlock caused by the robbery attack resulted in pandemonium, which subjected people and motorists to grueling long hours of traffic jam, until Police patrol vehicles belatedly arrived the scene and eased the congestion for free flow of vehicles.

Our plight

Lamenting the menace of robbers on the bridge, a commercial motorcyclist named Sodiq narrated how the expressway has become a den for criminals which, he said, forced him to close early daily.

According to him: “My friend, who is also an Okada rider, was attacked last week by these robbers. His bike spoilt and, in the process of trying to get it fixed by the corner, these robbers, wearing masks, chased him with weapons and he ran for his life, leaving his bike behind.

“Their constant operations has become more serious that commuters have to fight for their safety.

While going round the bridge, Vanguard Metro noticed the decomposing dead body of an unknown male adult dumped beside the bridge, opposite Mikano/Karameh City. It was learnt that the corpse had been abandoned for days along the bridge and no effort was made to evacuate it.

A frequent commuter on the road, Okolo Bridget, told Vanguard Metro that aside the robbery attacks that take place on the bridge, other criminal elements still hold sway at Berger bus stop inward Isheri and Ojodu areas of Lagos State.

According to her, most of their victims are travelers coming back from different places, into Lagos, who were always waylaid by hoodlums operating in and around the area. Most of them pretend to help commuters with their loads, only to disappear with them.

“Most times, especially in the morning when I’m returning from ‘Power Must Change Hands’ programme, organised by Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, MFM, at Prayer City, along the express, I see dead bodies by the roadside. People die recklessly on this road; some were killed and parts of their bodies removed.”

Killings galore

A mechanic who gave his name as Kunle told Vanguard Metro that the incessant attacks by robbers on the bridge has been going on for long and had claimed many precious lives. “My workshop is very close to Mowe and I can tell you that many lives have been lost on top of the bridge and security agencies seem not to be serious about the ugly situation.  They have killed a retired general whose car broke down one evening there. Another wealthy woman who had a breakdown was also shot dead there but her driver escaped. What they do is to hang in an obscure part of the long bridge where they lay ambush for people whose car will break down. The moment your car stops, they will swoop on you armed with dangerous weapons, they will dispossess you of all your valuables and in most cases, they kill the victims and disappear by jumping down from the bridge.

Herder’s habitat

“A lot of herders live under the bridge with their cows and there was a time the authorities who were fed up with ceaseless robbery attacks that occur on the long bridge daily, released an adjoining dam and filled under the bridge with flowing water.  That measure went a long way to stop robberies on the bridge. But, for unknown reasons, water stopped flowing under the bridge and they came back with full force. I also remember that there used to be joint patrol of policemen 24/7 on top of the bridge from both Ogun and Lagos states. Nobody knows why it was stopped. However, the recent bold step taken by commuters by attacking the criminals while carrying out operation is a sign of good things that will continue to happen there.   I only hope the authorities’ will start patrolling the bridge constantly so that it will be stopped.”

Meanwhile, the Assistant Inspector-General of police in charge of Zone 2, Adeleke Adeyinka has reportedly taken up the gauntlet by directing the Commissioners of Police in charge of Lagos and Ogun states to ensure constant patrol of the long bridge and the entire  vulnerable areas. Police sources said AIG Adeleke who was visibly angry after reports came that robbers operated freely on top of the bridge later embarked on patrol of the bridge both at night and in day time and ended up directing that constant patrol of the bridge and adjoining areas must be maintained.

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