• Police station attacked, three officers shot by hoodlums
• Suspected land grabber behind attacks, we will get him —Police
By Bose Adelaja
Suspected hoodlums have unleashed a reign of terror in some border communities in Ogun and Lagos states, killing a 40-year-old man, Fatai Asha, who was shot in the process.
No fewer than nine communities under Sagamu and Ikenne/Remo on the Ogun side of the border were under attack during the invasion by the suspected hoodlums which degenerated and extended to neighbouring communities in Lagos.
Affected communities include Eyin Ogbe, Maya and Odogunyan in Lagos State and Fakale, Igbosoro, Igode, Iki, Liadi and Maya in Ogun.
The deceased, a cobbler, was said to be standing in front of his house in Iraye when the suspected hoodlums came shooting and he was hit by stray bullets but neighbors rallied around and rushed him to a Sagamu hospital where he gave up the ghost.
The assailants were said to have then stormed a nearby police station and shot three policemen.
Residents claimed a similar invasion happened earlier in the year, saying the latest, which occurred about two weeks ago, has crippled academic, commercial and religious activities in the area.
It was learnt that some shops were not spared during the latest invasion as they were reduced to ashes while goods worth millions of Naira were carted away as the suspected hoodlums operated unchallenged.
When our correspondent visited some of the affected communities, some buildings were seen vandalized while their occupants had fled.
Findings also showed that two public schools, Ipaye Community High School and United African Methodist Church Nursery & Primary School, Eleja Iraye, founded in 1955, had been shut down for fear of attacks while the only health center in Ipaye was under lock and key. Some teachers in the schools, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said hundreds of students had stayed away for fear of being molested by the suspected hoodlums.
Lamenting the incidents, 75-year-old Tawa Lawal said goods worth over N250, 000 were carted away from her shop during the latest invasion.
An event planner, Mariam Owode, said one of the victims, a trader in Ipaye, lost about N1m to the invasion as her shop was razed by the suspected hoodlums.
‘’In apprehension, she has fled the community to an undisclosed location because she recently stocked the shop from a loan took’’, Owode told Sunday Vanguard.
A young woman was seen with an infant taking inventory in her husband’s shop who deals on cell phones and complimentary services after the shop was attacked during the invasion.
She lamented, ‘’Our-four-year old investment has disappeared in a jiffy and I have been feeding my baby with soaked gari.
“On a fateful day, my husband had hurriedly locked the shop and ran for safety but 30 minutes later, he received a call that his shop was being looted by the hoodlums. “At the last count, items worth over N900, 000 are gone and we are left with nothing.’’
Another resident, Titilayo Ashamu, said during the invasion, over 40 motorcycles were snatched at gunpoint while the suspected hoodlums made away with valuables including plasma televisions, cell phones and household items even as they molested female residents.
Narrating the incident, an Islamic cleric, Yusuf Bello, whose teeth were damaged, said he was fortunate to be alive despite the attack on him.
“They broke into our house in a bid to kidnap my two brothers and I raised the alarm after which they pounced on me and destroyed my teeth in the process”, Bello stated.
‘’After they left, neighbours rallied around me, put me on a bike and took me to hospital in Lagos State because the health centres within our environment were also sacked by the attackers.
“But we ran into the hoodlums in Lagos communities and they attacked us again, snatched the motorcycle but we managed to return home.
‘’The day after, my neighbour assisted me to a dental centre but, unfortunately, there was no remedy as the staff said I ought to have been there when the injury was fresh.’’
Genesis of invasion
Findings revealed that the communities had been peaceful until recently when hoodlums first attacked Ipaye without security forces challenging them.
Residents claimed policemen only visited the affected areas after the hoodlums had finished operating.
‘Three policemen shot’
A spokesperson for Ogun State Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, speaking on the hoodlum’s activities in the communities, said the Command was doing its best to ensure that peace reigns there.
Oyeyemi told Sunday Vanguard: “There is a suspected land grabber behind the attack. Three policemen were injured in the process and are currently receiving medical treatment.
“We are after the suspect and I am sure we will get him because nobody is bigger than the law.
“We cannot fold our arms and watch him operate with impunity especially when the shooting of policemen is involved.”We are after him and will not relent until we get him.
“The Command is doing everything possible to fish him out of his hiding place.”