Lagos

Drug addiction, cultism: Residents worry over crime rate in Lagos suburb

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In this piece, OLALEKAN OLABULO reports the disrepute that Agege, a popular Lagos suburb, has degenerated into following the spike in crime rate occasioned by drug addiction, cultism and youth unemployment.

 

Agege, a sprawling community in Lagos State has, for some time now, taken the unenviable status of being the criminal hub of Lagos metropolis. From the rise in the use of illicit drugs to traffic robbery, cultism and other crimes, Agege has become very dreadful to commuters, especially in the night and early in the morning.

Despite the presence of five police stations – Pen Cinema ,Isokoko, Elere, Abattoir and Dopemu , all around Agege ,one cannot say with confidence  communities around the area  have assurance of the safety of their lives and properties.

Historically, the foundation of Agege as a populated and commercial settlement began when a railway station was located close to Orile -Agege, an Awori settlement; the new railway linked Lagos with Abeokuta and was subsequently extended to Ibadan and to the Northern region. Prior to the construction of the station, Awori and Egba farmers cultivated food and cash crops such as Cocoa and Kola nut within the settlement.[3] It is worthy of note that large scale cocoa plantations in Yorubaland started at Agege,befo re extending to many South Western Nigerian towns. Commercial activities sprang up around the station as collection, sorting and grading of Cocoa for transportation and export took place at Agege. The kolanut trade between Agege and the Northern region also expanded as a railway service was extended to the Northern regions. Small scale market activities also rose as market woman set up shop close to the railway station.

The Agege Local Government was created in 1954 and was operative until 1967 after the first military takeover when it was merged with the Ikeja District council for a period of thirteen years. Agege was removed from the Ikeja Local Government in 1980 and remained so until 1983 when the Military took over power again and abolished the existing system of Local Government at the time . Again the Governance of Agege remained with Ikeja for another six (6) years. Subsequently, there have been three other local governments carved out from Agege Local Government. They are: Alimosho, Ifako Ijaye and Orile-Agege Local Government Areas.

Lagos Neighborhood Safety Corps (LNSC) is expected to provide additional security measures in safeguardung the state.

Sadly, however, it has been tales of woes, in recent times, for victims of the atrocities of the ‘new kings’ of the street in Akerele ,Isale Oja ,One Koto ,Panada ,Abe Bridge ,Yidi ,Mosalasi Jimoh ,Amao ,Abe Pako ,Abe Decking ,Ori Bury and other dreaded communities around Agege

Bamidele (other names withheld) will not forget in a hurry how hoodlums in Agege almost stopped him from attending his mother›s final burial. He told the Nigerian Tribune that “The incident that night was a confirmation that Agege is  now the Lagos hot bed of crime.”

He narrated that “I had completed all arrangements for my mother›s burial in Sango Ota where I grew up. I arrived at Ota a day before the burial date from my house in the Magboro area of Lagos- Ibadan expressway. I went to Agege later in the night to pick my cloth from my tailor.”

Bamidele further narrated that «On my way back, a gang of five young men stopped me at the Railway Line and ordered me to release everything with me to them. I hesitated and they pounced on me. They collected all that I had on me – my two phones, money, wrist watch and the other valuables that I had on me. I had to appeal to them that I just lost my mum and that the cloth was meant to be worn by me in attending her burial the following day. I said this before they could leave the cloth for me.

“It was not as if the place of the crime was deserted. Some people were walking along the Railway Line and nobody could come to my rescue,” Bamidele wondered.

An unidentified trader was some days ago seen around the Railway Line crying after a brazen daylight robbery by some hoodlums had occurred. An eyewitness at the scene who pleaded anonymity while speaking with the Nigerian Tribune said: “The trader was just crying and when people around asked him what happened, he narrated how some Hausa boys attacked him on the  Railway Line and robbed him of the fund meant for his business.”

Commissioner of Police, Lagos, Idowu Owohunwa

Oluwole Adeboye, a journalist, narrowly escaped death by inviting the police after a gang of six armed robbers invaded his house along Orile Road. One of the robbers was killed during a gun duel with the police who were mobilised to the scene of the crime.

Oluwole told the Nigerian Tribune that “It was around 6 am that faithful day. I saw one of them beaming his torch into our compound and I challenged him that what was he doing at that time of the night. He quickly brought out a gun and I ran into my apartment.”

He added that “I quickly picked my phone and called the D.P.O. around here and different teams of policemen were quickly deployed. The armed robbers engaged the police in a shootout and one of them was killed in the process.

“I thought that was all but I was wrong. I don’t know how those armed robbers knew that I was the one who invited the police. They came back to my apartment but luckily I was not at home during the time of their invasion. I was advised by people to vacate the apartment. That was how I left the house.”

Adeboye however said that his experience as a journalist showed that politicians in Agege encourage the criminals by always facilitating their release whenever they were arrested by the law enforcement agents.

Also a 47- year-old man, Toyin Adeniji, was on Monday killed by suspected cult members who invaded Oyewole Road in Agege in what was suspected to be a reprisal. The deceased Adeniji was until the incident n one of the aides of a prominent People›s Democratic Party ( PDP) stalwart.  Seven other persons who were outside of the PDP chieftain’s house in Agege  narrowly escaped death as the gunmen shot sporadically.

Eye witnesses said that the deceased Adeniji and some of his friends were discussing in front of the chieftain’s residence at Oyewole Road, Agege, when the gunmen invaded the area and shot him at a close range.

An eye witness, who pleaded for anonymity, said that he suspected that some members of the community took part in the killing .He said: “The incident actually started in the evening when one of the  political thugs in the area ,who is a notorious cultist, Seun Asiwaju and some of his boys invaded Oyewole Road and started shooting.

“Brother Toyin went to the Computer Village to buy phone in the morning and later he went to the mechanic workshop to repair his vehicle. He just returned from the mechanic workshop when the gunmen came again.”

Scene of a recent night killing in Agege.

The eye witness narrated that “When they came, they started shooting and went down the road .When they were coming back they stopped at where Brother Toyin and others were sitting.

“Four of the people who were with Brother Toyin escaped. The hoodlums caught the other four and started harassing them. Three others escaped, leaving only Brother Toyin.”

He also said: “They slapped him (the deceased) repeatedly before they shot him. I heard one of the gunmen asking others not to waste the bullet, saying that they still have other things to do with the bullet.»

The police in the state are still investigating two other cases of rape and defilement against one of the leaders of the gangsters around Amao area of  Orile Agege, who was alleged to have abducted two ladies and raped them at his family house on Adejobi Street, Agege.

One of the victims (names withheld) while speaking on the incident said: “I work as a cashier at a Bet9ja shop around Amao area .I had gone to one of our other branches to pick my colleague who lives in the same house with me when the accused and two of his boys threatened us with a knife and brought us to a hideout on Adejobi Street where he raped the two of us.

“After the close of work that day, we were on our way home when he stopped our motorcycle. He threatened to injure the bike man. The bike man left out of fear .We were walking down the road in anticipation that we could see another bike when he and two of his boys accosted us and threatened to injured us.»

The 23- year – old victim added that «They led us to his family house at Adejobi Street.  He first slept with my colleague who was still a virgin then and later he slept with me too. It is very sad. We want improved security in Agege.”

Chief Ade Adegoroye ,one of the community leaders in Agege, decried the continuous rise in the crime rate around Agege, urging the government and parents to do something before it gets out of hand .

He blamed the high crime rate in Agege on the high level of school dropouts in recent times and drug addiction. He said: “Some of the communities in Agege are like slums. There is a high level of students dropping out of school. They turn to drugs.”

The community leader also added that “These drugs are very expensive. When they cannot afford them, they resort to begging, harassing and robbing innocent people and commuters.”

 

READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE 


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