The Inspector-General of Police (IG) Mohammed Adamu on Monday deployed detachments of special forces to quell unrest in Lagos and Ogun communities occasioned by robberies and cult-related violence.
The special forces comprising Police Mobile Force (PMF) Units, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Special Tactical Squad (STS) are to work with police operatives of both Lagos and Ogun State commands to restore sanity in the affected areas.
According to Police spokesman Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner, the operation would be coordinated by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in charge of southwest Peter Ogunyanwo.
Mba said the IG ordered the immediate deployment of additional intelligence and operational assets to the affected areas to strengthen security and bolster public confidence.
He also disclosed that the police have arrested 191 suspects and recovered 15 locally made guns, 52 live cartridges, 42 cutlasses and axes and large quantity of weeds suspected to be Marijuana from the hoodlums at Agbado, Ifo, Otta and Agege axis.
He said: “The intervention team is being coordinated by DIG Peter Babatunde Ogunyonwo, a seasoned crime fighter, who doubles as the DIG in charge of the Department of Research and Planning of the Force and the coordinating DIG for South-West Geopolitical Zone.
“He is to immediately oversee the deployments of these additional assets to enhance public safety, public confidence and general security in the two states.
“Meanwhile, the IG has ordered Commissioners of Police across the country to immediately rejig the security architecture in their various commands to effectively tackle all emerging crimes associated with the COVID-19 lock-down.
“They are also to intensify patrols around residential areas, markets, shopping malls and all critical national infrastructures in their jurisdictions.
“The Assistant Inspectors General of Police in the 12 Zonal Commands have also been directed by the IG to bring their supervisory role to bear by ensuring that the commands under their zones are safe and secure for the citizenry to live and thrive.
“A total of 191 suspects have been arrested in Lagos and Ogun States in connection with the incidents. The following exhibits: 15 locally-made guns, 52 live cartridges, 42 cutlasses and axes and large quantity of weeds suspected to be Marijuana have been recovered from the hoodlums by the Police Teams in the Agbado, Ifo, Otta and Agege axis.
“DIG, Peter Ogunyanwo can be reached through this GSM No: 08033893226. The Control Room Numbers for Lagos Command are 08127155132, 08065154338 and 07055462708 while that of Ogun Command are 08081770416 and 08081770419.
“The IG assures the citizens that the police will not sit idly-by and allow activities of a few criminals to disrupt the peace and security of the country. He commends Nigerians for their steadfastness, patience, perseverance and vigilance at this critical time.”
The Nation reports that the robberies allegedly continued Monday afternoon unabated as the hoodlums smashed vehicles conveying good stuff and carted away yams, fruits and other items in Agege.
Resident of the affected areas who took to social media to lament their ordeals, said they have not experienced peace since the commencement of the lockdown and the situation seems to escalate by the day.
According to one Deborah Reiyewa, the hoodlums robbed in her neighbourhood for over an hour and the police did not respond until people started talking about it on the social media.
Another user @iamMotola lamented how the community vigilante in his estate at Ogun State caught a suspect and called the police but were told that the cell was full.
He said the suspect they arrested was beaten and he confessed to have come from Iju Ishaga in Lagos and had robbed a sports betting outlet before he was apprehended.
The man wrote: “Caught one in our Estate this evening (Saturday) and the other one escaped. We called the police and they said cell is full. This is disheartening, we’re not safe! I wasn’t planning on making a thread about this post before but I feel like I should to make it crystal clear to some.
“Firstly, it started as a cult fight here in lfo before the whole thing escalated to stealing, raping and killings since then we’ve been on guard in my area since last Tuesday 12am to 4am everyday. We’d burn atleast three tyres every night that we already ran out of something to burn at the time of this tweet.
“After resting in the afternoon, I decided to take a stroll in my estate for no particular reason. Then, I noticed a strange face in the vicinity, very dirty and wet like he had fallen into water or probably escaped from somewhere. I moved closer to him and ask who he was and why he was here? He paid little to no attention to me at first hoping I’ll think he lives in the estate.
“When he got that I wasn’t buying the drama he said he was looking for five N500 and that he was from Seriki (another village in lfo) and that he left home to buy body cream and somehow landed in our area to play Bet9ja.
“Please know that Seriki to my area is nothing less than N300 transport. I knew he was lying. I grabbed him by the waist and gave him a blow in his jaw as a first attack because I don’t know if he had a weapon or something. I called the estate security immediately.
“This boy (21) had already robbed a Bet9ja shop outside the estate and got lost not knowing where to turn to. Residents started to hit him and he confessed he came from Iju Ishaga.
“We called the police station and they said the whole place is full already. We didn’t lynch this guy one bit. These boys are not hungry, they’re evil just evil, These boys rape and kill housewives, they move in groups but send a spy first.”
In Agege, video footage also emerged of residents meeting jungle justice on some suspects arrested, with scores moving around with cutlasses, sticks and other weapons in disregard to the social distancing order.