Residents of Mushin area of Lagos are still living in an atmosphere of fear after Sunday’s mayhem in which their homes were looted and a man was allegedly killed.
Saturday PUNCH visited the area on Wednesday to see what has changed since the incident, but observed that many of the residents are afraid that the hoodlums who carried out the attack might soon come back as they reportedly promised.
Some of the residents, who told our correspondent their stories, insisted the perpetrators, who they said numbered more than 50, came from Akala Street, Mushin.
Ike Olu Street was the most affected area. There were still remnants of shattered vehicle windscreens, house windows and burnt vehicles on the street when our correspondent visited.
The residents told Saturday PUNCH that the hoodlums went from house to house about 1.30 am on Sunday, robbing, looting shops and smashing cars before fleeing when they noticed police presence.
The looting hoodlums came back after they had initially fled, Saturday PUNCH learnt.
More looting was recorded during their second coming, it was learnt. It was during that period that they reportedly burnt the vehicles they had already smashed.
At least eight vehicles were said to have been burnt down. Our correspondent counted five burnt vehicles that had not been taken away by their owners.
A youth in Fadeyi, Monsuru Olayiwola, who had been reported to be one of the masterminds of the attack, told our correspondent he knew nothing about the matter.
He said, “I read in a newspaper report that I was wielding a pump-action rifle during the mayhem. That is a blatant lie.
“It was a ploy by the criminals responsible to implicate me. I was at Ikorodu overnight during the mayhem and a lot of people can attest to this. I have not been in that particular part of Mushin for three years because of the violence of the youths in the area.”
A resident of Fadeyi, Wale Ayodele, told our correspondent that the hoodlums were suspected to comprise area boys and cult members.
He said, “We were very shocked when it was reported that the attack was carried out by youths from Fadeyi. This is not the first time this kind of attack would be blamed on Fadeyi boys by Mushin youths.
“Go to the street where the attacks took place and the residents themselves will tell you where the hoodlums came from.”
Tunde, a resident of Ike Olu Street, said the hoodlums announced their presence by shooting and smashing the windos of parked cars.
He said, “They smashed anything in sight and went from house to house, robbing people of cash, telephone sets, televisions, generators and even clothes.
“They destroyed some of the furniture I had been contracted to make for someone. But I fared better than some other people on this street.”
But another resident, who identified herself simply as Florence, said she narrowly escaped being gang-raped by about 15 men, who kicked down the door of her apartment.
Florence said, “I have no doubt that the men moving about the street, robbing and attacking people were up to 70 because the ones who came into my room were up to 15. There were other groups in other apartments at the same time.
“They kicked down the door and demanded money and my phones. But I was begging them that I had nothing in the house.
“I thought they would move on to other houses if I told them that. But some of them suddenly pulled down my trousers and wanted to rape me. I started begging and quickly dipped my hand into a place where I had saved N40,000 and handed it to them.
“I begged them to let me go. I told them that was all I had. I was lucky they left after that.”
Another resident, who pleaded anonymity, lost his commercial buses to the hoodlums.
He said, “I’m just a mechanic and I have a shop on this street. I’m not a resident of this street. I got to the workshop on Monday morning and saw the burnt carcass of my bus.
“I told the driver to always park the bus in front of my workshop every night. These hoodlums have destroyed a good source of money for me. To add to my woes, I have not finished paying for the bus because I’m paying on an instalment plan.”
Our correspondent learnt that a driver with a new generation bank has been arrested in connection with the burning of a vehicle during the mayhem.
The unidentified driver was said to have taken the official vehicle of his boss, a new Toyota Corrolla, home after the close of work the previous Friday.
It was burnt by the hoodlums where he parked it. The burnt car was still on the street when our correspondent visited.
Each of the residents had one thing or another to tell our correspondent, as he moved round the area.
A hairdresser said the door of her shop was kicked down and the hoodlums took away her generator.
A resident, Mrs. Rachael Adepoju, lost her savings and telephone sets to the hoodlums who came into her house, wielding guns, broken bottles and machetes.
Another resident said they threatened to kill two people in her house if she did not hand over her belongings.
A man next door was brutally beaten because he was not fast enough when he was handing over his belongings.
“They are cult members,” a resident, Fatai Owolabi, told our correspondent.
“Everybody on this street is aware that there has been a long-standing feud between members of the Eiye Confraternity and Black Axe.
“I don’t know who is accusing who, but we heard that one said the other was responsible for the death of two of its members. Anytime there is a problem, they use the opportunity to loot, rob and unleash mayhem on residents,” he said.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the men responsible for the mayhem were suspected to be those vending hard drugs and Indian hemp in Mushin.
Spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, had on Sunday said some suspects had been apprehended in connection with the case.
It is not clear how far the investigation had gone as Braide’s phone line indicated it was switched off when our correspondent contacted her on Wednesday.
Read more: Punch