by Stanley Azuakola
Lagos still has reasons to be thankful that the spate of bombings and terrorist activities which has plagued some other states in the country hasn’t yet occured there. However, last weekend saw its own share of violence and death when armed robbers launched unprecedented multiple robbery attacks on various targets in Lagos.
In Ojodu, Ikeja, Surulere and Agege, among others targets, seven individuals lost their lives. Among the dead were three policemen. Some others sustained varying degrees of injuries, including a year-old baby, Taiye, who was hit by a stray bullet while playing outside his house and is currently receiving treatment at the Gbagada General Hospital.
According to a Thisday report, the robbers had first struck at a bureau de change in Gbagada area, looting it and shooting some people. After robbing the bureau de change, the robbers also raided restaurant owners, recharge card sellers, pedestrians and motorists. Using two vehicles, an SUV and a Toyota Camry salon car, they shot sporadically into the air to scare away the residents. Then they moved on to Ojodu and Ikeja.
There were also attacks around Anthony, Oshodi, Itire, Agege, Bariga, Ilasamanja and Adelabu Street in Surulere, reportedly by another gang. No one can confirm if the attacks around the state were coordinated from one source or if the attacks were a mere coincidence.
While the attacks lasted, scared residents went on social media to warn and inform others of what was happening and advise against coming towards those areas.
As the robbers attempted their get-away, they engaged a police Rapid Response Squad at Guinness Bus Stop, Oba Akran Road, Ikeja in a gun duel. Two police officers lost their lives during the exchange of fire.
The report quoted eyewitness as saying the robbers outgunned the police officers because they took them unawares.
According to an eyewitness simply identified as Akin, the RRS patrol vehicle was not aware that the SUV that was driving by had armed robbers in it and so were not prepared for the onslaught of gunfire that greeted their approach.
However, another report said the robbers opened fire on the RRS team when the policemen were pursuing them. According to eyewitnesses, the police team were pursuing the robbers when both sides engaged in a gun duel at Guinness Bus Stop.
Also, another gang of robbers reportedly shot a Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) official identified as Sosan on both legs around the Anthony Bus Stop at Ikorodu road. The shooting was confirmed by the Public Relations Officer of LASTMA, Bola Ajao. Ajao said that the official was responding to treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
She said: “The robbers at Anthony were said to have operated on a commercial motorcycle and shot some of the LASTMA officials on duty even though they were not armed.
“The bullets pierced through Sosan’s right leg and entered into the left. He lost a lot of blood but he was rushed to the hospital on time and he’s responding to treatment.”
While the robbers were escaping, they also shot a policeman who was stationed at PWD, around the Ikeja railway.
At Agege, stray bullets were said to have hit a young girl in the eye as well as an elderly woman who was resting in her home. Also affected was a vehicle belonging to the Motolani Medical Centre whose windscreen was shattered by bullets from the robbers.
At the Ikeja area of the state, a three-man armed gang also gunned down a policeman and a commercial bus driver on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
Eyewitness account said the gunmen who had trailed the commercial bus conveying the policeman and other passengers from Oshodi, blocked the bus at Ikeja-Along Bus Stop before opening fire on the policeman and the driver who died instantly. The driver’s death caused the LT commercial bus marked XQ 336 EKY to skid off the road onto the railway track.
However, the gang that operated in Surulere area met its match in the policemen in the area who were able to dislodge them from the neighbourhood.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, confirmed the attacks and the death of the three police officers. He added that the situation was under control. Manko urged Lagosians to go about their activities without fear as the police would ensure their safety.
“I urge Lagosians to go about their daily activities peacefully because my men are on ground to secure the lives and property of the citizenry in the state,” he said