Some anti-robbery policemen attached to the Area E Command headquarters, FESTAC Town, have recovered nine pump-action guns and 42 live cartridges from two suspected robbers.
According to Punch, the policemen recovered the guns from the two men in the 7th Avenue area of FESTAC.
The 7th Avenue was where the police and some commercial motorcycle riders clashed about two weeks ago, which led to the death of one of the riders.
A resident told our correspondent that the suspects, who escaped arrest, were initially stopped by the policemen on routine patrol for riding an unregistered motorcycle.
The resident, who pleaded not to be named, said, “It was around 11.15pm when the policemen came to our side on the 7th Avenue and saw the two men on an unregistered motorcycle. They told the rider to stop and we all thought the police, as usual, wanted to extort money from the two men.
“But as the policemen moved near them, the men jumped down from the okada and fled into the night. When the policemen searched a bag they left behind, they found some guns; about seven I think.”
A police source at the area command also told our correspondent that the policemen were on a routine anti-crime patrol.
He said, “The policemen sighted the men on the 7th Avenue. They were on an unregistered motorcycle and carried a large bag. When challenged by the policemen, the men suddenly abandoned their ride and their bag, and took to their heels.
“The policemen later searched the bag and found nine pump-action guns and 42 live cartridges.
“We have told the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, and he ordered a detailed investigation into the case. Also, patrol has been intensified in the area.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joe Offor, said the recovery of the guns was a direct result of the CP’s meeting with all Area Commanders and Division Police Officers, where he charged them to fine tune their crime prevention strategies.
He said, “The CP has commended the area command and urged them to intensify efforts to arrest the fleeing suspects. He also urged residents to give useful information to the police to prevent crime.”
Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement (NDLEA) Agency have been accused of drowning a 32-year-old graduate of Law, Dapo Olasore, in the Agboyi, Alapere area of Lagos State.
The incident happened on Sunday after the officials, who came in two vans without number plates, raided the area.
Our correspondent gathered that Olasore, aka Omopo, was about boarding a canoe to a neighbouring community to see a relative, when the officials stormed the community.
They were said to have shot sporadically into the air, sending frightened residents fleeing in different directions.
However, Olasore, who was by the riverside, was said to have been held by the trousers by the NDLEA men; and in a bid to free himself, fell into the water.
A boatman, who attempted to save him, was said to have been threatened with guns, leading to the death of the victim.
When our correspondent visited the community, he observed a crowd of residents and motorcyclists in the area, who had got wind of the news, at the riverside.
It was learnt that the victim, who graduated from a university in Ondo State, joined the National Union of Road Transport Workers in 2014, after he could not get a job.
His family was said to be resident in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
A witness and friend of the victim, Tosin Oshin, said the NDLEA officials arrived around 10.45am.
He said, “It happened around 10.45am. We suddenly saw two white vehicles in our community. They began shooting into the air and everybody started running helter-skelter.
“They went to the riverside, where Omopo (Olasore) was about boarding a canoe. As Omopo saw one of them, he wanted to run like other people, but the officers held him. In the struggle to free himself, he fell into the river.
“A boat operator, who was about to rescue him, was threatened with guns. Omopo raised his hand and asked for help, but they didn’t help him.”
Oshin said immediately the incident happened, the officials fled the community with two suspects.
The boat operator, Dayo Seun, said before the victim finally drowned, he made an attempt to rescue him, but the officials prevented him.
He said, “I was on the other side of the river when I saw the man fall inside the river. I quickly paddled my canoe to the place he fell into to rescue him, but they pointed their guns at me, and asked me to go back.”
A resident, Omolara Adekunle, said the anti-narcotics officials were always harassing residents, adding that after making arrests, they usually collected about N40,000 for bail.
“It is not only the NDLEA that come here to conduct this illegal raid. The police too are complicit; they have no fear of God.
“Those they arrest, they collect between N40, 000 to N45,000 from their relatives before they release them.”
Another resident, Ayeni Oluwatoyin, told our correspondent that one of the suspects arrested, one Sunday Babalola, was planning his graduation as a qualified mechanic for August 26.
Oluwatoyin, who showed our correspondent a vest the suspect had distributed to his friends for the celebration, said Babalola was giving out the vests when he was arrested.
“After collecting the vests from him, they (NDLEA men) grabbed him by the neck and hit him. The boy begged them, but they did not let him go,” she said.
A resident said the community would hold a procession for the victim, after his remains had been found.
“By Tuesday, his body should float. We will hold a candlelight procession for him on Friday,” she said.
The NDLEA spokesperson, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, confirmed that there was a raid on the community by the agency, but denied knowledge that anybody was drowned.
He said, “The NDLEA went in search of a notorious drug dealer, named Saheed, following an information on his activities, which has constituted nuisance to people in that neighbourhood.
“Unfortunately, we did not find him as of the time of getting to the place. One Babalola was arrested and he was found with 1.3 kilogrammes of cannabis. During the operation, some people escaped through the river because they knew their activities contravened the NDLEA Act. But we are not aware anybody drowned.”
According to eyewitnesses, some KAI officials had stormed the area and immediately started confiscating wares of some street traders selling in the traffic that had built up in the area.
The recharge card of one of the traders was also confiscated while the trader was allegedly beaten up and forced into the KAI van. Some of the traders and passersby who felt the recharge card seller was unjustly treated, started harassing the KAI officials who on seeing that they were being outnumbered, took to their heels. However one of the Kai officials was held on to by the traders and was beaten up.
All the contacts on his mobile phone were said to have been deleted, making it difficult for his relations to be contacted.
Our correspondent was told that the case was reported at the Owutu Police Division, while his corpse had been deposited in the Ikorodu General Hospital Mortuary.
When our correspondent visited the area on Monday, he observed that the hotel carried on with its business as usual.
Some of the ladies were seen outside smoking, while a few others attended to customers at the bar.
A source told our correspondent that the deceased was poisoned.
He said, “He checked in around that 10am. It was around 1am that his corpse was discovered. The man was poisoned. The owner of the hotel reported at Owutu that they found his corpse in his room.
“But when the police checked the man’s phone, they discovered that all the contacts and his phone calls had been deleted. There was nothing with which to identify him. Nobody knows his address and family.”
A worker in another hotel in the area, however, said the victim might have killed himself.
He said since the incident happened, the hotel had been running its business at night.
He said, “I was told that somebody died there, but I don’t know the details except that when he got inside the room, he decided to take his own life. The hotel has continued to run its business as usual. In fact, not many people are aware of it.”
The workers at the hotel declined comment, while others said there was no such incident.
When PUNCH Metro asked to speak with the manager of the hotel, he was said to be unavailable.
However, a man, who spoke for the management of the hotel, said the victim died on the road and not inside the hotel.
He said, “You press people have come with your wahala, and you want to complicate matters for me. I don’t want to talk to you about the incident.
“But if I will say anything, I will only say it didn’t happen here. The man stepped out of this hotel and was about crossing the road when he was hit by a car. One of his family members, a woman, has even been here. She even thanked me for my sacrifice because I had to give some money so they could take his corpse to Kaduna.”
The immediate past Police Public Relations Officer, Patricia Amadin, had confirmed to our correspondent on Monday that the deceased died in the hotel.
She said the case was still under investigation to ascertain the true cause of death.
“But we are looking at a case of sudden and unnatural death,” she added.
The incident occurred after an argument between the two women over the dirty state of their compound located in Shasha, Lagos.
Mrs. Taiwo narrated how Mrs. Bola, a mother of four, littered the compound after holding a party and refused to clean up. She took it upon herself to clean the compound. It was then Bola came out of her apartment and confronted her. They got into an argument which eventually led to a fight.
In the process, Bola allegedly bit off Taiwo’s right nipple and swallowed it. According to Taiwo, she was rushed to Igando General Hospital where she is currently being treated. The police at Shasha Division arrested and charged Bola to Ejigbo Magistrates’ court for inflicting bodily injury on the complainant.
During her arraignment, Bola pleaded not guilty and the presiding Magistrate, Mrs J.O.E. Adeyemi, granted her bail in the sum of N50,000 with two sureties in like sum.
Mr. Bola was remanded in prison custody at Kirikiri pending when she will apply for bail. The matter was adjourned till 21 September.
However, doctors at the Intensive Care Unit of Gbagada General Hospital are battling to save the life of the seventh member of the family, eight-year-old Chidinma who sustained serious burns.
Among those who lost their lives in the inferno, whose cause could not be immediately ascertained, were Mr. Kelechi Ali, his wife, Nkiru, Onoja, their baby boy of about three weeks old, their son, Favour, of about three years old.
Also killed in the fire were Onoja’s mother, who was on a visit to care for her nursing daughter, and two other children, aged eight and ten years respectively, who were said to have visited for the summer holiday.
The grandmother, said to be in her 60s, had reportedly concluded plans to return to her base at Nsukka , Enugu State yesterday before the unfortunate incident.
The fire, it was gathered, started in Ali’s self-contained apartment located on 21, Michael Ogun street, Obele Lawanson, at about 11pm Tuesday while the family was asleep.
It reportedly raged for over an hour before the arrival of the fire service. Their shout for help alerted other residents but no one heeded the call.
Charred remains were recovered in different positions by men of Lagos State Fire Service.
The charred remains of the father was said to have been mangled together with two of his children, while that of his wife was seen with her little baby on her chest.
Those on rescue were still sighted clearing the debris. An eyewitness who identified herself as Abure Hanna, said: “A few minutes into my sleep, I heard voices which sounded like people were quarrelling.
“Later, I heard shout of fire from the next compound. I ran out and started calling neighbours to come and help. I think the fire had been on for about 30 minutes before I came out. The fire service came late to the scene after the fire had been doused by residents.”
Another resident, who pleaded anonymity, stated that the family members could have been rescued had neighbours went for their rescue on time.
“Everybody stayed put in their houses even when the family was shouting for help. This is because of the lingering quarrel between the family and their neighbours.
‘’As you can see , there are three houses in the compound but the middle one occupied by the Onojas was the one affected. This is not ordinary because even the connecting wires to other buildings were not affected.“
Traditional ruler breaks down
The traditional ruler of Surulere, High Chief Kareem Jinadu Awoyemi, broke down in tears as he arrived the scene, blaming other neighbours for not rising to the help of the affected family.
Awoyemi said: “There are issues brought to me that occupants of the three buildings in the compound were never in good terms.
‘’This is just too much. How could this type of thing escalate to this level when the victims had neighbours?.“ At this point, he stopped, shook his head and burst into tears again before leaving the scene.
Attempt to burn other buildings foiled
When news of the neglect by other neighbours filtered round, some aggrieved persons suspected to be members of the deceased family attempted to burn down the two other buildings whose tenants were accused of turning deaf ears to their relatives’ cry for help.
Attempt by some sympathisers to stop this move resulted in an altercation that almost led to a fight. It took the intervention of policemen from Surulere Division, led by the DPO, Mr Monday Agbonika, to arrest the situation.
But when Vanguard approached him at the scene, he declined comments, referring Vanguard to the State Police Public Relations Officer.
One of the aggrieved relatives who refused to disclose his identity said: “The family went to the market yesterday to get items for the mother-in-law as their tradition demands to celebrate the arrival of the new born baby after one month of Omugwo.
‘’This morning, they were supposed to go to the village, the man has already purchased bus tickets and now they are dead. The father was a trader who sold sewing materials on Lagos Island, while his wife, is a parishioner at Saint Mulumba Catholic Church, Lawanson, Lagos.’’
Donations for survivor
Meanwhile, a man was seen collecting money from sympathisers . When asked what the money was meant for, the man who spoke on condition of anonymity, said : “We are donating for the treatment of the little girl that is in the hospital. Chidinma (survivor ) is in critical condition in the hospital and we are doing all we can to ensure her survival. Doctors said she has a fifty-fifty chance of survival.’’
Lagos State Fire Service Director, Rasaq Fadipe, said fire trucks were deployed to the scene immediately the distress call was received.
The victim of electrocution, Oluchi Anekwe was a 300 level student from the Department of Accountancy who was electrocuted on Tuesday was electrocuted near a female hostel Madam Tinubu Hall, located within the school.
One of the students Abiodun Otukoya from the Faculty of Science told Vanguard the deceased left her room to await one of her friends who was bringing a course material when suddenly an electricity cable fell on her near a new generation bank and she was electrocuted on the spot.
The deceased was said to be a First Class student before her untimely death around 7.30pm of that fateful day and she was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Eye witnesses’ account said the protest which lasted for about six hours was said to have kicked off from the main gate of the school as the protesters barricaded entrance preventing visitors and vehicular movement in and out of the school premises.
The protesters carried placards singing solidarity songs and shut down the main entrance of the school while the school Vice Chancellor Professor Rahaman Bello later came to address them and said the incident was not the fault of the school but that of power distribution clompany.
A geophysicist at a company in the Lekki area of Lagos, Mr. Sunday Alabi, says his younger brother, Tope, and brother-in-law, Wale, narrowly escaped being killed by some overzealous policemen attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the state police command
He stated that the policemen, who arrested and tortured him and other victims on August 28, had raided their area, Atunise Street, Isheri-Olowora.
He said the policemen, numbered about six, shot sporadically into the air and threatened to gun them down.
Alabi added that they were later thrown into a cell in the command till the following day and were released after paying N20,000 bribe.
The geophysicist explained that trouble started around 8pm on the fateful Friday after he sent his brother-in-law to buy foodstuffs for the family’s breakfast the following day.
Alabi said he decided to send him on the errand because the following day, being the Saturday earmarked for environmental sanitation in the state, shops would not open till 10am after the exercise.
Our correspondent gathered that the cops, who were busy arresting passersby, nabbed Wale, who quickly sent a text to Alabi, informing him of his arrest.
Alabi said he dashed out to the scene, but the policemen ordered him to join Wale, who had been forced to sit on the floor.
He said his brother, Tope, and his sister, Gbemi, also came to the scene when he did not return home, adding that they were also arrested.
He said, “That day ─ August 28 ─ my wife, Wale, Tope and Gbemi were in the living room when I remembered that the following day was going to be an environmental sanitation day. I sent Wale to buy bread, noodles and eggs outside. No sooner had he left than I received a text message from him that he had been arrested.
“I told others about the message and I went to the place to see what I could do. On getting to the scene of the arrest, I tried to identify my brother-in-law, but the policemen descended on me and slapped me many times.
“Shortly after, my brother and my sister came looking for me; they were also arrested. They later allowed my sister to go, but ordered Wale, Tope and I into a Black Maria and took us to the Isheri Police Station, saying we were criminals. About 32 others were also arrested that day.
“My wife, a friend and the landlord came to the station to bail us, but they were not allowed in.
“Afterwards, they took to the police command headquarters in Ikeja. When we got to Ikeja, I saw one of them holding a gun and a bottle of gin. They threatened to shoot us.”
Recounting the dehumanising conditions to which he and his family members were subjected to by the police, Alabi urged the police authorities to investigate the case and discipline policemen found wanting.
He said, “We were about 58 in that cell and the toilet smelled so bad that I could not sleep till the following day. My wife, friends and the landlord association came to bail us on Saturday evening after we paid the policemen N20,000. One man, Ode, is the Investigating Police Officer.
“One of the reasons I decided to speak out on this matter is that they may implicate us in future because they took our photographs even though we did not commit any offence. Those policemen should be fished out and disciplined.”
Tope said the policemen could not state the offence they committed.
He said, “At the police command, a lawyer friend asked what our offence was, but they could not say anything. The psychological effect was even more than the assault because I never thought I would sleep inside the cell that night.”
Our correspondent was told that Wale had travelled when he visited the residence on Tuesday. Calls put across to his line indicated it was switched off.
A member of the landlord association in the community, who identified himself only as Jegede, said the policemen did not apply wisdom on the day.
He said, “The way the policemen treated the family was totally demeaning. They even went as far as collecting N20,000 before they were released. We are not saying the police should not raid, but they need to be meticulous so that innocent people are not paraded as criminals.”
The Lagos State Police spokesperson, DSP Patricia Amadin, said she had been trying to identify Ode, the IPO, to verify the incident and promised to get back to our correspondent.
The suspect, identified as Jonathan Cooker, reportedly kidnapped the primary school pupil (names withheld) who was returning from a summer coaching in a school located around Lawrence road.
Thereafter, he reportedly took the boy to a provision store located on Cole Street and ordered for crates of soft drinks worth N51,000.
Instead of paying, he was said to have told the shop owner that he would be leaving his younger brother (kidnapped boy) behind, to get money from the house. The unsuspecting shop owner obliged him and gave the crates of soft drinks to him.
But the bubble burst after a passer-by who identified the little boy asked what he was doing in the shop. At that moment, Cooker reportedly increased his pace in a bid to escape from the scene . But he was immediately apprehended when the little boy told the passer-by that he was picked by a stranger.
The teenager died in the fire which gutted the family’s four-bedroomed duplex around 1am on Monday when the household was asleep.
It was learnt that Timileyin was having a shower in the bathroom when the fire engulfed him. His parents and two siblings, who managed to escape from the building, became unconscious after inhaling fumes. They were said to have been admitted in a hospital in the area.
The deceased was said to be preparing for his university education when the tragedy struck.
Our correspondent gathered that the fire broke out from a spark which reportedly emanated from an upsurge in power voltage. It reportedly gutted the apartment, destroying its roof and the family’s valuables.
It was gathered that the Lagos State Fire Service was alerted to the incident around 1.40am and firefighters from Lekki and Onikan stations responded.
Timileyin’s remains were said to have been handed over to the Ilasan Police Division after the fire was put out around 4am.
Around 10am, distraught relatives and colleagues of the family were seen deliberating on how to inform the deceased’s parents of his death.
Timileyin’s uncle, who identified himself only as Charles, said the victims had regained consciousness and were responding to treatment.
He said, “It was a neighbour who called me on the phone. I rushed down here and met the house burnt. It is painful that we lost one of them (the family members.) He (Timileyin) had finished his secondary school education and was preparing to enter university. The parents are still in the hospital with other two children. They are in good conditions, but we have not broken the news to them.”
A resident in the area, Mohammed Bello, said, “I learnt the boy was inside the bathroom and did not know there was a fire outbreak. His parents and siblings were woken up by the fumes resulting from the fire and managed to escape.”
The Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe, confirmed the incident to our correspondent.
He said, “We received a distress call at 1.40am that a duplex of four bedrooms was on fire. Our men from Lekki and Onikan responded with a 10,000-litre truck and chemical to put out the fire.
“A 16-year-old boy was consumed by the fire while other family members who inhaled fumes had been rushed to a hospital.
“My advice to people is to ensure that their appliance are switched off when they are not in use. If the appliances are not on, the snap will not have anything to surge on.”