Posted by News Express | 19 June 2016 | 3,892 times
Three people were last Monday kidnapped by a gang of armed robbers who claimed to be members of a Niger Delta militant group, along the Lagos/Ogun waterways. The victims, identified as a politician in Obadero Akesan area of the Lagos State, a naval officer and a lady, were among passengers that boarded a boat at Adeckson bus stop, Ojo in Lagos State, to Moshe village, on the outskirt in Ogun State.
An eye witness, Mr. Femi John, told our reporter on Saturday, that the three people are still in the custody of the kidnappers who demanded for a ransom of N7millon. John, a Local Council Development Area (LCDA) staff in Lagos, said residents in both Moshe and Totowu village now live in palpable fear due to the constant attacks from the gang of militants.
He said: “Last week Wednesday, I boarded a boat from Ishitu Ego jetty to Totowu village, a border community between Lagos and Ogun states at the close of work. All was going on well until we got to the middle of the river and these boys blocked our boat and robbed us of all we had on us. I had earlier called my wife when I was at the jetty that we were about to depart and usually it take us eight to nine minutes to get to our destination.
“But we were trapped on the waterways for close to 30 minutes as the robbers took away our valuables. Two of my phones, a loaf of bread and a folder was taken from me. The robbers came to us and identified themselves as Niger Delta militants. They said our president refused to pay their money hence they will continue to terrorise citizens. There was a lady in the boat who was going home with N250,000 the money was collected from her and other valuables taken from other passengers.”
Mr. John said a similar robbery incident has earlier taking place this time on a boat that was heading to Ibeshe village.
“We learnt that the women on that boat were asked to remove their clothes by the robbers and they fondle their breasts. We were all afraid because that kind of thing has not happened before,” he added.
Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, DSP Dolapo Badmos, proved abortive as she did not respond to telephone calls and text messages put through to her mobile phone as at press time.
In a related development, a pall of anguish descended on five communities in Sagamu Local Government Area of neighbouring Ogun State yesterday after a gang of gunmen invaded the area and shot no fewer than 10 persons to death.
Several others were wounded by flying bullets, some others fell into ditches while they were scampering to safety in the bedlam sparked by the unexpected shooting at Imagbon, Elepete, Kajola, Glorious land and Ereko.
Residents gave the names of some of the dead as Wasiu Okeowo, Yah Lateef, Oladele Ogundare and one Umoru.
Eye witnesses blamed the attack on pipeline vandals who had earlier on Friday been dislodged by policemen from their hotel hideout at Elepete.
During the raid, two suspected pipeline vandals were allegedly shot dead.
The wounded among them were taken into safety by their fleeing colleagues.
But at about 12 midnight, the runaway vandals returned in fury and well-armed.
They vented their anger on the residents killing and destroying whatever they could lay their hands on.
Goats, fowls and dogs did not escape their fury. They were mercilessly mowed down.
Over 20 shops were broken into and valuables therein carted away.
A resident, whose name cannot be mentioned for safety reasons, said corpses littered the community.
“Some of us came back this morning to see corpses everywhere. Houses were destroyed. Shops vandalised and they even killed our livestock,” he said.
“It was those militants that did it. They have been terrorising us for some time now especially since the government stopped pumping fuel through the pipeline at Elepete.
“Before what they usually did was to come and kill our livestock. They would also attack people with guns and steal from them. The only time people died was during shoot outs between the boys and security agencies.
“But yesterday they came for the residents. It was an attack on the community. I don’t know why they went on the rampage and killed our people like that.
“Already we have counted about 10 corpses and three injured people have been rushed to the hospital. We have been having meetings and policemen from Ogijo division came to see things for themselves.”
Another resident simply identified as Alhaji said the boys had threatened to return and raze their houses.
He pleaded with government to “come and help us before these militants kill us all,” adding they left threatening to come back and torch our houses. They have even marked some building for destruction. We want justice for our people who have been killed.”
Some of the bereaved families have buried their dead. One of those already buried is one Oladele Ogundare.
A source described him as a comfortable and popular man in the area.
“He was a rich guy. Nobody knows why or how he was killed. But I can confirm to you that his family has buried him,” he said source.
Femi, Oladele’s brother said he was shot up to 10 times in his Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) by hoodlums.
He said: “My people called and told me that my brother had been killed. I was not there when it happened. They said it was around past 11pm while he was driving that the militants attacked him.
“They deflated his tyres so that he won’t run. His vehicle was riddled with bullets and the wind screen shattered. One of the bullets hit his leg. He was bleeding and ran out of the car to enable him escape, but they pursued him.
“We saw traces of blood from where he left the car to the place his body was found. We have buried him. He was 44 years and he worked at the airport. He left a wife and three children. All we want is justice. We are crying for justice for our brother and for all those killed by the militants.”
The State Police Command, however, confirmed only three deaths.
Spokesperson for the command, Muyiwa Adejobi, said three persons died and one was injured.
He identified one of the deceased as Waheed Buhari, adding that the man was shot with his daughter.
He said: “Gunmen numbering about 100 stormed the riverine community of Elepo around past 11pm. They shot a man, Waheed Buhari, and his daughter, Miriam. The man later died in the hospital but his daughter is responding to treatment.
“We also found two unidentified bodies. So, what was recorded was three fatalities and one injury. “People are alleging that the gunmen are militants. We cannot say for sure who they are and are not leaving anything to chance since the community is in the riverine area.
“The Police Commissioner has directed a widened scope of investigation and security has been tightened in the affected areas.”
•Pieced together from different stories by The Nation. Photo shows gunmen.
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