Anxiety in Lagos over hoodlums, vigilance groups menace

Posted by News Express | 17 April 2020 | 1,154 times

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There is anxiety in Lagos as residents contend with the lockdown necessitated by the Coronavirus.

On Monday, hundreds of armed youths across Oworonshoki, Bariga, Gbagada, Somolu, Ilupeju and Mushin stormed the streets under the guise of chasing the One Million Boys alleged to have entered their neighbourhoods.

Shopkeepers quickly locked up and fled into their homes, as did other residents, thinking they were the One Million Boys or Awawa Boys.

The fear of hoodlums attack has spread in many parts of the state, triggering varied panicky response from residents.

But the police insisted that there was no cause for alarm

Last week, the so-called One Million Boys, said to be a cult group, purportedly wrote letters to some residents informing them of their visit.

There are also the Awawa Boys, another cult group.

Police waved the letter threat away, saying it was a hoax, but residents do not want to take any chances since they reckon that police are not in their neighbourhoods when the chips are down.

As the anxiety deepened, Lagos communities such as  Alagbado, Alakuko, Meiran and several others in Oshodi, Iyana Ipaja, Ikotun, Ijegun, among others, mobilised to protect themselves.

Many of those who elected to watch over their neighbourhoods are said to be decent people with visible means of livelihood.

In some cases, men came out at night with their wives armed with sticks and other tools they could find.

In some parts of the state also, street boys infiltrated the vigilance effort and displayed all manner of unruliness.

Intoxicated by alcohol and marijuana, they made bonfires and barricaded entrances to their communities, harassing and extorting motorists.

With the emergence of notification letters purportedly written by the so-called One Million Boys to residents of Surulere, Ojodu Berger, Okota, Magodo and other parts of the state, youths in these areas also joined the trend despite claims by the police that anxiety was baseless.

Residents say the police appear to be overwhelmed, which informed the decision to take measures to defend themselves.

Police condemn the manner the vigilantes go about protecting their neighbourhoods, making bonfires and wielding dangerous weapons and harassing innocent residents.

But the residents insist that they have no choice but to defend themselves when it seems the police cannot.

Police spokesman said such vigilance groups ought to be monitored because  “their conduct create more panic and in some instances the residents assume them to be robbers and gangsters.”  (The Nation)

Source: News Express

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