Some residents living in the Lekki-Ajah axis of Lagos State, have said the insecurity challenge bedevilling the area will persist until hoodlums inhabiting the Alasia ghetto located along the Lekki-Epe Expressway are completely flushed out.
Hoodlums hiding in the ghetto opposite Forte Oil filling station on the expressway, have allegedly been terrorising people living in estates and other settlements in the high-brow communities.
There have been reported incidences of robbery in the area linked to activities of miscreants living in shacks, causing fear to residents
Security agencies, comprising the police and soldiers, raided the ghetto on November 15, 2020, to clear the area of criminals, over the worsening insecurity in the area since the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests in Lagos.
Scores of suspected miscreants were arrested in the operation.
Speaking to Newsbreak, Segun Folorunsho, Chairman, Hitech Estate, adjacent to Alasia ghetto, hailed the effort of the security agencies to rid the area of criminals.
He stated that the hoodlums were responsible for looting at the Lekki-Ajah axis during the #EndSARS protests in the state.
Folorunsho disclosed that the miscreants robbed him after hijacking the peaceful protests.
“I know this place very well. The raid on Alasia ghetto will help the insecurity along the Lekki-Epe expressway,” he said.
“Those boys are the miscreants disturbing this area. They created chaos during the #EndSARS protests. They hijacked the protest here, looted properties, burnt shops and banks. They deserved what they got.
“The police should have destroyed the place completely. We would have been able to sleep well. These boys have been robbing people along the highway. I was taking an elderly person to a hospital at Sangotedo one night during the protests. They collected my phones, wallet, everything and even threatened to shoot me.”
A woman, Charity Paul, who lives in Lekki Garden Phase III Estate on Hitech road beside Lagos Business School, decried the security challenge in the area.
She said: “Even with the raid on that place, we still need security. This area is not safe. Those boys will come in the night to loot shops on the street leading to the estate. Some will even rob residents of the estate coming home from work late at night. There have been several complaints.
“I believe the raid on that ghetto will go a long way to help our situation here. I have not been to that ghetto but I heard some of the boys are still there. May God help us.”
Also, Benjamin Mseve, Manager of University View Estate in Alasia, who spoke to our correspondent, said the hoodlums are making life difficult for people who use the expressway.
He said soldiers, and not the police should have been sent to destroy the ghetto.
“There is no doubt that Alasia ghetto is accommodating criminals disturbing the peace of Lekki-Ajah residents. You need to see what those boys have been doing since the #EndSARS protests.
“They are the ones terrorising Lekki to Shoprite. I’m also in charge of security of this estate, so I know what I’m saying. The state government should have flushed out those boys completely and turn that ghetto to a police post or something.
“People around here can no longer say they want to go and hangout with friends after work. Once the night meets you on this road, you are on your own. It’s a very serious thing that government should give more attention to before it gets out of control.”
“They were the ones who burnt the police station close to Abraham Adesanya after God Is Good Motors in Ajah.
“They destroyed Fidelity, Zenith, First and Access banks in Ajah. They took guns from the Ajah police station and brought it to the ghetto. We heard they wanted to use the guns against security agents that Sunday, but they couldn’t because they caught them unawares”, he stated.
According to Mseve, hoodlums who escape arrest on the day of the raid, later blocked the expressway after the security agents had left.
“The hoodlums out of anger blocked this busy road, started collecting phones and money from people going home from church. I think someone informed the police. They came back and that was when they set fire to the ghetto,” he further said.
George Ekene, who resides at Chief Meme Otone road in the area, said a lady who was supposed to get married on December 12 this year was shot dead on the expressway earlier this month.
“People are getting tired of the insecurity in this area because of these boys. They waylay people, rob people and take their things away. I think earlier this month, a lady I later learnt was from my town was shot dead on this expressway after she was dispossessed of her things.
“And all fingers are pointing to these boys. There are very many of them of them in that ghetto. Even despite the raid, you can still see them around. It is alarming,” he noted.
A resident of University View Estate, said it does not cost government anything if it is serious about tackling insecurity.
“There are notable people from this state who also live in this axis. If government really wants to tackle insecurity, they will. We have been shouting about how exposed we are to these boys in this area for some time now. When you drive along the road, some of them are still there. Why?” she queried.
When Newsbreak visited the ghetto, it was observed that there are still structures made with woods and iron sheets being inhabited, although a large portion of the area has been destroyed. Fierce-looking youths were seen selling and smoking weed.
Only one block industry was sighted at the entrance of the shanty.
The miscreants told Newsbreak that security agents attack them and destroyed the “city” they had built for years.
They claimed that they do menial jobs, and that some of them are apprentices.
One of them said: “The state government brought all the security agents in Lagos to attack us early in the morning. They killed people, arrested people. Later they will say boys are angry. Look at the injuries I sustained while running. They were just shooting at us anyhow.”
Another one said though they smoke weed and the society see them as bad people, they earn their living without depending on anyone.
“Here in this ghetto we have brothel, people sell things like scraps. We do menial jobs and earn money. We don’t depend on anyone to survive. Government didn’t provide jobs for us and we are doing things on our own. Yet they came to attack us.”
Reacting to their claim, Muyiwa Adejobi, spokesperson of the Lagos State police command, said guns stolen from Ajah police station when it was attacked and razed during the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests were recovered at the Alasia ghetto.
He also said the generator of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), stolen during the attack was found there.
“If they are not criminals, what are they”, he asked.
“Guns stolen from our station in Ajah were found there. The generator of the DPO in Ajah stolen during the attack was recovered from there.
“They removed the engines of all the vehicles they burnt at the police station.
On the remnant of the miscreants left at the shack, the police spokesperson stated that “it is a continuous thing. We won’t give them space to relax. We can’t tolerate lawlessness”.
He further said those arrested during the raid on the spot will be charged to court.
While responding to the insecurity in the Lekki-Ajah axis of the state, Adejobi urged the Community Development Council (CDC), to arrange for a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu.
“The Community Development Council in the area should come up with a white paper to meet the commissioner of police. From there we will know whether to involve the state government.
“They should give us information, then we will juxtapose it with what we have and work with it. We won’t allow criminality in the state. That is my take,” he concluded.