Robbers write Lagos community
Police begin patrol, raids, arrest
Fear has gripped residents of a community at Isheri/ Idimu, Lagos State, after they received strange letters from unknown persons believed to be armed robbers. In the letters, the suspected armed robbers, who described themselves as ‘Big Brothers,’ said they would soon visit the community. The residents said that they woke up Monday morning to see the letters pasted at different areas in the community.
The letters told them to expect a visit soon. The letters, typed in capital letters, were pasted on walls of the entrance into Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) close. The streets, which make up the community include, CAC Close, Adebola, Ifelodun, Adeloya and Fagbohunlu.
The letters threw the community into panic. Before that Monday, the community, especially Adebola and Ifelodun streets, had been experiencing pockets of breaking and entering. The thieves often target generators, jewelry, plasma televisions, among others valuables. Some members of the community have often attributed the breaking and entering to youngsters who reside at Car Wash Police Barracks.
These youth also sell and smoke Indian hemp. The letter reads: “This is to notify you residents/business owners of this arena to be aware of the impending visitation of the big brothers at any time from now.
Thanks.” However, some residents wondered why the community, which is located close to Area M, Idimu Police Command and Car Wash Police Barracks, would be taunted with such letters. A Police Children School is also located in the community. A member of the community, Miss. Anurika Onyemelam, said she was impressed with police response to the issue.
She explained that on Tuesday, policemen were sighted patrolling the community. She noted that the policemen also visited the Indian hemp joint in the community. She added: “The policemen even made some arrests. We heard that the landlords have also started making moves to get vigilantes to assist the police.
The news of the letters has travelled like wildfire, to the extent that banks in the area have started demanding for more policemen for their firms. It’s also possible that these robbers are planning to attack another place, maybe banks and are using these letters to divert attention of the police.”
Another resident, Gbenga Babalola, who has lived in the community for over 30 years, said this was the first time the community would be receiving such threatening letters from faceless criminals.
He said: “I don’t know whether the letter is real or fake, but we’re not takingchances. Landlords have alerted the police and also written a petition. Robbers used to disturb us a lot in this community before. But this is the first time they would be writing us. The landlords have contacted members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC). The OPC men are asking for guns and bullets.”
A resident, who craved anonymity, said that about two years ago, robbers used to break into shops, carting away people’s goods right in front of Idimu Police Station. He noted that the influx of jobless and Indian hemp smoking youths in the community exposed residents to criminals’ attack. He said it was an effrontery for the robbers to write such letters, knowing that police barracks and command are in the community.
The Chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA), Mr. Fagbohunlu, told our correspondent that immediately they read the letters, the community swung into action. A formal letter was immediately written and dispatched to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in charge of Idimu Police Station, Mr. Fayomi Adebayo. The petition to the DPO states in part: “We want you to use your good offices to ensure that members of our community sleep with their two eyes closed. Please save our community.”
Fagbohunlu said the community is not sweeping the matter under the carpet. According to the CDA chairman, community members and landlords have started a series of meetings, with the aim of creating security awareness among residents. Fagbohunlu said: “First, we must be wary of strangers visiting this community at odd hours.
We must also think about those residents here; what jobs they do and people they move with. The problem here is that some streets have guards, while others don’t. When we had community security guards, some residents refused to contribute to their salaries. So those who could pay kept their guards, while others dismissed theirs.” Some residents said that the major security challenge in the community is lack of a central gate.
There are about six routes to enter different streets and areas. If the area must be secured, at least six or more central controlling gates would need to be built.
When our correspondent visited Idimu Police Station, Adebayo said that he was aware of the letter.s He said that the Area M Commander and Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni were also aware of the development, leading to synergy. The result of the synergy is the present massive police patrol, raids and arrest. He urged residents not to exercise fear because the police were already in control.
Adebayo said: “We’re ready for them! We are also aware that they might be trying to divert our attention from their real targets; we are also ready for them. We have received several calls since Monday and we have received many calls after our men started patrolling. People have called to thank us.”