Lagos under siege as Governor Akinwumi Ambode cedes state to armed robbers

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Lagos under siege as Governor Akinwumi Ambode cedes state to armed robbers

November 11
08:23 2015

The center is giving way, excellence is retreating; and charm recedes hurriedly from Lagos State, like beach waves departing the shore with a desperate hiss. And all that’s left of Lagos city is a darksome portrait of strife and death. In the wake of Governor Akinwumi Ambode’s emergence as chief administrator of the state proudly regarded as Nigeria’s “Centre of Excellence,” peace has deserted the coastal city cum commercial hub – and the reason is hardly far-fetched.

As you read, Lagos collapses under the deadly weight of wanton armed robberies and insecurity.
Lagos has become very attractive to armed robbers and various other miscreants very recently and the consequences are felt in the catalogue of citizen deaths and bank robberies punctuating the city’s peace even as you read.

Armed robbers currently operate with astounding menace and daredevilry carting away millions of naira from banks and leaving a trail of blood and deaths in their wake. Besides these gruesome realities, the emotional trauma and atmosphere of fear that pervades the city in the wake of every armed robbery has turned the city to a graveyard of peace and security.

The return of daredevil armed robbers to the state is no doubt instructive; it reveals the lapses and immaturity of the incumbent government in matters pertaining to upholding order and guaranteeing the security of lives, property and businesses in the state. The relative peace enjoyed by the citizenry during the tenure of the immediate past governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola, has become history at the backdrop of a resurgence of armed attacks and untimely dispatch of innocent citizenry to early graves.

A close observation of crime statistics in the state, reveal a worrisome trend in the sequence of bank robberies where several policemen and innocent citizens are killed by men of the underworld during operations. Between January and July , 2015, three major bank robberies with same pattern of operation have occurred in the state .

The bank robbery operation in Lekki axis of the state on Thursday , March 12, 2015, left residents dangerously unnerved and fearful of what further grief they may experience as a result of total breakdown of security in their area. The peace of the area was shattered as fierce looking gunmen attired in military fatigue invaded the vicinity with volleys of gun shots. They made their way unimpeded into commercial banks in the area, devastating the electronic security doors with bullets.

At the end of the operation, the robbers left in their trail, the death of five persons; three policemen- Inspector Bethel Agbobu, Sergeant Odehowho George and Corporal Imoise Ikechukwu and two civilians: Sowemimo Kabiru and Miss Sarah Ibikunle, a15-year-old girl, who sold fish close to the scene of the robbery. Huge sums of money, amounting to millions of naira, was reportedly carted away, as well as the service rifles of the dead policemen.

Although the police eventually apprehended four suspects who claimed they had taken part in the robbery operation, two months later, armed robbers launched a fresh attack soon afterwards, storming two other banks again in the Ijede, Ikorodu branch of the banks; predictably, they made away with several millions of naira.

In the same month, precisely on June 24, 2015, armed robbers stormed the Ipakodo , Ikorodu branch of two first generation banks again, daring policemen whose station was right opposite the banks. Although the policemen reportedly tried to repel the robbers but they were overwhelmed by their number and sophisticated weapons which included dynamites.

And just recently, 40 armed robbers invaded Festac Town in Mile 2 area of Lagos, shattering its peace and quiet. The 40 bandits stormed three banks located on 4th Avenue and carted away currencies in naira and dollars. The robbers, however, left in their trail interminable anguish in the household of Peter Ndirika after a stray bullet shot by the robbers killed his wife, Jane Ebele and her one and a half year old baby, Masoma Ndisika.
The robbers, operated for over two hours without restraint, and they reportedly accessed the banks through the canal in a speedboat shooting sporadically into the air. At the end of the operation, little Masoma laid dead having been hit in the neck by a stray bullet which had earlier hit her mother, Jane. The bullet, according to her neighbours penetrated her chest before hitting her daughter. While Masoma died in their flat on Block 8, Flat 13 on 4th Avenue, her mother, Ebele, died in the hospital she was taken to for treatment.

Besides the resurgence of armed robbery in the state, the coastal city suffers a revival of the much dreaded vice of kidnap for ransom as criminal masterminds from the nation’s south-east and south-south regions have migrated to Lagos to cash in on the lapses in the state’s security apparatus, according to police sources. Consequently, residents of the state now live in perpetual fear of being abducted or having their children, parents and other loved ones kidnapped for ransom.

The crippling of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), has also led to severe clutter in vehicular movement across the state. There is bedlam on Lagos streets and major highways as motorists recklessly flout traffic rules knowing the once dreaded LASTMA officials have been warned by the state governor to stop making arrests.

Certainly, all is not well with Lagos and Governor Ambode has a lot of work to do if he truly intends to restore the peace and security erstwhile enjoyed in the state, during the administration of his predecessor, Governor Fashola. Until then, the questions on every Lagos resident will be: “What is Ambode doing about insecurity?”

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