In order to have a safe and secured community, police operatives, members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), and other stakeholders have dislodged and set ablaze a notorious shanty harbouring criminal elements, popularly known as Monkey Village, located in the Badia area of Lagos State.
The area was said to be a hideout for several criminals, notably armed robbers, fraudsters, pick-pocketers, money doublers and child traffickers among others.
The action, according to stakeholders was part of a unanimous resolution reached at a joint security meeting held on Friday, September 2, at the palace of Oba Ojora, Abdulfatai Aromire, due to the bad image the criminal elements has brought on the community and its environ, coupled with the security situation in the country.
When our correspondent visited the scene, it was gathered that the shanty which occupies about eight acres of land was set on fire in an operation led by the Divisional Police Officer of Badia Police Station, CSP Ayoola Olawole, with members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), representatives of Chiefs, Community Development Associations (CDAs) amongst others in attendance. It was also gathered that the notorious area, had suffered several evictions in the hands of the state government, with the miscreants and criminally minded persons returning to the area after the place is set on fire and then re-erect another shanty.
Home to robbers, fraudsters, others
According to Mr. Azeez Okeola, the Chairman of Community Development Committee (CDC), Apapa-Iganmu LCDA, “The area was home to several shades of criminals, notably armed robbers, 419ners, pick-pocketers, money doublers, child traffickers and brothel among others.” One of the criminal gangs terrorising the community who resides in the shanty was allegedly led by the son of a prominent leader in the community, simply identified as Yomi and several other of his boys are in the shanty, where they set out to operate and then return to it later to share their loots.
He said: “The Yomi’s gang has been responsible for most of the robbery acts that occur lately in the community, which resulted in the unanimous decision of the stakeholders and the police to dismantle the den so that we would be able to sleep with our eyes closed and do our business with ease.
“The suspect’s modus operandi is usually tricking their victims with fake dollars and luring them to the hideout in the monkey village.
Having lured his victims, the person will then be dispossessed of his or her ATM card and forced to reveal the pin. The victim will be tied with rope and subjected to torture and excruciating pains until he or she disclose the pin number and whatever amount found in the person’s account would be withdrawn.
“The latest atrocity of the gang was the transfer of the sum of N1.5 million from the account of an Hausa man, who was tied with rope for two days when he declined to disclose his pin and the sum of N2.4 million was also withdrawn from the aide of a Brigadier General, which were reported at Badia Police Station.” Our correspondent also gathered that recently Police arrested three armed robbers with firearms in one of the chalets during operation, who had lodged in the area all the way from the Eastern part of the country.
On Oba’s directive
One of the stakeholders who participated in the burning of the shanty, Mr. Saka Yusuf said the burning of the shanty was not the first time that it was being pulled down or being burnt, but, they would always return.
He said that was why they all decided to burn down the criminal hideout due to the insecurity situation in the country, saying, “We could not do it alone that was why we informed the police, OPC members before the operation was carried out.
“Part of the resolution we reached at the meeting with Oba of Ojora, Abdulfatai Aromire was the burning of the shanty, we were directed by the monarch to also inform leaders of mosques not to allow strangers to sleep in their mosques and churches to also check those who come to worship with them, we are doing all these to avoid breakdown of law and order in our community. This is the third time the shanty would be demolished and after demolishing it the miscreants would rebuild it, but this time around we are not going to allow that.
“The shanty is home to criminal elements, alot of criminal activities is going on there on daily basis, alot of ladies have been raped in the area. Sincerely, the shanty is projecting the community in bad light.
It was the whole community that agreed that the place should be demolished. I have lost counts of innocent souls that have lost their lives in the area. If the hoodlums are not dislodged one day they will overrun the whole community, we are monitoring the area closely to avoid the return of the criminals into the shanty and its environs.”
Mr. Mustapha Abolade who was one of the victims of armed robbery at the shanty, said he was returning from work one fateful day when he was robbed by the hoodlums, but it was God that saved him. He said it was not the fault of the criminals who hide in the shanty, if not those who provide it for them in order to make money from them. Alot of innocent residents who are returning from work had been robbed of their money and their valuables.
“Alot of criminal activities had occurred there in the past. I was also a victim of armed robbers at the shanty I was returning home one fateful day from work when I was robbed by the boys, whenever it is late and you go through the area be rest assured that you are going to be attacked by the bad boys in the area. They are always on alert to rob, fully armed with guns.
“I worked with an NGO, whenever we go there to educate them on side effects of taking drugs they chased us away, there was never a day we tried to reach out to them that they don’t chase us away. Since then we have not gone back there to talk to them.”
Speaking on the burning of the shanty, the DPO Badia Police Station, CSP Ayoola said he had repeatedly told the residents to identify the bad eggs among them and sign undertaking not to attack innocent residents again, which they refused to do.
He claimed that most of the residents are conspirators, who always benefit from proceeds of the criminals acts, which is why they are protecting them from being arrested, since they were approached for peace.
Describing the residents of the shanty as illegal squatters, Ayoola said he has asked them to formalise their stay with His Royal Highnes Oba Abdulfatai Aromire, the traditional owner of the land, which they declined.
“The criminals have been living on the illegal plot of land for over 40 years. We cannot fold our arms and allow gangsters to overrun the community.
“I will be sending my men to monitor development in the area on daily basis to prevent them from rebuilding their illegal quarters there. Our job is to provide security for residents and businesses in the area. We are not going to relent.”
Source: New Telegraph
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