There was panic on Freeman and Borno streets in the Oyingbo area of Lagos State when teenagers, armed with cutlasses and knives, attacked and looted shops, while some traders were injured in the area.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the teenagers, on the fateful day ─ Saturday ─ went to Old Apapa Road, Oyingbo, and stabbed three persons to death.
Our correspondent gathered that during the attack on the two streets, which lasted for about 30 minutes, the teenagers, who traders said numbered about 30, invaded the area at about 3pm and ordered the traders to leave their shops.
It was learnt that the hoodlums injured traders who did not obey them on time, forcing others to abandon their wares and scamper to safety.
The teenagers were reportedly led by one Idris Aloma, who was said to be based in the Sawmill, Okobaba area.
When PUNCH Metro visited the streets on Monday, two security officials in the area ─ Ishola Musibau and one Beckley ─ took our correspondent round the Oyingbo Market area to observe the damage.
Some of the traders told our correspondent that the assailants’ ages ranged from 15 to 20.
One of the traders, Bolaji Olumofe, told our correspondent that one of his workers was injured and was currently receiving treatment in a hospital.
He said, “The boys were no fewer than 30. Most of them wore white shirts. They had cutlasses and guns with them. They stormed the streets, and started entering shops at will.
“They attacked traders and workers. One of the workers is being treated in a hospital as we speak. They stole television sets and handsets. It was a daylight robbery.
“These boys were in three factions. One of the factions claimed to be mourning one of their leaders who was killed on Thursday. The second faction came later to Borno Way and attacked traders there too.
“The onslaughts happened for about 30 minutes. The teenagers went towards Freeman Street, shooting and daring residents to come out. The policemen from Denton division later came, but the hoodlums had fled.”
In Borno Way, two women who were robbed and injured told PUNCH Metro that except for the weapons that the hoodlums wielded, they were not older than their (women) children.
One of them said, “We were robbed at about 2.30pm. I have a refrigerator and I sell frozen foods. The boys just barged in with cutlasses and knives and began to seize bags and aprons. I lost about N300,000.
“Everyone ran away because of their number and weapons. My neighbour sells phones; they took all the phones after collecting her money. She has not come to the market since then.”
Our correspondent learnt that workers at the Sawmill, Okobaba area, had sent a petition to the state Commissioner of Police to rid the area of hoodlums.
The security official, Musibau, noted that the hoodlums were Fagbayimu and Kogbagidi boys, who, he claimed, had been arrested and granted bail on several occasions.
He said, “The violence started in the Sawmill, Okobaba Estate area on Friday, where two of the hoodlums were killed. The faction there mobilised to old Apapa Road on Saturday and killed three persons in a reprisal.
“It was after then that they moved to the market area, and began to loot shops and attack the traders. The hoodlums are known as Fagbayimu and Kogbagidi boys. They have ring leaders such as Taoreed, Lekan Sondoko, Ajayi and others.
“One of the persons they killed on Old Apapa Road is identified simply as Yoyo-the-tailor. It was a full-scale onslaught. The vigilance groups are going after these hoodlums. We cannot allow them to continue to harass and terrorise our women.”
Our correspondent learnt that while business activities had returned to both streets, some of the shops were still closed.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Patricia Amadin, confirmed the incident.
She added that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the violence.
She said, “Four suspects were arrested on Monday in the area. They are in the custody of the Area C Police Command, Surulere.”