By Job Osazuwa
a trailer driver, Mr. Sina Odeyale and his motor boy, Lateef Ahmed, on Tuesday, escaped death by a whisker from the hands of hoodlums, popularly known as area boys in Oshodi, Lagos State.
It was gathered that the victims were coming from the Mile 2 axis and heading to Honeywell Flour Mills, Apapa, around 6.30am when their vehicle developed a fault. The driver explained that he took the longer Oshodi route to avoid the perennial gridlock at the Tin-Can area, which would have been faster to his destination.
What seemed a day of dangers looming everywhere for the driver and his motor boy, they had on the same day, already been waylaid by another set street urchins around 5.30am in a traffic at Mile 2 Bus Stop. According to Odeyale, two rough-looking young men jumped into his vehicle and one of them pointing what looked like a gun at him, collected N10, 000 from him and jumped down in quick succession.
On getting to Oshodi Bus Stop, again, fate worked against them as their trailer jerked and broke down. Before they could say Jack Robinson, he said many hooligans swooped on them like the bird and demanded different amounts of money to help them watch over the vehicle while the mechanic rectifies the problem.
He narrated to the reporter that all efforts to explain to the rampaging hoodlums that he had been robbed an hour ago fell on deaf ears. According to him, their tormentors’ anger was exacerbated when they had ransacked the vehicle and searched their pockets but found no money. At that point, he recalled that they went belligerent and pounced on them mercilessly.
Odeyale said he was able to count about ten of the young men, who brandished different dangerous weapons. He said he didn’t know they could use the machetes on them until the first person struck.
He said those who were not using weapon didn’t fail to punch and kick him and his conductor hard. He thanked some God Samaritans who swiftly rushed them to New Line private hospital at Isolo, adding that Ahmed could have given up if didn’t come on time.
“They were shouting and speaking the Yoruba Language. They didn’t care to listen to us when we told them that some boys had collected money from us at Mile 2. They demanded the money as if it was their right to do. One of them asked why we risked our lives plying Oshodi route without keeping their own money aside.
“Some demanded N30, 000 while others reduced it to N20, 000. And people were passing us while this was going on because the day was already bright. When the “area boys” saw us bleeding profusely, they scattered in different directions,” Odeyale said.
Reacting to the attack and other similar ones perpetrated by the street urchins, an indigene of Lagos and a human rights activist, Mr. Michael Adebowale called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to increase security surveillance on Lagos flashpoints, especially the ever busy Oshodi Bus Stop.
“If Lagos must truly become a mega city where people move from one place to another 24 hours round the clock, Ambode must as a matter of urgency, flush out these hoodlums from the state. These touts have committed unquantifiable atrocities in the state. No one can be bigger than the government, except when it decides to look the other way. I have the confidence that the governor will mobolise the security personnel to tackle the problem,” Adebowale said.