By Zika Bobby, Lagos
Residents of the Ajegunle area of Lagos have given the Nigerian a military thumbs up for their role in ensuring a crime-free Yuletide.
They said for the past eight years the area had witnessed a high crime rate during the Christmas season.
Many who spoke on condition of anonymity said a few weeks before Christmas there was a high number of robberies by youths who go about in huge numbers brandishing weapons.
‘Their acts left a bitter taste in the mouth of many. In Ajegunle, the entire local government secretariat, with over 100 cars, were set ablaze.
‘Mostly hit were the canal axis of Apasa, Itire, Amukoko, Alaba, Market street, Coker close, Agbamu, Owodunni, Alafia, Tejumola, Adejiyan, Campus, Ezeagu and Ojo Road. The list in endless. Innocent people were killed, houses and shops vandalised. Just before Christmas, the leader of one of the gangs from Apasa was killed by military operatives when he tried to disarm a soldier during a confrontation. His gang members were over powered and arrested by the military operatives. Since their arrest, peace has returned to the area, as the military presence almost became permanent,’ a resident said.
For them, 2020 was the best Christmas they had celebrated, saying there was hardly an incident of crime.
‘The presence of military operatives really helped calm the area. We pray that this will continue. We cannot afford to live in fear. These boys have made life unbearable for a lot of families,’ a resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
‘The people are scared of giving out information for fear of exposing their identity by criminally minded security personnel for monetary gain; even we are equally skeptical of devulging our identify because of lack of trust.
‘Now that the security operatives have been able to identify some of these black spots and their owners, government can take over those spots, probably put it up for indoor recreational centres or build low cost houses. It’s time we teach these criminals that no one is above the law.
‘The solution we’re profering is that the military and other security agencies must be proactive by randomly carrying out surveillance on the aforementioned areas to nip the crisis in its bud. The partial peace attained must be sustained by continually visiting and apprehending suspects for profiling,’ he said.