• As ‘One Million Boys’ torment residents
‘NURTW members not involved in vioence’
From Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan
On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, unscrupulous cult groups and criminal elements who go by the name “One Million Boys” invaded Kudeti, Ibadan, Oyo State, attacking youths in the area.
During the attack, miscreants who said to usually attack their victims with cutlasses chopped off the hand of one of their victims. Since this development, other areas like Beere, Born Photo, Mapo, Idi-Aro, Akala and some other parts of the city recorded orgy of violence, which culminated in the wanton destruction of lives and properties of innocent citizens.
Daily Sun learnt that as the name implies, the “boys” are in the habit of recruiting youth members of the public to perpetuate violence and disrupt law and order in any area they find as their abode. According to a resident of Kudeti, the hooligans invaded the area because youths in the communities refused to join the group after several attempts to woo them.
The resident who pleaded not to be named said: “More than 300 of the ‘One Million Boys’ stormed the community with weapons, including guns. They shot at youths in the area. They also attacked them with knives and cutlasses. A victim, Sikiru, also known as Alase, had the lower part of one of his hands severed completely and they made away with the part.
“These deadly miscreants were said to have migrated from Lagos State. According to a report, the boys have existed in some communities in Badagry and are in illegitimate habit of attacking and robbing their victims of their possessions. The notorious gang has been operating in different parts of Lagos. They were planning to strike in Aradagun, Mosafejo, Ibereko, Ikoga and Ajara, all communities in Badagry when the security operatives succeeded in dislodging them.
“It was gathered that the boys were initially dislodged from Ajegunle and were moving round Ikorodu, Epe, Okokomaiko, Maza Maza and other areas.”
At a stakeholders’ roundtable discussion titled; “The Role of Stakeholders in Urban Security Management: The Case of Ibadan” recently, one of the community members invited for the discussion who spoke under condition of anonymity said the notorious gang wrote a letter to residents in his University of Ibadan (UI) area notifying them of their coming to rob.
Meanwhile, the areas in Ibadan that the hooligans used as battleground said to be known as the stronghold of hooligans and thugs hence, a reason One Million Boys found it as next abode. Therefore, the Tuesday mayhem was reportedly a fight for a supremacy battle between the boys and the host miscreants of the communities.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said some of the hooligans have been arrested and currently being prosecuted in the court of law for various criminal offenses, while others have arrogantly worn garb of violence and brutalilty, causing fear and apprehension among the people of the affected areas. He said police would not shirk from protecting life and property and maintaining law and order: “The police is resolutely determined to curtail their excesses and dissipate their ranks by whatever legitimate means it may require.
“Enough is enough! While these agents of destabilization and destruction are sternly warned against further violence or risk arrest and prosecution, parents, guardians are advised to talk to their children.
“Community leaders and other peace-loving individuals must join hands with the police and other security agencies to stem the tide of this ‘madness’ in the name of hooliganism.”
Commissioner of Police, Samuel Adegbuyi, however, ordered massive deployment of policemen comprising special force and plainclothes policemen to embark on a 24-hour surveillance and aggressive patrol of the affected areas and other places in the state:
“The law abiding citizens are to go about their lawful businesses as concerted efforts are currently being made to protect lives and properties of the citizens before, during and after the festival period.”
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, said government had directed security agencies to deal with the hooligans, adding that such acts of thuggery and hooliganism would not be condoned again.
He appealed to residents of the affected areas to remain calm and consequently called on security agencies in the state to increase their presence in the areas and other areas too in order to forestall a recurrence of the ugly incidents:
“We want to assure our people that we value their well-being, lives and property and we will at all times live up to expectations to provide security for them.” He added that security, which is the foundation of development, would not be trivialized or taken lightly.
Reacting to reports that some arrested hooligans claimed to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the state chairman, Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, said the hooligans can never be members of NURTW because all their members have identification cards.
According to him, the NURTW under him longer perpetuate violence:
“Every member is satisfied and well taken care of hence, there is no reason for violence.”
He said the one million boys are jobless and their parents must be blamed for their bad conducts: “I learnt from the new police area commander in Iwo Road who was just transferred from Lagos that the one million boys migrated from Lagos State.
“I heard that police in Lagos were ruthless with the boys, a reason they fled Lagos to take Ibadan as their new abode. I urge security agents to stop prosecution of the boys but rather kill them as a deterrent to other members of the gang. This will stop the menace of the boys in the state.”