There was panic on Wednesday in the Lakowe area of Ajah, Lagos State, after some suspected hoodlums reportedly attacked motorists plying the Lekki-Epe Expressway and mechanics in a shop in the community.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the attackers, who were armed with guns and cutlasses, dispossessed their victims of valuables and injured many in the attack which occurred around 2pm.
Some members of the gang were identified as Saheed, aka Ejo, said to be the son of a traditional ruler (Baale) of a community in the area; Sima, Taofeek, Alaba and one Tunde, aka Oka.
It was learnt that residents had been indoors while an annual cultural rites, aka Oro, was being observed by the community on the fateful day.
Our correspondent gathered that the bandits, led by Oka, cashed in on the curfew to attack the mechanics and motorists found outside.
A mechanic, Segun Borokini, told our correspondent that the mayhem usually occurred whenever the rite was being held in the community. He said the gang injured and robbed him of N150,000 and a phone, adding that he reported the incident at the Elemoro Police Division.
He said, “They beat me up and collected my phone and N150,000 that a customer just gave to me.
“I reported to the police and they told me to go and treat myself first. When I went back today (Thursday), I was told to pay N10,000 to facilitate the arrest of the suspects. I left because I did not have any money to pay.”
Borokini’s partner, Ibrahim, said he lost N17,000 appealing to the police to put an end to the attack.
He said, “They gave me lashes of cane and I had to flee. I did not know how my N17,000 got lost in the process.”
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being hunted, said policemen later came to disperse the hoodlums on the expressway.
He said, “Some policemen later came to chase them from the expressway, where they were collecting money from motorists. That is how they frustrate everybody.
“They always look for opportunities to steal whenever they are doing the rites. They don’t fear the police at all.”
A police source told our correspondent that the Baale of the troubled community had been invited to the station and asked to name the miscreants.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Patricia Amadin, confirmed to PUNCH Metro that the incident was reported. She, however, said the police were not aware of the rite.
She said, “The mechanic reported at the station that he was attacked by some people. He did not mention it was during a rite.