Lagos State Task Force yesterday said it had arrested over 62 people at Oshodi and its environs for sleeping under the bridge and street trading. The task force Chairman, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Olayinka Egbeyemi, said the mid-night raid over the weekend was part of on-going efforts aimed at flushing miscreants and other criminal elements out of Oshodi and Lagos at large. Egbeyemi added that the agency acted on the directives of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, who expressed concern over the spate of criminal activities in parts of the state, especially around Oshodi, Mushin, Fadeyi, Agege, Apapa, Lagos Island, Obalende, Oyingbo, Dopemu, among others. Egbeyemi, who stated that no weapon was found on the suspects, added that there were strong indications that they were part of the criminals who had been terrorising the entire area particularly those attacking motorists on Oshodi Bridge.
He said: “We got to the area about 2a.m. It was an eye-sore to have found these miscreants under the bridge at Oshodi at such odd hours walking aimlessly while some were also caught smoking Indian hemp popularly called marijuana. “Many of these arrested miscreants have different tattoos on their arms indicating they belong to a particular sect or cult. Many are smokers, while others robbed residents and pedestrians of their valuables such as phones, wallets and jewellery in the morning and at night.” The chairman added that the miscreants had been screened while the underaged ones were referred to the juvenile homes for rehabilitation.
He disclosed that most of the young miscreants were between 12 and 17 years. He said they were products of broken homes. According to him, after the completions of all the on-going projects by the government around Oshodi, there will no longer be any hideout for criminals to unleash terror on innocent members of the public again. He reaffirmed that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was committed to protecting lives and property in order to attract more investors and make life easy for the residents. Egbeyemi appealed to parents to always consider their children as the receiving end in any family disputes.
He, however, confirmed that all those arrested had been charged to court on the directives of the Police Commissioner, Edgal. One of the suspects, Gani Yusuf, 35, said he paid N100 every day to their ring leader before he could be given a little space to sleep under the Oshodi Bridge. Gbenga Ololade, 38, said he came from Ibadan and had been sleeping under Oshodi Bridge in the last three years.
Ololade claimed that he was initiated into cultism with a particular tattoo on his face by their group leader under the bridge. Meanwhile, 18 arrested street traders around ‘Trade Fair’ complex who were initially released based on a written ‘under-taken’ with the agency not to go back to selling at unauthorised places in the area were re-arrested and charged to court. The 18 street traders went back to be selling their wares at the same illegal spots around the ‘Trade Fair’ complex.