Lagos and burden of resurgent insecurity

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The security situation in Lagos is becoming a source of pain to residents and the earlier the Lagos State Government addressed this “festering wound”, the better for all. Attracting investors to Lagos has been a primary desire of the Government over the years. However, with the current state of insecurity in Lagos, it may be a tall dream.
Cases of kidnapping within Lagos State have reduced commendably in the last few months but traffic robbery has taken on a new dimension especially within the Oshodi area where massive construction is ongoing presently. The police are stationed only on the bridge while these hoodlums move down to carry out their evil trade. The stretch from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport all through Oshodi down to Gbagada Expressway is a major problem now as that route has become a deadly zone. The horrendous traffic situation on that area has actually become helpful to these robbers in recent times. Quite strange is the fact that the Rapid Response Squad vehicles are packed on top of the bridge and it beats one’s imagination what they are doing there taking a full lane to themselves in the unbelievably gruelling Oshodi gridlock. Commuters are also not free from mayhem launched frequently by undesirable elements around this area both at night and in the day time. Cases of robbers dispossessing travellers coming into Lagos from the international airport en route to Oshodi have become frequent in the past few weeks.
The increasing number of hoodlums in Lagos itself is a big worry to Lagos residents and commuters alike. These are mostly young ones within their early 20s and late 30s and they are everywhere looking for innocent victims to rob. In traffic jams, they come to the side of vehicles and after checking out the cars and the people in such vehicles, they go ahead to unleash mayhem on these victims. They normally smash the windows of the cars and take almost everything in the car. Even up to Gbagada and Maryland, it’s always a tale of woe for road users who have become helpless in the hands of these traffic robbers.
Besides, it is a nightmare whenever it rains in Lagos as most of the roads have been taken over by ditches and because road users become more careful during such times so they don’t fall into such ditches, traffic snarls build up in virtually all the major roads within Lagos. These criminals are always happy during the rains as they come out from their “holes” like ants after sugar and show the “stuff” they are made of. Worryingly too, the Lagos State emergency numbers which were very effective during the last dispensation, have become largely ineffective as urgent follow-ups are no longer witnessed by callers. For female drivers, it’s a more challenging period because they are the major focus of these robbers. The Mile 2/Apapa area is also a notorious black spot and due to the endless gridlock on that road, hoodlums have turned that place into their “business centre”.
Apart from collecting valuables like laptops, phones, money and every other thing within sight, most times, these robbers harm their victims especially if they notice any resistance. Most of these hoodlums appear unarmed but finding out if they are armed would be suicidal hence most victims just allow them have their way.
The Yuletide is here again and no doubt it’s a precarious period as this is the time robbery cases abound in Lagos. Therefore, it is imperative that the Lagos State Government ensures the maximum safety of its citizens. An increase of policemen on our roads would go a long way to reduce this growing menace. Notable black spots need to be constantly monitored and traffic on such routes should be pruned by assigning more traffic officers to such areas. Pending the time the Oshodi construction is completed, the policemen on duty in that area should make conscious efforts to parade that area instead of sitting down in their vehicles while “things” are happening around them. They need to be more proactive as they appear to have lost their focus.

Ngozi Konyebagu,
Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos

 


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