Tension, like a cloak, hangs over Araromi in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State, following a robbery attack which occurred in the community recently.
The robbers, armed to the teeth with guns, daggers and machetes, allegedly raided the whole buildings in the streets, moving from apartment to apartment. They were said to have arrived about midnight and operated until 4a.m.
According to some of the victims, the robbers were youths between ages of 20 and 22. The robbers were said to have split into groups, before moving into different houses to rob occupants.
It was learnt that the robbers started their operation at No 1, Adewunmi Adebiyi Street, and gradually moved down the street. Four flats were robbed at No 1, Adewunmi Adebiyi, while a person was stabbed on the thigh for refusing to part with his money.
One of the victims at No 1, Adewunmi Adebiyi, Mrs. Adegoroye Olashinle, said: “We were sleeping when we suddenly heard a loud bang on our door. Before I knew what was happening, six young men barged into our apartment. They threatened to kill me and my family.
“Immediately the robbers entered our apartment, one of them grabbed my three-year-old son, raised him high and pointed a gun to his head. He threatened to shoot if we didn’t submit all valuables in the house.
“I quickly brought out N75,000, which I had kept in my wardrobe. I also submitted my phones, laptop and my wedding ring. They later left our apartment to that of our neighbour. When they entered our neighbour’s apartment, we heard then shouting, ordering them to bring out whatever they had or they would be killed.”
Another victim, who simply gave her name as Mrs. Ganiyu, said: “When the robbers entered into our apartment and started operation, it was like watching a movie scene. The robbers threatened to kill my husband if he didn’t cooperate with them. While they were still talking, I rushed to our wardrobe, brought out the whole sales my husband made on that day and handed it over to them. They left and moved to another apartment.
“When the robbers pointed a gun at me, threatening to shoot, I wasn’t scared. I felt that if they kill me, they would also kill my children and husband; every one of us. It was after they left our apartment that the situation appeared to sink in; I started shaking. I also began to wonder how such young boys, mere kids, could boldly be robbing older people.”
On his part, a 75-year-old Pa Bisi Craige said he was sleeping when the robbers forced their way into his room.
He said: “When they burst into my apartment, they came straight to where I was sitting and pointed a gun at me. They said I should bring out whatever I had at home and submit to them. I didn’t mind submitting whatever they wanted, but my fear was for my daughters. I didn’t want them to rape my daughters. I sincerely thank God that they collected our valuables and left. I have never experienced such a robbery before in this community. But with that particular incident, it is clear that something needs to be done about security. We need adequate security and police patrol to prevent future occurrence.”
The Chief Imam of Olorunkemi Mosque, Alhaji Abduganiy Salaudeen, who lives at No 4, Adewunmi Adebiyi Street, was also not spared by the bandits.
He recalled: “We were sleeping when the robbers forcibly opened our door. They started moving from one apartment to the next. The robbers robbed eight flats in our building and collected tenants’ valuables. Whenever they gained access into any room, they would demand money, phones and other valuables. The robbers were mostly young boys. In fact, they were seriously armed and threatened to kill whoever dared to confront them.
“I believe the robbers had an informant in the community, which was why they were able to operate successfully without being challenged. Also, we have some black spots in our community, which need serious attention. Some hoodlums used to converge on the spots. We cannot challenge them, especially since our streets do not have gates.”
Salaudeen said that proper security was needed in the community, starting from Mulero area.
He added: “We used to arm our security guards, but when robbers killed someone on the Lagos- Abeokuta Expressway, policemen turned the case against one of our security guards. They said he was the person who killed the victim. We had to stop arming them.”
Our correspondent visited No. 23, Adewunmi Adebiyi Street, where a man, Ibrahim, was stabbed on his shoulder. The victim, however, died on his way to the hospital.
Ibrahim was killed a day after celebrating his birthday. The deceased’s co-tenants revealed his last moments.
One of them, Isong Same, said: “He was also sleeping like everyone when the gunmen came. The robbers were shouting that we should submit whatever we had. They said they came to collect what belonged to them. I was lying on the floor; DISCO had interrupted power supply. My wife and children were on the bed. When they came into the house, they rushed at me, asking for my wife’s jewellery, phones and money. I told them I didn’t have money. They started searching the house.
“When I tried to raise my head, one of them hit me with a machete and ordered that I should lay face-down. After they had collected what they wanted, they went to our neighbours to rob them.”
He said: “Whenever I am sleeping, I usually lock my door. When I heard the cry of my co-tenants shouting for help, I came out to check what was happening. That was when two of the robbers marched me back into my room. They asked me to submit everything of value I had in my house or they would kill me. I have to give them or else they would kill me. I gave them everything. Just as they were leaving, one of the robbers told his colleagues in Yoruba language that he would attack me. Before I knew what was happening, he cut my shoulder with his machete.
“As I was coming out of my room after the machete inflicted injury, I saw Ibrahim. He was crawling on the ground, calling a woman to come to his rescue. He said that he didn’t want to die. Before help could come his way, he had lost a lot of blood. It was policemen from Dopemu Police Station that later came to take the three of us that were wounded to a private hospital. Unfortunately, Ibrahim died before the doctor could attend to him.”
According to Joseph, one of the robbers was shot in the leg and subsequently arrested. He begged the police not to kill him that he would disclose all the names of gang members who came for the operation.
He added: “The suspect further confessed that one notorious robber, nicknamed ‘Five and Six,’ invited them from Alimosho for the operation.”
A woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that when she heard the noise of the robbers operating in other tenants’ apartments. She prepared for them.
She said: “When they finally got to my apartment, they said I should bring out everything. I woke my children and told them that we have special guests. I greeted and welcomed them. Before they asked me what I had at home, I had started bringing all valuable items out. I brought out my daughter’s laptop. When I didn’t give them the money on time, they threatened to rape my daughter. There was N20,000, which I kept for the registration of my son’s West African Examinations Council (WAEC)-conducted Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), I gave it to them. After they had collected what they wanted, they left for another apartment.”
An elderly woman, who didn’t want her name mentioned, explained that when they asked her to submit all valuable items she had in her apartment, she started begging them.
She said: “I pleaded with them that I was sick. I didn’t have any money at home. One of them insisted that I should submit my pants and bras since I didn’t have money. I told them that my pants were dirty and that I had soaked all in bleach. When I responded that way, one of them suggested that they should kill me. They asked me if I thought they were joking with me. One of them said that they should leave me because I was old enough to be their mother.”
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