Residents of Kosofe in the Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area of Lagos State have lamented the incessant attacks by hoodlums, who invade their community to vandalise and steal vehicle parts.
Some of the residents told PUNCH Metro that the hoodlums usually disguise as security agents on patrol to deceive the neighbourhood security guards and gain access to the various streets to perpetrate crime.
Some of the affected streets are Adedoyin, Iyanse and Onagoruwa, as well as dangerous spots like Kosofe and Iyana School bus stops, where the hoodlums threaten the lives and properties of residents.
A panel beater, Fatai Kolawole, said during one of the hoodlums’ operations, no fewer than 13 vehicles belonging to residents and some of his customers were vandalised and their parts stolen.
The 42-year-old stated, “I was at home when I got a text message from one Mr Mudashiru that thieves were vandalising vehicles on the close, where my workshop is located. Some people, who came back from late-night clubbing and slept in their cars, woke up and saw the armed robbers as they drove into the close and started vandalising vehicles and stealing their parts.
“They broke the windshields and opened cars parked on the close and started removing some of the parts, including the Engine Control Module (popularly called brainbox in Nigeria) of my customers’ vehicles. When I got there in the morning, I realised that 13 vehicles had been vandalised on Adedoyin and Iyanse streets as well as Onagoruwa Close. Some of the vandalised vehicles are owned by my customers. I had to inform all of them of what happened and they came to the workshop to see for themselves.
“We reported the incident to the police and an inspector was assigned to come for an assessment and while interrogating our security guard, the policeman was told that the armed robbers were dressed in police uniform and told him that they wanted to arrest someone in the area. So, when the gate was opened, they disarmed the guard and went to perpetrate the crime.”
A resident, who identified himself simply as Tony, described those who usually vandalised vehicles as experts and decried the poor state of security in the area.
He said, “On February 20, 2020, around 2am, the sound of someone forcing the bonnet of a car open woke me up and when I peeped through the window, I saw a man wearing a fez cap and a black T-shirt directing two others to open the gate. These people burgled my car, took the headlamp, battery, navigation system, power button, side mirrors and the third row chair, and brought the bumper down and were going for the ECM, but were unsuccessful at it. The value of what they stole from my car was around N370,000.
“The hoodlums operated for about 30 minutes and came in a standby car. To scare them away, I tried to activate the alarm system of my Lexus SUV that they were vandalising, but they had deactivated it. I had to use the remote to activate the alarm of my other car, a Toyota Forerunner SUV, and the alarm sounded for a long time.
“The vandals had to leave the compound, entered their vehicle and drove off; they did not switch on the lights of the car until they had gone a bit far so that people would not be able to identify their car.
“They operated clinically, because they broke the gate, which gave them easy access. I was there when they were fixing my SUV and it is only an expert that can remove the parts that they stole. They came with a panel beater, electrician and the necessary equipment.
“The DPO came around after the vandalism and his coming was as a result of the reaction from the emergency unit that we called. I made an official entry at the police station and I have also provided pictures of the burgled vehicles to the police.”
The Chairman, Adedoyin Community Development Association, Kunle Koya, urged the police to provide adequate security to keep the community safe.
He said, “There are some black spots around the community where there have been frequent attacks late in the night and early in the morning, and we have informed the police about these areas and nothing has been done. Around Kosofe/Adedoyin streets and Iyana School bus stop, virtually every day hoodlums attack people going to work around 5.30am and people coming from work late in the night.
“People now avoid disembarking from vehicles at the Kosofe bus stop and instead get to the Mile 12 bus stop, where they mount motorcycles to their various homes in the community. We want these black spots to be put under surveillance so that the hoodlums can be arrested and prosecuted.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana said, “The report we received is that some hoodlums scaled the fences of buildings to vandalise vehicles and steal parts like ECMs and batteries.
“The Divisional Police Officer led a team to that particular area and observed that some vehicles were vandalised. We have commenced investigation into the case; we have also intensified patrol of the area and effort is ongoing to identify those hoodlums in order to apprehend them.”