THERE is a safety alert in Lagos State as Lagos state is especially witnessing a flurry of upgraded safety measures the place a lot of the victims had been kidnapped.
Past the neighbourhoods of rich residents of the state, there’s a normal sense of apprehension amongst residents after a safety firm, Eons Intelligence, launched one other advisory asking the residents to look out for the crimson flags of their each day interactions.
The advisory particularly requested residents to rely extra on know-how to find their methods spherical city somewhat than search assist from human beings who would possibly turn into kidnappers on the prowl.
The intelligence officers behind the public-spirited information additionally gave hints about each day motion. The advisory has gone viral, though the state police command is sounding reassuring.
As communities grapple with the unfolding safety actuality, Saturday Tribune additionally learnt that the Inspector Basic of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has directed the particular intelligence group hooked up to his workplace to start instant collaboration with the state command for the rescue of these nonetheless in captivity of the abductors.
The unit, often known as Inspector Basic of Police Intelligence Response Group, is headed by Mr Tunji Disu, an assistant commissioner of police, who changed celeb cop, Abba Kyari, who has been suspended following his indictment for cash laundering in america.
An officer on the group confirmed the event to Saturday Tribune, though he stated he was not authorised to discuss it publicly.
Lagos State will not be new to of kidnapping occasional circumstances incidents however happenings within the final one week have given many residents a trigger to fret.
The peak of the kidnapping incidents was the kidnapping of a retired Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Sikiru Smith, cousin to a former Inspector Basic of Police, Musiliu Smith, who at present heads the Police Service Fee.
Smith, the Chief Govt Officer (CEO) of Double Wealth Ventures Restricted, had on Monday gone to oversee dredging actions of the monetary establishment within the Ajah space of the state, when hooded gunmen invaded the realm and kidnapped him.
The driving force to the kidnapped army prime brass, Corporal Odiji, who revealed the incident in a Save-Our-Soul message, stated that the masked males arrived on the scene of the kidnapping in a velocity boat and fired sporadic gunshots to scare employees on the website earlier than going for his or her goal.
Odiji stated: “That is an emergency. I’m Corporal Odiji hooked up to Air Vice Marshal Smith. They only kidnapped him from the positioning the place we had been working. Some gunmen who had been sporting masks simply got here and snatched my boss.
The kidnapping of the retired AVM occurred lower than 24 hours after a person, Ogbuagu Kingsley, was kidnapped within the auditorium of a church within the FESTAC City space of the state.
The armed abductors had been stated to have arrived in a Lexus Sports activities Utility car, pressured their means into the church and kidnapped their goal.
Kingsley’s pals shortly launched a viral on-line seek for him with celebrities like in style ENDSARS campaigner, Rinu Oduala and others retweeting the report of his abduction. Days after, the state police command stated he had been rescued and reunited together with his household.
There have been no particulars of his rescue and no phrases on whether or not ransom was paid.
Additionally about the identical time Kingsley was picked up, a yet-tobe recognized man was additionally reportedly kidnapped, by one other gang of masked males alongside Admiralty Method within the Lekki space of the state.
Frightened by the spike in kidnapping charge within the state, Eons Intelligence launched some safety ideas for residents of the state in an try to protect towards kidnapping and different types of crime.
The corporate said that other than AVM Smith, Lekki and FESTAC abductions, there was one other incident the place a pastor, his wife and their driver had been kidnapped by some hooded gunmen within the Dopemu space of the state. It was gathered that the gunmen later deserted the driving force and took the pastor and his wife away, demanding N100 million.
They had been stated to have later launched the wife and decreased the ransom to N50 million. The launched wife was to go and coordinate the ransom fee.
The police later confirmed the kidnapping of the pastor, promising to safe his launch quickly. Nothing was talked about in regards to the demanded ransom.
Clearly nonetheless smarting from the lack of considered one of its officers to a latest mob assault, the state police command has gone all out to battle the uptick in kidnapping within the state, resulting in the killing of two suspected kidnappers throughout a raid in Ikorodu early Thursday.
The police stated it was a burst operation that resulted in trade of gunfire. Whereas one other member of the stated gang, Peter Thomas, 25, was arrested, the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, stated some suspects had been equally arrested in reference to Smith’s abduction. Their identities remained underneath wraps.
Odumosu stated: “The lengthy arm of the legislation has caught up with a infamous kidnap gang as operatives of the Lagos State police command smashed the gang in its prison hideout within the deep forest in Imota/Emuren space of Lagos State.
“The forest has been infamous for retaining their victims and assortment of ransom for which one Lukmon Onabanjo, alias Bugon, was a sufferer in latest previous. The profitable operation began at about 23:30 hrs on twenty ninth September, 2021 after days of intelligence monitoring on the gang.
“The latest kidnapping incident within the state additional invigorated the willpower of the command to not enable the criminals flip the state to a theater of kidnapping. On sighting the police operatives, the daredevil armed kidnappers engaged them in a shootout that lasted for some hours.
“In a decided and brave spirit, the operatives returned the heavy hearth. Within the ensuing gun battle, two of the suspected armed kidnappers had been fatally injured however later gave up the ghost, whereas being conveyed to the hospital for medical consideration.
“One was arrested alive. Different members of the gang escaped with bullet wounds. Manhunt and safety onslaught have been emplaced for his or her arrest.”
Dwelling in denial?
However the command received’t conform to the conclusion that kidnapping is on the rise within the state. Earlier, the spokesperson, Adekunle Ajisebutu, had stated: “The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, needs to guarantee residents that Lagos State is secure and that they need to not panic on account of the viral submit or the latest safety infringement in Ajah the place AVM Sikiru Smith (rtd) was kidnapped on twenty seventh September, 2021.
“The reassurance turns into crucial in view of the pointless alarm and issues being raised on the social media about remoted safety infractions in some elements of the state.
“The sufferer, who was kidnapped in FESTAC on Sunday, twenty sixth September, 2021, has been rescued and reunited together with his household. Operatives of the command are being tactical in order to not jeopardise the lives of the AVM and the pastor. Concerted efforts are ongoing to rescue them and arrest their abductors sooner or later.
“The Commissioner of Police needs to state that the remoted incidents however, Lagos State is, and can stay, one of many most secure states in Nigeria. To allay the concern of the folks, due to this fact, the command has re-strategised to offer watertight safety for all law-abiding residents of the State.”
He added: “The Commissioner of Police has given standing order to all subject commanders, tactical unit commanders and different uniformed and plain-clothed law enforcement officials to accentuate visibility policing, vehicular patrol in addition to intelligence-driven raid of all flashpoints/black spots and recognized prison hideouts to smoke out males of the underworld hibernating in them.
“The CP additionally needs to state that the police command is aware of its statutory duties of defending lives and property amongst different duties, and wouldn’t for any purpose or at any time abdicate these essential duties.
“Whereas nonetheless pleading with members of the general public to imagine in police’s skill to guard them always, the Commissioner of Police as soon as once more solicits the help of the general public, sister businesses and different strategic companions by giving immediate however actionable intelligence that might additional decimate prison parts and their nefarious actions within the state.”
A disaster foretold?
In September 2020, Saturday Tribune revealed an unique report on an armed youth from Northern a part of the nation noticed with branded safety uniform in Lekki with the inscription ‘Gallant Vigilante, Makoko Division’.
He was instantly declared an impostor by the authorities and safety businesses within the state however the man couldn’t be fished out regardless of the reported manhunt launched for him and his group. An eyewitness, a resident of Lekki, who posted the troubling picture on the social media, claimed that he traced the youth to an uncompleted constructing the place about 50 of his variety gathered.
Right here is excerpt from the story: “I took a motorbike from Tantalizer to Elf Property. Once we received to Oba Adenekan Property, there have been 5 Northern guys with the rider, making six of them. They spoke Hausa and my okada rider opened a plastic bag and introduced out a vest with an inscription ‘Galant Vigilante Makoko Zone’ and wore it. The rider dropped me off after which turned again.
“Nevertheless, I took one other bike and traced them again to an uncompleted constructing by Zenith Financial institution round Elf Property. The gateman and the primary bike rider had been conversing and that was after I took the image posted above (referring to an image of an okada rider in a safety man’s vest). It appeared he confirmed the gateman an ID and he was let in. There have been at the very least 50 folks in that constructing.
“Why would somebody put on a Makoko Vigilante shirt and be in Lekki? The primary rider had a tear fuel and a knife on him and one other okada rider had a pistol. Makoko is way from Lekki, and they’re all in Lekki holding a gathering. That signifies that they’re all through Lagos. Allow us to all watch out.”
The viral picture clearly caught the eye of the state police command which empowered the Battle In opposition to Indiscipline (WAI) within the state, led by Adetayo Kehinde and Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), to fish them out and apprehend the members wherever they’re discovered. Nothing was heard about them once more.
A resident of Ajah who recognized himself merely as Obafemi, whereas talking on the Admiralty Method abduction, stated: “We now have raised the alarm on the actions of criminals within the Lekki space of the state for a while however the police and different safety businesses haven’t listened.
“With what we’ve got witnessed in latest occasions, this (abduction) may be a tip of the iceberg. There are indicators that extra ugly prison incidents could also be recorded on this space. The police should enable their presence to be felt. There’s a sturdy must deploy extra males and gear, particularly to riverine areas.
“The state authorities ought to see this as a wake-up name. They need to go after the abductors to provide a powerful warning to others, who could also be anticipating related issues within the state. If these ones are allowed to go scot-free, which will embolden different criminals, who (used to) see the state as a no-go-area.”
Eons Intelligence, the non-public safety outfit, which posts common updates on the safety state of affairs within the state, has come out with contemporary warning and crimson flags. Within the newest advisory launched on the social media, it stated: “Kidnappers are on the prowl as Lagos witnessed three kidnapping incidents on 27 September, 2021: An Air Vice Marshall, Sikiru Oladimeji Smith (rtd), was kidnapped at a worksite close to Blenco Mall in Ajah circa 6pm and brought away in a speedboat in the direction of Ikorodu.
“One other sufferer was kidnapped at Admiralty means Lekki on his means from work and whisked away to an unknown vacation spot, whereas a outstanding RCCG pastor and his wife had been kidnapped whereas coming back from a perform at Dopemu-Agege, and whisked away of their automobile.
“The gunmen later launched the wife to supply for a N50 million ransom (introduced down from the preliminary N100 million demanded).
“The above are sequel to the kidnapping of Mr Kingsley Ogbuagu on the Roman Catholic Church of Visitation, FESTAC City, on the day prior to this (Sunday).
“Situational and private consciousness and excessive degree of alertness could be very strongly suggested. When driving in Lagos site visitors, maintain your home windows up and doorways locked. Don’t choose or cease to speak to strangers. If you happen to should ask for instructions, enter a safe public place to ask, e.g., gasoline station or shopping center. Alternatively, use Google Maps to get instructions.”
A safety knowledgeable, Dipo Kehinde, instructed Saturday Tribune that the spike in kidnapping was anticipated for a lot of causes.
Kehinde stated: “Coming into into the ember months, underneath a harsh financial local weather and rising lawlessness, one ought to anticipate a spike within the crime charge, particularly kidnapping, which is the in-thing in Lagos, Nigeria’s main city centre, business nerve-centre and financial honey pot.
“It’s the largest metropolis in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 23 million folks. Town is a magnetic subject attracting an enormous multitude of jobless folks from each a part of the nation with out essential management or documentation. “The current improvement shouldn’t be coming as a shock to me. However I believe the police ought to take extra proactive steps to stem the tide of the rising crime or, higher nonetheless, nip it within the bud with intelligence-led policing methods. “Already, the Lagos State police command has launched the freeway patrol models. It’s coming a bit late however it’s higher late than by no means.” He, nevertheless, urged residents of the state to be extra aware of their security and never anticipate the police and different legislation enforcement businesses to do it alone.