17 June 2016, Lagos – Residents of Voera Estate in the Arepo area of Ogun State have started fleeing their homes after some suspected vandals killed an Assistant Superintendent of Police in the community.
Our correspondent learnt on Thursday that some of the residents started relocating after the vandals, who were armed with guns, attacked some houses, including the ASP’s.
PUNCH Metro gathered that during the two-hour attack, the police officer, who was attached to the Ikorodu Police Division and identified only as Odusanya, was shot dead.
After the killing, two residents were reportedly kidnapped by the gunmen and their families forced to pay ransoms.
When our correspondent visited Association Road in Voera Estate where the ASP was killed, a security officer in the estate showedPUNCH Metro five luxury houses which had been deserted due to the attacks.
Holes created by bullets were also observed in the fence of one of the abandoned buildings.
Our correspondent learnt that a former occupant of one of the buildings was attacked two times by the vandals, during which he used his phone to transfer N200,000 from his bank account.
An executive of the residents’ association of the estate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ASP was returning from a church service with his family members when the vandals shot him in the head.
He said, “About six houses along Association Road have been abandoned. These are luxury houses. The best the owners do is to come in the afternoon, pick their belongings from the houses and return to their new abodes.
“The ASP was a Catholic. He was returning from church after an evening Mass on May 31. As he drove to his house, the vandals were already at the gate. They surrounded the car and dragged him out. They found Odusanya’s police uniform while searching his car for money. That was why they shot him in the head.
“The vandals would have attacked more residents, but the estate security men exchanged fire with them; so, they fled.”
A security guard, who gave his name only as Femi, asked for a police post in Arepo.
He said, “After the police officer’s death, another resident was attacked and cut with a machete in the head. The vandals asked him for money, which he quickly gave them. They kidnapped another man on Michael Ekpo Street and collected N4.2m from his family.
“Before these attacks, we wrote to the police authorities, demanding a police post. The estate even created a space for it, but the police said they did not have enough men.
“As a security measure, we buy 30 litres of fuel every evening to keep the streetlights working because there is no power supply.”
In a letter written by the Voera Estate Residents’ Association, dated June 14, and obtained by PUNCH Metro, the executive begged the government to come to their aid.
The letter read in part, “Our estate is one of those communities in Arepo town where there is a menace of Ijaw youths orchestrating vandalism. They have constituted themselves into a serious security threat to our estate, extending their activities to robbery, kidnapping and killing. They have a route along the creeks leading to the estate. They invade our estate with impunity. They operate in large numbers, carrying sophisticated weapons.
“Just two weeks ago, they invaded the estate from the creeks in a commando style and took over our community. Residents are now abandoning their homes and fleeing to Lagos. We need serious help and we call the attention of the government to this.”
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Muyiwa Adejobi, said policemen had been monitoring the Arepo community to checkmate the vandals.
He added that the Warewa Police Post had been upgraded to a division to boost policing in the area.
He said, “The Arepo crisis is not new. If you have been following developments in the area, you will agree that the police have been battling the vandals.
“Recently, we arrested four principal suspects and our men are still there. We have not given them a free hand to operate in the area. We are mindful that these vandals stay on the high seas. So, the command is working with other security agencies, particularly the military.
“Warewa is now a police division. It was upgraded to a division three weeks ago and this will strengthen the policing of the area.”