Vanguard Newspaper 03 February 2018
44—Vanguard, SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2018 By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor & Esther Onyegbula It was like the celebrated “day of the Jackal” as narrated by Frederick Forsyth in his thriller titled: Day of the Jackal. The epicenter was the notorious Akala, a suburb of Lagos. The notoriety of Akala in drugrelated crime has never been in doubt. Akala holds an enviable record of thriving in both drug-related and other criminal activities in Lagos State. Stories of criminal escapades in the area are better imagined. It is such that security operatives aptly branded it “headquarters of crime” in Lagos. Penultimate day, the Police in Lagos decided to take the bull by the horns. The state Police boss, Imohimi Edgal personally led a formidable team of his men to restore discipline in the area. This was after an earlier operation by the Police in the area ended up in a bloody encounter. A team of policemen led by the Area Commander, Mushin, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Akinbayo Olasoji accosted some drug peddlers ferrying large quantities of assorted drugs in a bullion van. The audacious criminals stoutly resisted the Police team by firing at Police Operatives. The clash subsequently created tension in Idi-Oro and Akala areas as business activities were grounded. Some residents, especially youths reportedly attacked the police team with stones and broken bottles. Later, the Police returned with heavy reinforcement and engaged the hoodlums in a shootout after which a Police Sergeant and three others Day of rage as Police storm drug den, criminal enclaves in Akala were killed. The Police Sergeant identified as Abam Mohammed was hit by a bullet during the encounter. He was rushed to the Mainland General Hospital, Yaba, where he later died. The raid of criminal hideouts in these areas became pertinent because of the manner criminals living among the people attack residents and law enforcement agents. CP‘s big hammer Based on these, the visibly rattled Edgal ordered a raid of identified criminal enclaves in Akala. During the raid, the criminal elements resisted the Police by hurling stones and different types of missiles at them. They broke windscreens of cars parked along the road while they were fleeing from the scene. This did not, however, deter the police from arresting 255 suspects comprising of 246 males and 9 females. The Police also confiscated 39 big bags of Indian hemp and recovered two pump-action rifles and ammunition in the process. Decade of violence and criminality For over a decade Akala has become a notorious coven for all sorts of criminal activities, ranging from cult killings, armed robbery, rape, illegal possession and sales of arms and illegal drug trade. At the centre of these criminal activities is the sale of hard drugs which has continued to induce crime and aggravate insecurity in Akala and its environs. Their activities have become a nightmare to not only security operatives but also residents who are constantly at the receiving end of the crises. In a bid to sanitize the vicinity, security operatives, especially the Police, employed strict measures at various times. As far back as September 2012, three notorious armed robbers were arrested for armed robbery by the operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad FSARS, at Adenji Adele. The suspects, Musiliu Shitta aka MC 28, Lateef Balogun aka Ika, 32, and Bolaji Salawu aka Basia were arraigned at Igbosere Magistrate Court on a nine-count charge. On May 30, 2013, a combined team of officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, and the Nigerian Army raided the area. The operation, which lasted many hours, led to the arrest of 47 suspected drug traffickers and addicts and seizure of 3,166.15kg of narcotics such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. A week before then, 187.355kg of cannabis was also sized from an illegal warehouse located in the vicinity. One of the successes of the clampdown by the Police in Akala was the arrest of a 37- year-old notorious armed robber, Lanre Olowojobi, aka Pumpy in May 2017. Olowojobi who was arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Taskforce revealed that apart from carrying out robbery operations, he had raped over 30 women in 3 years. Also on October 7, 2017, Police in Lagos and operatives of the task force during the enforcement operations around Akala on the directive of Edgal arrested 50 suspected notorious criminals with 48 bags of illicit drugs. Ironically, women have become key players in criminal activities especially, illegal drug trade. In one of the mid-night joint enforcement operations led by Mr. Olasoji Akinbayo, an Assistant Commissioner of Police with the Chairman of the Lagos State Task Force, SP Olayinka Egbeyemi and all Divisional Police Officers under Area ‘D’ command, Mushin, six women including one Mrs. Basirat Jimoh’ a.k.a ‘Iya Suzzy’ were arrested and charged before Magistrate Lateef Owolabi of the Lagos State Mobile Court on 3- count charge of unlawful possession of weed suspected to be Indian Hemp. A resident, who identified himself as Yusuf Fatai disclosed that the area had become dangerous at night. “There is no time in a week that we will not hear of robbery incidents here. This area becomes a business spot from 7 pm for these boys who rob people, ‘’ he said. Another resident, Mr. Baki Saheed lamented thus: “For many years, Akala has been a criminal stronghold where gangs hold sway. They used the proceeds to acquire arms and ammunition.’’ Nigerians speak: Dapchi School Girls kidnap – Who is to blame? •Modibbo The security system is to blame - Aliyu Modibbo, Entrepreneur In my opinion government and their the security agencies should be blamed. There are lapses in those villages that are close to the bush where the terrorists are located hence the abduction. There is need for the government to deploy more troops to these villages. Terrorist acts have been curtailed in local government areas that are not close to the bush, so the government should do something about the villages that are near the bush. •Ali It’s the government’s fault - Ali Moyemi Yaqeen, Accountant The government should be blamed for the kidnap of the Dapchi school girls, because if they had improved on national security especially in the north eastern part of Nigeria, such would not have happened. Reclaiming the places occupied by Boko Haram is not enough, but total security to protect lives and properties. I believe the government should do more on national security by arming our security agencies and recruiting more people into the armed forces, because the ratio of security personnel to every citizen is below par. •Leonard The government failed to protect its citizens - Leonard Chukwuma, Businessman I wouldn’t blame the school because they are under the protective hands of the government through the security system. So also would I not blame the security system because security system is fashioned in a way that you just have to obey the last command even if that last command is wrong. And if you fail to obey, your commander could still carry out the act and blame the damage on your stubbornness. Then you would see people that you’re defending turning the blame to you again. So I blame the government for not protecting the lives of its citizens, even girls and little children. •Jeff The government takes the larger blame - Jeff Unaegbu, Writer/ Cinematographer I think the larger blame lies on the government. We were informed that just after the government withdrew troops, the Boko Haram struck. This means there is complicity somewhere that needs to be removed. The security system also has poor ingenuity in Nigeria. Let me give us an idea: The army could lay an ambush for Boko Haram. Just a few trusted soldiers could put a land mine on the path of the approaching Boko Haram vehicles and there will be horror.... •Tolulope I blame the government and the security system - Tolulope Adedamola, Quantity Surveyor I would blame the security system and the government, because from stories we heard, when the attack was ongoing the school authority contacted the security outfits to come to its rescue. But it took them time to respond and only showed up when the attack was over. My question is “why did they bother to show up after the operation has been successfully carried out?”. The government, particularly the Yobe state government, I’m very sure collected security votes and security which is the paramount thing that is meant to be provided by any good and right thinking government was not provided. This is a big failure on the path of the state government. •Temilolu The government should be blamed - Temiloluwa Osire, Agriculturist I believe the government should be blamed and not the school authority or the security, because the government provides facilities and welfare to the school as it’s a government owned school. In my opinion, they are the reason for the loose security in the school due to the fact that funds for the school development may have been diverted for other purposes that we don’t know about. The abduction on the other hand could even be another political brouhaha as election is fast approaching.
Can’t we give Austin Ejide a chance? lement Nwankpa Jnr writes advocating Cthat one thing that threatens to for an undo Nigeria’s efforts and prospects automatic at the World Cup is goalkeeping, but shirt for experienced campaigner Austin him, but Ejide could well be the answer to this doesn’t problem. h e Let’s face it, goalkeeping errors are deserve a punished more at that level. Less look-in? rated teams like ours will always fall Why should we bother about back on the heroics of a standout Ejide? ‘keeper. He is experienced It won’t be unusual to find Ejide has been a squad member ourselves on the back foot more in Nigeria’s last three World Cup often. So the keeper must be up to appearances in 2002, 2010 and the task. Nervousness on his part will 2014. He was second choice to be ‘criminal’ and could elicit ‘capital Enyeama in the last two. He has also punishment’. been Enyeama’s biggest rival all Now, it’s obvious Vincent these years. Enyeama won’t be available. At some point, under Berti Vogts Daniel Akpeyi has not lived up to at AFCON 2006, he was even the expectations just as Ikechukwu preferred first-choice of the Ezenwa hasn’t particularly German, who likes physically banished our worries. imposing keepers. Can we actually rely on rookie So, if Enyeama isn’t available and Frncis Uzoho? If Dele Ajiboye could we crave for big tournament cave in at Morocco’s superior experience, Ejide ticks the boxes. If firepower, how would he fare against there is a need to shoot up the team’s the likes of Argentina? experience quotient at the Mundial, What do we really need in a World his presence could count. Cup ‘keeper? Are we really He is big overrating this tournament? I learnt Gernot Rohr has sent his Shouldn’t Ezenwa’s performance at ‘keepers trainer to work with Uzoho CHAN, for instance, inspire at Deportivo. Like Vogts, Rohr is a confidence? Is Uzoho’s exploits in German and given this inclination the Segunda Liga for Deportivo B towards Uzoho, he seems to be not solid enough? better disposed to big keepers. Can’t Ajiboye’s saves against At 6 ft. 2 inches, Ejide fits the bill. Sudan when he stepped in for injured Now, who wouldn’t want a guy with Ezenwa suffice? Didn’t we give up so a huge frame between the sticks even soon on Akpeyi? Can the Almighty if as a façade? Most of our best wield His healing hands and make keepers had been 6 ft and above for CARL IKEME miraculously instance, Emmanuel Okala, Peter available? Rufai and Ike Shorunmu. So many questions begging for He is hungry answers. Amidst this quagmire, can Ejide has lived in Enyeama’s I throw up a possible solution? shadows for the larger part of his AUSTIN EJIDE! Incidentally, international career. Despite being nobody is talking about him. But a squad member in the last three can’t we check him out? I am not World Cup finals, he is World yet to taste Cup action. The hunger could be Eshiet yearns for F/ Eagles action By Jacob Ajom E ighteenyear old Nigerian talent, Michael Eshiet born in the United States of America is willing to lace his boots for Nigeria, the country of his roots. A member of the Brooke House Football Academy, M a r k e t Harborough Leicestershire in the UK, Eshiet is desirous to attract the attention of national coaches in either the U-20 category or the Olympic Eagles. Eshiet, a six footer who is physically strong and has great presence in the teams he plays for, the 18-year old scores at will and has the •Eshiet ability to create goals for others. “I have pace and the strength which I use to great effect.” One of his strongest areas of strength is his physicality and ability to shoot with both feet. “I shoot with both legs,” affirmed Eshiet, who has turned down numerous overtures from USA to play for them, adding, “I am also good at set pieces.” His Nigerian manager, Mohammed Edewo described the lad as “a consistent performer and a utility player who is good in the attack and also defensively.” The lad who spoke with our reporter on phone said he would wait for his time. “I want to be given the opportunity to prove myself by national team coaches. I believe I will seize the chance when it comes my way.” likened to what drove Shorunmu prior to 2002 World Cup having p l a y e d backup roles to Peter Rufai, Alloy Agu and Wilfred Agbonavbare over the years. Even when he was primed to be first •Austine Ejide choice at France 98, injury struck. So, he was always desirous of being in goal at the World Cup and got his wish in 2002. This quest to be in action at the World Cup could be the fillip behind Ejide still playing active football. Perhaps, just waiting for Rohr’s call. Austin Ejide is playing regularly for his Israeli club He is active This is most important. If you are experienced, hungry and physically endowed without being in action every week, you won’t be useful here. Since joining sixth-placed Hapoel Hadera in the Israeli second division last summer, Ejide has kept in 15 of the club’s 24 matches this season with seven clean sheets. He was in goal last Sunday in the 1-1 draw with Rishon Lezion. He is the club’s firstchoice and barring injuries should be on duty again this weekend. Did I hear somebody echo Rufai and 1998? No ..No…No…It doesn’t apply here. This is an entirely different scenario. We wouldn’t be hijacking Ejide from his summer vacation as we did Peter Rufai on the eve of France 98, even as we couldn’t vouch for his (Rufai’s) fitness. We have in our hands a ‘keeper who is in action week in, week out. His form is verifiable and there is ample time and test matches to be convinced he is fit enough for the task. Prior to France 98, first-choice Shorunmu got injured weeks before the World Cup. It was an emergency hence the Rufai gamble. We have been aware of this goalkeeping crisis long before now. There is enough time to make the right choice. Let’s try him in a test game Before we get it twisted, I am not advocating for an automatic place for Ejide. Having monitored his progress at Hadera, I have a feeling he could do the job in Russia. But he has to prove it. We can invite him for one of the pre-World Cup matches. Let him convince the coaches that he has the requisite fitness to back up his much vaunted experience. Who knows? He could just be the SOLUTION. SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018—45 By Jacob Ajom Comrade Joseph Evah i s a popular figure as a Niger Delta activist. Beyond fronting for the Peoples of the Niger Delta, the combative activist has found a new love in sports. Evah is President of the Nigeria Roller Skating Federation. Last December, Evah singlehandedly sent a team of 21 skaters to represent Nigeria at the African championship i n Togo. “I transported, fed and clothed them and the officials to Togo and back.” Being their first outing on the continent, the Nigerian contingent returned with one silver and 5 bronze medals. On their return, the federation President redeemed a promise he made before they departed. For every gold medallist, Evah promised N200,000, N150,000 for silver and N100,000 for bronze. This he redeemed in a lavish reception organised for the athletes early last month at the National stadium, Lagos. At the reception for the athletes and their officials in Lagos, Evah doled out over N900,000 cash to the victorious team, with Samuel Iganga smiling home with N150,000 for his silver winning effort. Kelvin Chidindu, who got two bronze medals, went home with N200,000, while Abu Sadiq, Tunde Ishola and Wale Ibrahim smiled home with N100,000 each. All other athletes, who took part in the championship but couldn’t win a medal were given N30,000 each. Evah said, “the major problem we have is finance, because nobody is coming to assist us. But there is hope. We don’t want to relent. “This year we want to organise our league and we want to make sure the federation is in every state. We have just inaugurated state chapters and more will be inaugurated in the next batch. It is after the league that we are going to choose our national team, those that will represent Nigeria in this year’s African championship in Egypt. “We are also looking at the world championship before the 2020 Olympics. If we don’t do grassroots mobilisation through the state chapters, it will be very difficult for us to catch them young.” He also spoke on the federation’s effort to popularise the sport across the country. “We inaugurated more than 20 chapters in our last EXCO meeting. Some of the state chapters we inaugurated include Kaduna, Rivers, Cross River, Nasarawa, Plateau, Abuja, Delta, Edo, Oyo, Ondo, and more. Some chapters that could not be inaugurated because of communication breakdown will be inaugurated soon. Äll of them have filled their forms because we had to reduce the affiliation fees from N10,000 to N2,000 at my instance. I promised to pay the balance. He foresees a bright future for the sport in Nigeria. “Very soon Roller Skating will become a house-hold name in Nigeria,” he said. “Before now it was boxing, then football and basketball. Very soon skating will take over everywhere.” Comrade Evahn 01/03 Caption: L-R: President Nigeria Roller Sports and Skating Federation, Comrade Joseph Evah, President General Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo and silver medalist, 2017 African Skating Championship, Samuel Iganga at the reception in Lagos. Ambode commissions Coca-Cola sports centre in Gbagada In a display of the value of public private partnership, Lagos State Government and Coca-Cola Nigeria have jointly presided over a ceremony to handover a fully upgraded sports facility to the Araromi community in the Gbagada area of Lagos State. The Chief Guest at the occasion was the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode. The scope of work realized under this completed project covers; 1000 seating capacity pavilion, equipped with bore hole, water sanitation and hygiene facilities for the public and physically challenged, changing rooms for players and referees, 2 units of VIP lounge and Administrative office. The facility also boasts of an 11 aside football pitch (75x45) equipped with flood lights including 2 sets of dugout for reserved players with 10 man seating capacity each; Refurbished 150 person seating capacity multi-purpose hall, a generator house and perimeter fence and a parking lot to accommodate 20 cars, gate house and a kiosk. The Araromi Community Sports Centre, Gbagada is among the several sports facilities in Lagos that have recently been upgraded by Coca-Cola. Other facilities reconstructed in the past by Coca-Cola include the Amoo Training Pitch Agege, Orile Ignamu Sports Centre, Oworon-shoki playing field, the Jakande Estate sports terrain, to name but a few. At the unveiling of the facility, Managing Director, Coca- Cola Nigeria, Bhupendra Suri Roller sports ‘ll take over Nigeria soon – Comrade Evah disclosed that the renovation of the pitch is part of Coca- Cola’s vision of promoting sustainable communities through social enterprise. COMMISSIONING: L-R: Ex-Super Eagles star, Victor Ikpeba; M.D, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Bhupendra Suri; Olympian, Emmanuel Babayaro; Manager, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe; and Ex-Eagles captain, Peter Rufai at the commissioning of the Araromi Community Sports Centre, Gbagada, Lagos refurbished by Coca-Cola Nigeria on Tuesday, 27th February, 2018. Photo Akeem Salau C M Y K