By: Genevieve Egbunno/ www.africanakua.com, Nigeria
Residents of Lagos have experienced series of robbery raids from the notorious “One Million Boys” – crime syndicates.
These attacks have been going on in Lagos for a long time but got intensified after the President of Nigeria, Mahamadu Buhari, extended the lockdown for another 14 days with no relief.
The gangs are earning notoriety in Lagos by intimidating and torturing their victims. They have become famous for issuing notices to residents for their next break-in thereby accumulating power from the way they arrive organized in large numbers and the swiftness with which they carry out the burgling.
ONE MILLION BOYS is the code-name of these thugs. They are branded as ONE MILLION BOYS because they move in groups of 20 to 55 men at a time thereby making arrests very difficult for the police and local residents. They are usually between the ages of 15 and 35 years.
Originally formed in Ajegunle by a group of about 20 boys with the objective of fighting perceived injustice in the city, some members of the group however hijacked the group into being involved in robbery activities, rape and maiming. The Lagos State Police Command says about 130 of them were arrested in 2012 during a raid in Apapa and Ajegunle.
Tagging themselves as “The big boys”, “The Undefeated” or “The Unstoppable”, they are becoming high profile during the Covid-19 lockdown as they spread their activities including Illegal drugs, extortion, arson, robbery, theft, rape etcetera across Lagos.
Members of the gangs defy the lockdown orders and confidently go about in their hundreds wielding dangerous weapons such as machetes, guns, stilettoes, clubs and bottles.
The robberies usually take place in homes and on streets at gun points leaving many people injured and shops looted.
Areas like Ogba, Agege, Ayobo, Egbeda, Idimu, Ijegun, Igando and Ikotun are left with no option than to keep vigil following their recent invasion on Monday, April 14. Young men came out of their homes with defensive weapons to organise bonfires at junctions and on the streets to scare them away.
It can be recalled that the lockdown announced by the Federal government from March 30, 2020 for Lagos, FCT and Ogun states to curtail the spread of Coronavirus has left many residents hungry. Local residents express worry that the lockdown situation could be a possible trigger for the re-energized operation of the ONE MILLON BOYS.
Speaking to this reporter, a married couple who are residents of Ogba but wishes to remain anonymous, pray that measures are put in place to send relief to the masses and security beefed up to tackle the unrest.