There is still palpable tension in Isawo area of Ikorodu, Lagos State, following the recent attack on the community by militants. Since the incident, residents of the aquatic environs have been fleeing in droves, according to findings.
But, a visit to the vicinities during the week by Saturday Telegraph team, revealed that some landlords and land owners had gone beyond fleeing the troubled communities to selling their houses, lands and other properties in panic.
Tenants of most of the houses had hurriedly abandoned their apartments a few hours after the attack to avoid being killed. The panic sale was confirmed by a resident of Yewa who identified himself simply as Abdulahi. He said: “I cannot blame the landlords.
Nobody is willing to take up a house for rent in the area anymore. “Even those that bought plots of land are now very reluctant to develop them. People are afraid because of the incessant attacks that have become the signature of the neighbourhood.
We are in trouble here.” One of the landlords who spoke to Saturday Telegraph on condition of anonymity also said that landlords who are yet to sell their houses had sent their family members away to farflung areas for safety.
“Those are the ones who sneak in here in the day time to look for buyers of their houses. At night they go somewhere else to rest their heads. “Everybody is trying to be cautious of these militants.
They can strike at any time in spite of the military presence here. “Some landlords told me to help resell their lands. They now call on the phone because they don’t even want to attempt to come here. Some had planned to start construction on their sites before now.
“One of them, an Igbo man, called me two days ago to inform me that he was no longer interested in the building plan. He is willing to sell his land below the market value,” the man revealed.
In Okeoko Isawo, a plot of land close to the major road that sold for between N2.5million and N3million before these crises, according to Saturday Telegraph’s findings, now sells for a paltry N1million and 1.5million.
While in Yewa inside, it goes for N3.5million from N5million it sold previously. However, some people are willing to sell off their lands for just N500, 000, according to one property agent, who does not want his name in print.
The agent explained that a woman who bought a land in the area for N1.5million about a year ago had now put it up for sale for just N600, 000. “If you have N500, 000 or less you can buy a very good land here.
There may not be need for any commission,” he added. He directed Saturday Telegraph to a street where an agent announced on a signpost that a house was available for sale in the community.
When one of our correspondents called the agent over the phone, he said he was out of town but gave a description of the location of the twostorey building previously occupied by the owner until he fled the area a few days ago.
“The man who owns the house decided to sell it at a giveaway price because he no longer feels safe here. With N2.7million cash, the building is yours,” he added. Just like the landlords, businessmen and women are also complaining.
In one of the hotels visited, a lady who introduced herself simply as Oluwakemi, said that businesses in the area had been in their lowest ebb since the attacks started last year. She said: “We use to sell up to N50, 000, a day, especially on weekends.
But now, if we sell N3,000 in two days, everyone will be jubilating. Nobody is coming here to drink or to lodge anymore for fear of being attacked by the militants. “They live with us and it is difficult to identify them.
Sometimes they patrol for mere surveillance and to gather information. “So, people are really afraid and you can’t blame anyone for that. You need to be here for some time to understand the tension.
Government should do something quick to arrest the ugly situation.” Also, a building material dealer, Mr. Chukwudi, said nobody is asking for anything any longer. “People are no longer building houses in this community.
You know the reason already. We are just living by His grace here, he said. When our team visited the palace of the Baale of Isawo, a middle aged woman who was the only one cited at the large compound, explained that the Baale had travelled.
Saturday Telegraph later learnt however, that the Baale had abandoned his people when the militants came calling. Unconfirmed source said the Baale is presently residing in his other house in Ketu.
The source said, “People don’t feel safe because of the insecurity caused by the militants. This is a serious issue;the policemen deployed here do not patrol the inner areas of the community.
They are only interested in collecting “tolls” from both Keke Marwa and Okada riders. “Many people have been raped and killed in the interior parts of our communities without anybody knowing. This is why people are selling their properties.
The police presence here is not effective.” Recalled that some daredevil gunmen stormed the Ishawo area of Ikorodu, last Sunday and unleashed mayhem, killing five policemen and two soldiers.
In a deadly ambush, the militants, who had taken the security forces by surprise, struck at Woodland Estate, near the Ishawo creeks and engaged the security personnel in a gun duel.
The resurgence of gunmen invasion into Ishawo community has become worrisome for residents, who often bear the brunt of the ruthless attacks and killings. According to some of them, the militants raided their homes, armed with dangerous weapons and carted away whatever valuable they could lay their hands on.
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