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Tears as Lagos demolishes 600 shops, stalls

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Traders at the popular Berger Retail Market at Ojodu-Berger in Ojodu Local Council Area of Lagos State wept profusely yesterday as bulldozers demolished their shops.

Officials of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences Unit arrived the market on Kosoko Street in the early hours of yesterday and demolished about 600 lockup shops and stalls.

They allegedly gave some of the traders they met in the market one hour to pack their wares.

The market, which located near the ever busy Berger bus stop, housed supermarkets, traders dealing in foodstuffs, textiles and building equipment as well as bureau de change operators.

Some of the traders were trying to salvage what remained of their goods. Some of them claimed they lost goods worth millions of naira to the demolition.

One of them, Mrs. Kate Okereke, said she lost her two shops to the demolition.

She said: “I was at home when another trader called me on the phone that something was happening in our market. I managed to reach there and I saved some of my commodities while others were lost with my two shops. Nobody gave us notice on this demolition.

If I knew there was notice of demolition, how could I have rented another shop in the market recently? “Lagos State government should please consider the plight of poor people.

Over 600 shops have gone just like that.” Another trader, who identified herself simply as Iya Bolu, said street urchins vandalised shops and looted goods.

She said: “They gave us only one hour to pack out our goods. Everybody was trying to pack her goods.

That gave opportunity for the area boys to vandalise and loot traders’ goods. Some of them even were snatching bags; that was how bad it was.”

Another trader, who craved anonymity, regretted why government would destroyed their means of livelihood, “because it wants to build Shoprite here”.

She added: “They said government wants to build Shoprite complex here.

Because of that, thousands of families will go hungry.”

However, some soldiers and members of the task force were keeping surveillance in the market, while the entrance was locked and cordoned off from the public.

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Metro and Crime

Kingdom Wealth Multipurpose Society debuts

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Kingdom Wealth Multipurpose Society (KWMS) will be inaugurated tomorrow in Akure, the Ondo State capital. KWMS is a poverty alleviation and empowerment programme aimed at lifting the people. The occasion will also witness the inauguration of the South-West coordinators of the programme during which Chief Adewale Omojuwa, the Adetolugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, will be decorated as the grand patron and Dr. Alatishe Mike as the regional director.

The event, which begins at 9a.m., is expected to draw to Akure, government officials and many dignitaries from both the public and the private sectors of the economy. The organisers said KWMS was established to provide succour for Nigerians and a channel for the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.

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Metro and Crime

Customs engages officers on professional handling of arms

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Seme Command of the Nigerian Customs Service has engaged its officers on more professional approach in the handling and usage of arms through a combat training. Speaking during the retraining exercise conducted by the Nigerian Army, 243 Recce Battalion, Badagry, Lagos for the officers, the Area Comptroller, Mohammed Aliyu, said the event was to equip his officers with all the necessary knowledge and skills in handling and usage of arms.

The comptroller said the exercise would help the customs’ officers to deal with challenges that they might face in the course of discharging their duties. Aliyu said that the command had indicated his readiness to reward excellent performance among officers as motivational incentives to ensure strict compliance to our extant laws and the service operational golden rules while discharging their responsibilities.

He warned officers and men of the command not to compromise the standard set by the service but should be committed to the implementation of government fiscal policies especially now that their services are most needed. Aliyu said that the service was ready to explore all avenues in order to ensure that the target for the year was not only met but exceeded. The comptroller re-stated that the anti-smuggling drive of the command was well fortified against smugglers.

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Metro and Crime

Two arrested for murder of guard

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Detectives attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos, have arrested two suspects in connection with the murder of a security man during a robbery operation at MP Manufacturers, Lekki. The suspects, it was learnt, scaled the fence of the company located on Plot 25, Bisola Durotimi Drive, Lekki, Phase 2, recently.

It was also learnt that the suspects made straight for the guard’s stand immediately they gained access into the company, demanding laptops which were newly delivered to the company. One of the guards, Abubakar Isiaka, who struggled with the robbers, was stabbed in the ribs and waist. His shout for help attracted his colleagues who rushed to the scene, to find the dying guard in a pool of blood while the robbers had escaped.

Isiaka died at the hospital, following the injury sustained in the attack. Police sources said when the information of the robbery got to the state Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, he directed the Special Investigation Bureau (SIB) to investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to book. Consequently, the duo of Daniel John (25) and Collins Archibong (25), both from Cross Rivers State, were arrested via the network service provider of the phone stolen from the deceased. During interrogation, the suspects admitted to the crime. One of the suspects, John, said the victim was killed unintentionally.

He said: “We went there just to steal. But by the time we got there, we met the guard sleeping. But he woke up and engaged us and at the same time held me and Archibong. He was very strong. We stabbed him because he almost overpowered us. We went away with his phone and sold it for N90,000.

I got N30,000, Collins got N20,00 while the third person, Bassey, got N40,000. “We had forgotten about the operation and were going about our normal work as security guards at Lekki Residential Security when we were arrested.” Edgal said the suspects would be arraigned soon. The commissioner also warned criminals to either stop and turn a new leaf or leave the state for good.

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