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A community in fear

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A community in fear

 

Three words – anguish, fear and helplessness best described the atmosphere in Itejeri in Ibasa/Otto Awori Local Government Area of Lagos State on Sunday following the sudden death of Chinedu Mmaduka, a young boy.

 

It was rumoured that cultists murdered Mmaduka. About four weeks ago, armed men suspected to be cultists invaded the community, killed a resident and chopped off his head. Due to the gruesome nature of the killing , the whole surrounding streets deserted the community. Suspicion set into the community and palpable tension takes reign of the environment. The people started treating one another with suspicions; they cautioned their children against their neighbours’ children. The communal and cordial relationship that existed among the youth and children of the community became estranged, thereby leading to unhappiness among them.

 

By 6.30pm daily, some of the streets within the community are already deserted. In facts, some residents fled the community while those who remained locked themselves up in their homes.

 

The residents of Oladikpo street are not waiting to look behind them as they have started the run for their lives. Some parents carry their children through bush paths to a safer place.

 

In Samson street, a young boy Benedict Koku, narrated what happened that fateful night. He said he was with the deceased Chinedu Mmaduka that night when unknown boys attacked them and asked them to be on their knees.

 

He added that he was asked to close his eyes as they chopped off the head of his friend and ran away with the head on a bike.

 

It was at about two days later, according to one Mr victor, that some policeman from Ijanikin police station arrived Itejeri claiming they were responding to distress calls, they arrested some youths.

 

He said that before police men visited the community, security agencies after the incident carried any youths they see walking late at night, claiming that they are suspects. They lay the suspect down until policemen come around and they will hand them over to the police. “We can’t run away from our homes, we don’t have anywhere to go to,” a female resident of itejeri street said.

 

Another resident of the area Mr’s Bimpe Okunade said that policemen taking youths away in the name of suspects without investigation is very wrong. They come here on daily basis to carry any boy that look like a suspect to them, to the extent that young boys became so careful of the way they dress before they end up in cell like the others. “The disturbance from the police weeks ago was too much that I myself even had to be careful when going to the market, I had to lock my children inside the house to avoid story that touch.

 

Also speaking, a male resident of itejeri street Tobi Akinwole said that at first it was so terrible, I know the deceased, chinedu was a very good friend, a day with my nigga was never so boring. That evening before he died I called his number he picked and was sounding so dismay, I asked in our normal slangs” Guy how far? Why you dey sound like woman?” His replies were ” I dey, I just need clear one or two.” God! If only he knew, he was not going to see another day, perhaps he would have guarded against it. May his soul rest in peace he said.

 

Mr Francis, also a resident added that the boy is very cheerful and young looking, had it being he never joined bad boys he would still be alive. He advised youths to stay off cultism, as it brings nothing but destruction. He added that police officers moving boys from the community to the cell were not the right way, those boys they carried are innocent, and the culprits are far long gone. Furthermore, I was in the meeting with the chairman, all youths that were arrested falsely from our community have been released.

 

According to Madam expensive as she is called “This is so painful, how can unknown people come to this community and kill someone? That means we are no longer safe. It wasn’t funny at all because I could not even leave the house to my shop again because of fear of his death coupled with policemen scarring residence into uneasiness. She however, urged the people to work with the security agencies to improve security in the area.

According to the residence association chairman Mike Imoh, “I wasn’t around when the incident occurred. I cannot account for what I did not see. But, I’m sure security will be very tight from now on, so that nothing like this will ever occur again in this community but I know we have to put an end to policemen coming to this community taking our youths away anyhow,” he said.

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