A bakery manager, Nnaemeka Emmanuel, has escaped death by whiskers after he was brutalised by warring hoodlums in Coker-Aguda and Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Areas of Lagos State.
Emmanuel, a victim of recurring gang war between hoodlums at Aguda in Coker-Aguda and Ijeshatedo area Itire-Ikate LCDAs said he was saved by Providence from being killed by the fiendish youths.
The gang war in the two council development areas has continued to take toll on residents in the communities.
Emmanuel, the Manager of Yummy Fantasy, that deals in assorted bread, pastries, shawarma, chicken and chips, cakes and pizza among others, was dealt with when he suddenly found himself in their midst.
According to him, the quest to get to the bakery earlier on that fateful Monday morning and get the goods ready for sale was his undoing.
He couldn’t get to the bakery before the unexpected happened – the hoodlums mistook him for one of their rivals and pounced on him.
Before he could explain his innocence, he had become unconscious after he was brutalised, stabbed and macheted.
Reliving his ordeal, Emmanuel described his experience as horrible saying: “It was on Monday; I had come to the bakery earlier to prepare some things around 6am. I was feeling too weak before I came and I quickly rushed home to relax for some time. Later I got up to go for medical check-up. On getting to the street behind, Olufemi Sogo, I was told they were fighting and they had locked the gate of the street.
“I had to wait till the fight subsided for a while. I was waiting here and after some minutes, my dad called me that he wanted to know the situation in Aguda whether he could come to work but I told him not to come to work because they were fighting and everywhere was in turmoil.
“Immediately I dropped the call, a young guy grabbed me by my trousers and the next couple of minutes, two other guys joined him. One broke a bottle on my head and the others started hitting my head with machetes.
“As they were stabbing, I kept asking ‘what did I do?’ One of them said ‘you are one of them.’ I was just pleading that I don’t know what they were talking about and they kept on hitting me.
“While they attempted to hit me further, someone shouted ‘I was not the one’. Then, they left me in the pool of blood and went away. Some people who rushed me to the hospital said I became unconscious afterwards.”
Emmanuel, who later spent a week in the hospital, said he never thought he could survive the attacks.
“I regain consciousness in the hospital and spent seven days there. Death was the only thing on my mind when those guys were stabbing me. In fact, I thought I had died already. As much as I tried telling them that I was not among those they were fighting, they wouldn’t listen. At first, I saw three persons but when the cutlass hit me, the blood was gushing too much and I couldn’t open my eyes,” he said.
He urged government to ensure the criminal activities of the hoodlums were nip in the bud.
“They did not only attack people; their shops were bungled and looted. See how they destroyed my shops too. This is something that has been happening for several months now and according to some persons, they said years but I have only been here for like two years and it started early this year. The government must put a stop to it,” he added.
No fewer than five persons have lost their lives with property worth millions of Naira destroyed in the latest clashes.
The rival gang war has also provided opportunity for the hoodlums to loot the shops of businessmen around the area.
In his reaction to the crisis, the Onikate of Ikate, Oba Lateef Adams blamed the parents for gang war.
Oba Adams said the parents having failed in their duties to train their children resorted to blackmailing people in the government to help release their unruly children from police custody whenever they were arrested.
According to the monarch, the hoodlums causing chaos in the communities are from failed homes.
He advised the council chairmen not to secure bail for anyone arrested arrested for criminal activities.
“If the parents train their children well, they won’t go and be killing people and destroying property. Their nefarious activities have nothing to do with politics. The parents should stop blackmailing the politicians to help release their untrained children.
“The parents should go and train their children because if your child kills anybody, he will be killed too. We are not in the politics for unruly children to be committing crimes and their parent will now be saying we vote for you; forget about your vote; don’t vote for us again,” the monarch said.
Speaking on the crisis, Coker-Aguda Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Chairman, Mrs Omobolanle Akinyemi-Obe, said she had compensated some of the victims of the gang war.
Emmanuel confirmed to The Nation that he received some cash compensation.
He thanked the council boss for coming to his aid.
Mrs Akinyemi-Obe also said shanties along the canal where the hoodlums operated have been demolished.
According to her, the demolition was carried out by the officials of the council’s Environmental department.
The officials, she said, were supervised by Area ‘C’ Commander Fatai Tijani and Divisional Police Officers of some police stations in the area.
Mrs Akinyemi-Obe said the shanties were the places the hoodlums used as their hideouts.
She said after terrorising the residents on the major roads and streets, the hoodlums returned to the hideouts to share their loots.
“Besides that the hoodlums committed a lot of atrocities around this canal. We have heard about rape cases, molestation of the residents at nights and robberies. The shanties were built without the knowledge of the council and it was unfortunate that the residents refused to report them to the appropriate quarters. We can’t sit by and allow some group of unruly boys continue to threaten the peace of the communities,” she said.
Commander Tijani warned the hoodlums never to return to the area.
He promised that policemen would visit the place regularly to ensure sanity in the area.
“As it is now, I am very sure none of them will want to come around and do anything; the security of the area is very tight. We will not allow them to return to this place because the local government made law that they don’t want to see any of them here again,” he said.