Following incessant attacks on their residences by men of the underworld, residents of some suburbs in Lagos have resolved to organise themselves into informal vigilance groups to safeguard their homes and businesses.
Residents of Shosanya Avenue and Olaoye Streets in Abaranje-Ijegun, a Lagos suburb, in particular told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday that they would secure their homes and businesses until the Federal Government lifted its stay-at-home directive.
The group said the informal vigilance group would consist of both landlords and landladies as well as the tenants living within the communities.
This, the residents said, would continue till the end of the lockdown to address the challenges of insecurity in their various communities.
A nursing mother, Idowu Olufade, told NAN that their coming out was due to the aggressive approach of some criminal groups called “One million boys”.
Olufade alleged that the gang disturbed and dispossessed them of their belongings and would not allow them to rest in the afternoon nor have sound sleep in the night.
She said: “Though, we are aware that our coming out is dangerous but our lives and that of our children are more important to us.
“They have attacked us before, but we want to prevent further attacks henceforth.”
Emmanuel Bamgboye, the Chairman, Irepodun Community Development Association, Zone 2 in Ijegun, said they formed the vigilance groups having realised that the gangs did not have any other means of survival than to turn themselves into armed robbery gang.
Bamgboye said: “You need to see these boys in action and that is why we have prepared well for them before they launch another attack on us.
“They have tried and we are saying enough is enough.
“The Police cannot do it alone.
“We need to support them and when they see us while on patrol they appreciate our efforts.
“We are not ruthless.
“Once we come across anyone of them, we arrest them and hand them over to the Police.
“And the Police have been helpful as they patrol both in the day and at night.
“They have been terrorising our communities since 2019 and we are ready to face and stop them henceforth.”
Another resident, Shola Ogungbesan, told NAN that the activities of the one million boys had pushed the residents “to the wall”.
Ogungbesan said: “We cannot have peace in the day time and also cannot sleep with our two eyes closed at night.
“We are not sure of our safety because anytime they operate, they hold all residents hostage.
“We, the elders and youths in the communities, came together to safeguard our neighbourhood and this will continue until after the COVID-19 stay-at-home directive eases off.”
The residents appealed to the Lagos State Government to embrace community policing like the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Agency meant to complement the efforts of the police.
“They are security watchdogs in any community,” Ogungbesan said.
Abdulrazak Adebayo, a resident, also said the activities of these notorious boys can be attributed to the prevailing situation in the country.
He said: “The situation is not permanent, but the way and manner these boys operate is fearful and deadly.
Adebayo urged government to look into the needs of the people, and to help alleviate the sufferings of the poor.