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Nineteen persons are cooling their heels at the police custody following their arrest by men of the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly attempting to burn down the Ejigbo Police Station.
The suspects were arrested on Saturday around 11:15 pm in the Ejigbon area of Lagos State.
A resident of the area, identified simply as Tunde, told our correspondent that he was lounging outside his apartment when he suddenly saw hundreds of commercial motorcyclists armed with dangerous weapons racing towards the police station.
According to him, he did not understand what they were saying until one of his friends told him that a police vehicle allegedly knocked down two of their colleagues.
He noted that few minutes after, the motorcyclists started hurling missiles at the police station and threatened to bring it down.
He added that in the process, the mob damaged some police vehicles.
Tunde explained that by the time the police mobilised and repelled the attack on the station, some of the motorcyclists had sustained varying degrees of injuries.
He said, “I was lounging outside when I suddenly saw hundreds of youths running towards the Ejigbo Police Station. They were chanting in Hausa. I did not understand what they were saying.
“I asked one of them, who is my friend, what had happened. He told me that some policemen knocked two motorcyclists down. He said they were going to retaliate.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, condemned the attack on the police station, adding that nobody was knocked down.
According to him, the Lagos State Traffic Law prohibits the movement of motorcycles after 10 pm.
He stated that the motorcyclists attempted to burn down the Ejigbo Police Station, but for quick reinforcement.
Oti added that the police repelled the irate youths by firing tear gas canisters at the mob and that nobody was shot.
The PPRO stated, “The motorcyclists wilfully damaged two operational vehicles belonging to the Rapid Response Squad, Ikeja. The police did not shoot at any of them; they only fired tear gas canisters to disperse them. The police arrested 19 of them over attempts to burn down the station.
“The police on night guard saw some people approaching and became alert, wondering what such number of people was coming to do at the station.
“Few metres away, the mob started throwing missiles at the police station. The police resisted them from entering the compound by closing the gate. If the police had allowed them to overwhelm them, they would have burned down the station.
“In the process, they damaged two of our patrol vehicles parked outside the station. The DPO was able to organise a security team that repelled them using tear gas to avoid killing anybody.”
In another development, members of the RRS have arrested the leader of a four-man fraud syndicate, Osuji Chibuzor, 42, for allegedly swindling a 34-year-old woman of N165,000.
It was learnt that the syndicate was operating in Ikeja, Ojota, Ojodu Berger, Ogba, College Road and Agege, while their offices were located at 8 Afolabi Street, Iju Shaga and 7 Salami Street, Oko-Oba, Agege.
Chibuzor’s role, according to the RRS, was to deceive the victims with fake prophecies after they might have been lured into the offices.
The suspect stated that his gang members used to offer their victims fake dollar notes in order to ensnare them.
He said other members of his gang were Frank, Stella and Emeka, adding that they usually drive to Ikeja, Ojota and Agege areas every day to lure unsuspecting members of the public to their two offices.
According to him, their victims are then tricked into the dollar-making scam.
Chibuzor reportedly stated that after bringing the victims to the offices, the other gang members would then invite him as a pastor to pray for the victims.
He said it was in the process of praying for the victims that he would request money for anointing oil, chemicals for the washing of the money and other charges.
The suspect stated that it was frustration that made him to join the gang three years ago.
He was quoted as saying, “Although there are many other fraud gangs in Lagos independent of ours, it was only four of us who formed our gang. We operate in Agege, Ogba, College Road, Ojodu Berger, Ojota, Ikeja, Alausa and Ifako-Ijaiye.
“What I collected from the lady was N120,000. I know that my colleagues withdrew N45,000 from her account using her ATM card. I am ready to pay all the money back.”
The woman, who asked not to be named, said she boarded a taxi in Ojota to Ojodu Berger, adding that she was in Oregun when the driver decided to pick up another passenger.
She said she did not know how she got to Iju instead of Ojodu Berger.
She added that members of the gang made her swear to an oath that she would not tell anybody about what transpired between them.
The victim was quoted to have said, “We were still in Oregun when the driver picked up another passenger. It was at this point that they started playing tricks on me.
“I ended up in their office in Iju, where they collected all the money on me, including the one in my account. They made me swear to an oath never to inform anyone. Thereafter, Chibuzor requested that I should get another N60,000 to complete the ritual.
“After collecting N165,000, they still won’t let me rest. I borrowed N60,000, being the balance of what they needed. I was on the way to hand it over to them when I regained my consciousness.
“Luckily for me, with the assistance of a patrol team of the RRS, I was able to lure him (Chibuzor) out and got him arrested.”
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Zubairu Mu’azu, asked the operatives to rid the state of criminals, especially in the areas marked as ‘black spots’.