There are indications that some of the bridges in Lagos State have been taken over by suspected criminals who have turned them to their hideouts.
A long surveillance by our correspondent revealed that Lagos residents are now scared of plying some of these routes which they consider very dangerous.
Among the bridges where findings revealed need serious policing for the citizens’ safety are:
Third mainland bridge
Plying the TMB bridge, which is known as one of the longest bridges in West-Africa, has now become an issue of concern to Lagos residents, especially as hoodlums appeared to have taken over the bridge.
A victim of the criminal activities on the bridge recently, Taiwo Lawal, said he was robbed by some hoodlums when his car broke down on his way home from work.
According to him, “Immediately my car broke down around the Ebute-Metta area of the bridge, some boys surfaced.”
He said he had hoped they would help him to fix “my car; unfortunately, they descended on me with beatings and collected all I have with me. Some of them also removed parts of my vehicle while I was being beaten mercilessly. They later disappeared into the thin air when they heard a siren by security men passing and I immediately ran for my life with that opportunity.”
Lawal implored police to do more to protect the route.
Mile 12 under bridge
Since the EndSARS saga, this environment has turned into a serious black spot in Lagos. There have been several reports of criminalities perpetrated by hoodlums, who now occupy the place as their abode.
Our correspondent’s careful check at Mile12 Under Bridge at night revealed several hoodlums smoking Indian hemp. Meanwhile, it was gathered that the hoodlums, who hibernate under the bridge at night, often rob passers-by of their belongings. Some of them, it was learnt, belong to cult groups that terrorise the Ajelogo area of Mile 12.
“If you love yourself, do not try to pass through the under bridge once it is 10pm, except you are driving, and if you are driving, make sure you roll up your glass. I was and some of our neighbours have been robbed under the bridge and since them we are always careful to use the route when it is late. Most of the boys you see in that place in the evening are waiting to commence their evil work once it is late”, Olorunesan Falola, a resident of Ajelogo said.
One of the market women, Mama Dada, who also shared their experience with our correspondent said, “What will you be doing under the bridge if you don’t belong to them at that late hour. Even if police are there, courtesy demands that you play safe by avoiding that place. Most of us don’t pass the underbridge when it is late. Again, apart from robbing, they can start their fight at any time. So, let us also be careful as the police are trying their best to protect us. The under bridge is not safe at night unlike before”.
Ketu-Ojota interchange bridge/Abiola garden
Despite the presence of police in this area, hoodlums believed to be coming out of Olusosun dump site had made this spot a black spot.
Findings revealed that the hoodlums operate from the 7up area to Apostolic church area, both day and night. Several victims have revealed their ugly experience in the hands of the hoodlums, who have also taken to traffic robberies recently.
Sharing his ugly experience in this area, Adebayo Adeleke, said police operatives and men of FRSC, were watching without offering any help while he was being robbed in his car.
“I was robbed in slow traffic by hoodlums, who held acid in a container and threatened to splash it on my face,” he said.
On how it happened, Adeleke said, “While I was moving slowly with other vehicles, two hoodlums accosted me. One put his hands inside my car and threatened to splash the acid in his hand on me.
“I initially wanted to call his bluff, thinking they were mere touts, but when I saw the liquid substance with him, I started begging while my car kept moving gradually. When he realised I was not stopping, he ordered me to surrender all the money with me, which I quickly did to avoid having my face splashed with the acid.
“My utmost surprise was that police and FRSC were beside my car at the right while the hoodlums were operating at the left without any fear.
“Immediately they left, I notice them jumping at another car behind me”.
Another resident, Ademola Shittu, also recounted his ordeal in the hands of the hoodlums at the same spot in Lagos.
According to him, the traffic robbers had dominated the express road between Olusosun dump site and Alapere bus stop.
“That place is not safe nowadays. When you drive in that route make sure you roll your glass up. One day, my vehicle broke down in that area and I was attacked with a machete when I tried to come down from the car. As I ran for my life, several parts of the car were removed before I could attract the police and people’s attention. I later landed in the hospital the same night for treatment.
Though known for various accidents in recent times, hoodlums, who in most cases waylay truck drivers to forcefully collect money from them, are now dominating this area. Careful check under the bridge showed policemen on the spot in their van to ensure safety of passers-by. But findings revealed that there is an uncompleted building close to Omole Phase 2 Estate, which has now become the abode of some of the criminals.
A spy on the uncompleted building showed that some of the hoodlums live in the building. It was gathered that some of them came out at night to waylay truck drivers when their trucks break down or anyone passing by at night.
Kara bridge and long bridge
Even though it is located within Ogun State territory, this bridge is mostly used by residents coming to Lagos for their businesses on a daily bases.
Recently, the bridge has become notorious as the den of robbers believed to be ‘herdsmen’ as several ugly incidents have been recorded by the people.
A victim, who recounted her ugly experience on Kara bridge, said she was robbed with a knife by suspected Fulani men in the afternoon while trying to board a vehicle.
“I was going to Ibadan and a few of us who could not afford the high transport fare at Berger garage decided to move down for vehicles going to Ibadan. After waiting for a long time without a vehicle coming, a friend and I decided to move down to Kara bridge. Not more than five minutes after we got to the spot, some young men numbering about seven and coming from that Kara direction accosted us with knives. My friend was able to escape but I could not. They collected my bag and phones and made their way back into the Kara market area. And that was how I went back home that evening”, Alex, a resident shared.
Meanwhile a victim on the long bridge, Mopelola said she was robbed along with other passengers when their bus coming from Ibadan broke down on the bridge.
“It was a sad experience on the long bridge when our bus coming from Ibadan broke down. Having realised it was dangerous to be stranded on the bridge, we started looking for a vehicle that would lift us away from that place. Unfortunately, before we could get a bus, the Fulani people came out with knives and guns. We were beaten terribly and disposed of our money and other valuables. My husband was stabbed in the hand. Thank God no life was lost in the attack. The police need to be on the bridge like that of third mainland bridge”, she said.
Mile 2 bridge
Checks by our correspondent around mile 2 also revealed that security men need to put in more efforts to make the area safe for the citizens.
Some of the residents who spoke with our correspondent said the area is getting worse in terms of security.
According to them, several robbery activities have been recorded on Mile 2 bridge in recent times.
They implored police authorities to do more to make the area safe for all.
Despite the Lagos State Government’s efforts to turn the community around, findings have revealed that hoodlums are not relenting I making some spots within the area criminal dens.
For instance, Oshodi under bridge to Cappa bus stop has been discovered to be a dangerous zone for passengers boarding vehicles at night.
It was discovered that hoodlums who hang around the railway line around Cappa, usually come out to dispossess passers-by of their belongings around 8pm upward.
A victim, Folake Akisanya who share her ugly experience in Oshodi said, “My phone and money were collected when I was about to board bus going to Mushin around 8pm. The young boys accosted me with knives in their hands. To my surprise, people were passing my side without anyone that intervened despite the voice that I raised. One of them even slapped me when I wanted to disobey them. And since that time, I don’t board vehicle around Cappa when it is 7pm.”
Meanwhile, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, said police in the state are working tirelessly to get rid of the criminals.
According to him, “Several traffic robbers have been arrested with other criminals and more efforts are still going on.”
He, however, assured that robbery in traffic will soon fizzle out and become history in the state because human and material resources are being deployed to tackle the menace headlong.