At The Mercy Of Armed Robbers
It is not the best of times for residents of Anyigba, a commercial nerve centre in the eastern flank of Kogi State. The inhabitants of the town where the state university is located are groaning over persistent armed robbery attacks in the city, recently.
According to reports, the gang of robbers numbering about 10 to 15 has been terrorising the people on some major streets in the town without fear of law enforcement agents. It is said that the exploits of the gang in the city had brought agony and anguish to many homes, culminating in the unfortunate ones losing their lives and others deprived of their valuables.
Hon. Ali Edo, the publisher of Prime Newspaper, a local tabloid in the state was one of their latest victims during last Saturday’s early morning raid in the town. The publisher who was at home to celebrate the Easter holiday with his family, around the state owned Diagnostic Hospital in a suburb of the town, was attacked with his family, losing money and other valuables to the robbers. Narrating his ordeal over the incident, the publisher said the hooligans invaded their area around 1.30 a.m. and ordered everybody to surrender his/her money at gun point. The federated chapel chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, in the state disclosed that in the process his family lost a huge sum of money to the bandits. He maintained that for almost three hours the hooligans besieged the street, moving from one compound to another and carting away peoples valuables, the law enforcement agents could not be sighted.
If Mr. Edo was fortunate to escape the bandits’ anger, one Opeoluwa, living behind Labmina Hotels, along Iyale road in the town was not all that lucky, as he miscalculated, losing his life during their earlier operation in his area. The late Opeoluwa was said to have met his untimely death when one of the night marauders who invaded his street identified him and ordered him killed. A very reliable source said because the victim was suspected to have known one of the hooligans carrying out the raid, his so called friend ordered him killed, apparently to hide his identity.
Alhaji Mohammed Isiaka, an elder of the town blamed the reign of armed robbers on politicians who he said armed the youths for election purposes and fail to retrieve the weapons after elections.
“The youths which politicians arm to prosecute their interest have been abandoned. Governor Idris Wada has said in different forum that he has nothing to do with the ‘boys’. The youths feeling stranded, are using the weapons at their disposal to make a living,” he submitted.
Many who shared Isiaka’s view are of the opinion that the state government should initiate measures to retrieve those guns bought for the youths by the politicians or alternatively, the government should provide another means of livelihood for them, stressing that leaving them stranded may lead to problems of unbelievable proportion in the society.
The police public relation officer, PPRO, Ajayi Okansanmi, ASP, confirmed the raid in the city but emphasised that it was an isolated case in the suburb of the town, and the situation is already under control. According to him, the divisional police officer, DPO, of the area has assured the command that necessary measures have been put in place to checkmate such incidents in future. The police image maker solicited the cooperation of members of the public in their quest to put the hoodlums’ activities under control. “We are looking for clues to work with, if anybody can volunteer information, we will act immediately,” the PPRO responded on the issue of weapons in the hands of some hoodlums in the area.