The Lagos State Task Force on Environment and other Related Offences has announced the  arrest of 146 miscreants popularly called area boys.

They were all arrested when the law enforcement agents raided the place recently.

The Task Force said 15 of the arrested miscreants were children aged between nine and 15  years. They were arraigned alongside the others before the State Magistrate’s Court in  Alausa, Ikeja.

Chairman of the Task Force, Mr. Bayo Suleiman, who led the operation, explained that the  arrest became necessary following complaints from the public that Oshodi was gradually  returning to the old order.

P.M.NEWS had reported weeks ago that the place, sanitized by Governor Babatunde Fashola,  was returning to its old notoriety as the area boys had returned while traders were  gradually returning to the roadside.

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“We raided the area last week and arrested 46 of them, but we were informed that they  operate usually during odd hours. So we left the office around 3.30a.m. this morning and  arrested 146 of them both adult and children,” Suleiman said adding that the arrested  miscreants were in two categories — those who claimed they were inside the vehicle, and  others caught wandering at various locations at that time of the day.

According to him: “When we asked them what they were doing at that time of the day, they  said they were just sleeping under the bridge but we know that some of them may be those  who use these children to commit different atrocities in the state.

“We have separated them but my question is: are they supposed to be in the vehicle at  that time?”

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Stressing that the state government was doing everything possible to ensure that the  current order of Oshodi remained, Mr. Suleiman also said that the 15 underage people  among them would be sent to juvenile homes where they would be assisted to locate their  parents.

Some of the arrested children explained that they came into Lagos few years ago from  neighbouring states of Oyo, Ogun and Kwara in search of greener pasture.

One of the, Saheed Jimoh, claimed that he joined others in the street last year after his  father, who was a taxi driver living in Ikorodu, divorced his mother and married a new  wife.

“I was maltreated by my stepmother, who said she does not want to see me in the house, so  I left the house and came to Oshodi where I have been sleeping inside the bus before I  was arrested.

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Jimoh said he had severally tried to contact his father through the telephone, but each  time he called and the father discovered he was the one; he would decline speaking with  him.

—Eromosele Ebhomele