The Lagos State Task Force on Environment and other Related Offences has announced theÂ 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 15Â years. They were arraigned alongside the others before the State Magistrate’s Court inÂ Alausa, Ikeja.
Chairman of the Task Force, Mr. Bayo Suleiman, who led the operation, explained that theÂ arrest became necessary following complaints from the public that Oshodi was graduallyÂ returning to the old order.
P.M.NEWS had reported weeks ago that the place, sanitized by Governor Babatunde Fashola,Â was returning to its old notoriety as the area boys had returned while traders wereÂ gradually returning to the roadside.
â€œWe raided the area last week and arrested 46 of them, but we were informed that theyÂ operate usually during odd hours. So we left the office around 3.30a.m. this morning andÂ arrested 146 of them both adult and children,â€ Suleiman said adding that the arrestedÂ miscreants were in two categories â€” those who claimed they were inside the vehicle, andÂ others caught wandering at various locations at that time of the day.
According to him: â€œWhen we asked them what they were doing at that time of the day, theyÂ said they were just sleeping under the bridge but we know that some of them may be thoseÂ who use these children to commit different atrocities in the state.
â€œWe have separated them but my question is: are they supposed to be in the vehicle atÂ that time?â€
Stressing that the state government was doing everything possible to ensure that theÂ current order of Oshodi remained, Mr. Suleiman also said that the 15 underage peopleÂ among them would be sent to juvenile homes where they would be assisted to locate theirÂ parents.
Some of the arrested children explained that theyÂ came into Lagos few years ago fromÂ 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 hisÂ father, who was a taxi driver living in Ikorodu, divorced his mother and married a newÂ wife.
â€œI was maltreated by my stepmother, who said she does not want to see me in the house, soÂ I left the house and came to Oshodi where I have been sleeping inside the bus before IÂ was arrested.
Jimoh said he had severally tried to contact his father through the telephone, but eachÂ time he called and the father discovered he was the one; he would decline speaking withÂ him.