For the past few months residents of Idi-Oro, Akala, Moshalasi, Fadeyi, Somolu,Â Bariga, Mushin and Abule Ijesa among many others in Lagos State have watchedÂ helplessly as their children, wives and fathers are killed in cult wars that have inÂ recent times engulfed the areas.
A few weeks ago, some young men suspected to be members of a cult group unleashedÂ terror on residents of Elekoro area of Mushin. They numbered about 15, wore blackÂ T-shirts and were armed with dangerous weapons. A few days later some criminalÂ elements stormed Akala and Alakara area of Mushin and clashed with another group,Â leaving one person dead and several others wounded. Alakara and Akala are just aÂ shouting distance from a Alakara Police Division.
On Tuesday 7 December, youths and drug peddlers clashed around the railway line inÂ Fadeyi which resulted in the death of nine-year-old Aminat Oladepo, a primary threeÂ pupil of Ola Emma Nursery and Primary School, Mushin.
She was sent on an errand by her parents and on sighting the hoodlums, she hidÂ behind a parked car but when the criminals sighted her, she was shot and killed forÂ no apparent reason.
A day after Amina was killed, two other people were killed in what was described asÂ a reprisal attack. Weekly, people lose their lives in this area and the police seemÂ too lethargic to arrest the situation.
The cult wars are between different rival groups that include the National Union ofÂ Road Transport Workers, the OPC, Eiye Cult, Black Axe Confraternity, Akala Boys andÂ others too numerous to mention, through leaders of some of the groups have deniedÂ the allegation.
Recently, some residents of Akala visited P.M.NEWS and denied that Akala area wasÂ still notorious. They said the residents had formed an alliance to keep the cultistsÂ out of their area and that they had started mobilizing to protect themselves fromÂ the criminal gangs.
We think it was time government waded into this warfare and once and for all stopÂ the activities of these murderous gangs.
It is not as if the police is unaware of the problem but policemen are usuallyÂ powerless as the wars are quick affairs after which the gangs disappear. A policeÂ source also blamed politicians for the upsurge in the cult wars in recent times. HeÂ added that whenever the boys are arrested, highly placed government officials callÂ for their release, which makes it impossible to prosecute them to serve as aÂ deterrent to others of their ilk.
Government has waited enough, it must move now; we cannot allow Lagos State, theÂ commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, to become another Abia State where criminalÂ gangs of kidnappers reigned. We cannot afford to wait until an important personalityÂ dies in the crossfire before we douse the flames of the gang wars.
The self-imposed curfew by people of these areas is uncalled for. Losing livesÂ everyday should not be allowed in a civilized society. The police must step up theirÂ act and start arresting these hoodlums. We are not at war and must not allowÂ anybody, no matter how highly placed to disrupt commercial and social activitiesÂ endangering lives and subjecting people to a state of constant fear.
Enough is enough. Tax payers must not become victims of security threats. The gangsÂ must be apprehended and prosecuted. We have lost too many innocent souls to theseÂ criminals and now is the time to stop them.