As Muslims marked the Eid-el-Kabir on Saturday, it was a different story for residents of Apapa Road in the Ebute Meta area of Lagos.
Residents of the area celebrated the festival in apprehension as two rival groups engaged in a battle of supremacy, unleashing violence in the area and carting away valuables.
It was gathered that the rival groups, identified as the Otto Boys and Apapa Road Boys, engaged one another in a duel on Friday night.
They were reported to have attacked one another with guns, cutlasses, broken bottles and other weapons before the police intervened.
A police source told our correspondent that the thugs cashed in on the mayhem to dispossess residents of their valuables.
It was leanrt that many residents who bought rams to mark the festival lost them to the hoodlums.
When our correspondent visited the area on Saturday, some of the residents said they had not been able to sleep because the boys could foment trouble at any time. Some of them also said they had to relocate from the area for fear of being attacked.
The residents urged the police to fish out the thugs and their sponsors so that peace could be restored to the area.
A resident, who identified himself simply as Abiodun, said the crisis had become a daily affair, adding that the residents had become helpless as the incessant attacks seemed to defy solution.
Abiodun said, “The boys have been fomenting trouble. Throughout last week, the story was the same. Last week, when the groups clashed, many people ran inside their homes. When they clashed again yesterday, the boys used the opportunity to rob. They stole rams which were tied down for the festival. Motorcycles and other goods were also stolen, while many other property were vandalised.”
Another resident, who identified himself as Olanrewaju, said the incessant mayhem had made him to abandon his home.
He said, “I now sleep in the church because one is unsure of when they will unleash violence. I have relocated my family from the area.”
A medical doctor, who identified himself as Olaniyi, told our correspondent that the crisis had been on for over two years and kept escalating.
He said whenever the thugs were arrested, they usually got away from the police net because their sponsors always bailed them out.
A member of a vigilance group in the area, Mr. Ishola Agbodemu, who was a victim of the latest attack, urged the police to fish out the culprits and bring the sponsors of the thugs to book.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, confirmed the incident.
He said the police had arrested 23 suspects in connection with the incident.
He said, “The police recovered one live cartridge and nine expended cartridges, dagger and charms from the suspects. As I speak with you, normalcy has returned in the area as a police patrol team has been stationed in the area.”