Residents of Abule Ijesha community, Yaba, Lagos State, say the neighbourhood is not safe until the police arrest hoodlums who killed a senior member of staff of the University of Lagos, Akoka, and a final year student of the institution.
They claimed that the mastermind of the crime was a drug dealer known to the police and demanded that he and his accomplices be apprehended and prosecuted.
The victims, Akintunde Fadugba, of Centre for Information and Technology System, UNILAG, and the 400-level student, Rasaq Akokia, were shot dead on Opayemi Street, Abule Ijesha.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the hoodlums, numbering six and reportedly led by the drug dealer had stormed the community around 11pm on Friday on motorcycles and shot indiscriminately.
Fadugba, who was said to be relaxing in front of a barber’s – a stone’s throw from his residence – was shot and died on the spot.
It was learnt that Akokia was ill and had gone to buy drugs from a chemist on the street.
He was returning home when a bullet hit him in the chest.
Our correspondent, who visited the community on Tuesday, observed that residents were still in panic as many of them declined to speak on the incident.
However, an eyewitness, Sunday Ebah, said he was at a restaurant on Opayemi Street when the hoodlums struck.
He said, “I was with a food vendor around 11pm when I saw three motorcycles. While they were approaching a church, they put off the light of the motorcycle. Two persons were reportedly on each motorcycle.
“Two men came down and one of them, a tall guy, started shooting. The drug dealer was directing him.
“When I saw them, I ran to Martins Street. Two men faced Martins Street, while two others headed towards Odenike Street, shooting.
“The UNILAG worker was outside a barber’s when he was shot. They saw the light of a pickup truck arriving in the community and fled. They thought it was a police van.
“As they were leaving through Fatai Kadri Street, Rasaq (Akokia), who had been hiding, thought they had gone. As he came out from hiding, they shot him and he fell into the gutter. He was a final year student at UNILAG.”
The food vendor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Ebah’s account, adding that she abandoned her food and scampered to safety.
She said, “I was selling amala to a customer when I suddenly heard gunshots. I abandoned my wares and ran away. The hoodlums collected a phone from one of my customers. Rasaq (Akokia) was ill and had bought drugs on Opayemi Street. He lived alone.”
The food seller’s husband, who was shot in the hand, Lateef Olalekan, said he escaped death by a whisker.
He said, “I was at Odenike Junction when I heard gunshots. I initially thought it was fireworks. I was rushing to alert my wife who sells food on Opayemi Street when two hoodlums came down from a motorcycle. One of them shot at me. The bullet grazed my hand and shattered the windscreen of a car parked by the roadside.”
A bread seller, who did not want her name in print, told PUNCH Metro that she was attending to a customer when the attack broke out.
“My customers and I hid in my shop. The attackers were shouting ‘where are you?’
“After they left, somebody raised the alarm that they had killed a man. His corpse was brought to the junction and after some minutes, Rasaq’s corpse was found inside a drainage channel,” she added.
When our correspondent visited Fadugba’s residence, it was learnt that his family members did not live with him, while residents of a bungalow, where Akokia lived, had gone to work.
A community leader, Mr. Omolaja Johnson, said the drug dealer had been unleashing terrors on the community since 2016 when he was sent out of the community.
He said the mastermind had used some policemen to harass residents, adding that a petition was sent to the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, against the policemen and the hoodlums.
He said, “The community sent him away because he sold all sorts of hard drugs. When we met with the AIG, Zone 2, the policemen he used were dealt with. Everything went well until on March 9 around 11pm when the community was attacked and two persons were killed.
“That day, I slept early. I heard gunshots, but thought it was policemen shooting into the air. About 15 minutes later, a neighbour called me and said two persons had been killed. I rushed to the scene of the crime and met the corpses. I called the Sabo Divisional Police Officer who came to take away the corpses.”
The Chief Security Officer of the community, Mr. Paul Ebite, said, “We want the police to immediately apprehend the hoodlums; without that, the attack will continue. The community is still in fear. We appeal to the AIG Zone 2 and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to ensure that these hoodlums are apprehended.”
The spokesperson for the police in Lagos, SP Chike Oti, said the command had launched a manhunt for the hoodlums.
He said, “There were four individuals who were known for negatively influencing children and youths in that community. They had issues with the community and they were chased away. They regrouped and unleashed mayhem on the community, years after they were sent out. They killed a university worker and a student. The command is investigating and effort is ongoing to arrest the criminal fugitives.”
The spokesperson for UNILAG, Mrs. Taiwo Oloyede, confirmed Fadugba’s death, but said she was not aware a student was also killed.
She said, “Mr. Fadugba was shot on Friday and we lost him. He was a senior non-teaching staff member of the Centre for Information and Technology System. He will be buried this week. I am not sure we lost any student, but I will confirm and get back to you.”
She had yet to get back to our correspondent as of press time.