Editorial Team

Emmanuel Udom-Managing Editor, Stephen Dijo Philemon-Deputy Editor, Janet Udom-Senior Correspondent, Precious Udom-Senior Correspondent, Williams Ita-Bureau Chief(Akwa Ibom/Cross River), Fabian Idoko-Senior Correspondent

    Manufacturer's Representative Import Export General Merchandise Contract Adress: Araromi Quarters, Owode Area, Ifo, Ogun state, Nigeria P.O.Box 2632, Oshiodi, Lagos Telephone: 2348166719412

    Monday, 28 November 2016

    Residents sleep in bush as militants attack, kidnap seven

    *Attempt to abduct students on assembly ground

    At least 20 armed men, dressed in military camouflage uniform on Sunday, swooped on Kodjo Farm, located at Igbodu, Epe area of Lagos state and abducted seven people.

    One of the victims has been identified as Kakaja Joseph 65. Four poultry workers of Kodjo Farm were abducted and two travelers.

    The guard and four poultry workers were abducted after the kidnappers attacked Kodjo Farm. But the two travelers were taken after the militants embarked on a second operation, which witnessed them blocking a transit road.

    Yesterday, the kidnappers attempted to abduct students of Molajoye Community High School on the assembly ground, but policemen attached to Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Area N Police Command, Navy and Army foiled the abduction.

    Eye witnesses claimed that the men stormed the poultry at about 8am, shooting sporadically. They were said to have whisked away their victims in a waiting boat.  The gunmen carted away about 50 live chickens and many eggs.   

    The kidnappers, armed with sophisticated guns, allegedly blocked a road along Igbodu, where they engaged law enforcement officers in a gun duel.

    People were said to have scampered into the bush in different directions. Many of them were also alleged to have spent the night in the bush.

    A poultry worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “After kidnapping the poultry workers, the gunmen went to Molajoye Expressway and kidnapped two travelers. Some of the occupants of the bus sustained   injuries.

    The Epe axis became a preferred target of kidnappers, after the Joint Task Force (JTF) comprised the Navy, Air Force, and the Army, alongside operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the police, carried out aerial bombardment in August.

    It will be recalled that in September, militants struck at Epe and abducted three female farmers and a six-month-old baby. The victims were kidnapped on Igbodu Isiwo Road area of Epe, Lagos State.

    On November 15, armed gunmen, allegedly numbering over 40, invaded a farm settlement in Epe, also located on Igbodu-Isiwo Road, Lagos.  

    They abducted four farmers. The men, dressed in military uniform, came through the river about 10a.m.

    On Sunday, the kidnappers struck again, this time, abducting a security guard, two travelers and four poultry workers.
    On Monday, when our correspondent visited the community, there was palpable tension in the air.

    Mr. Isaiah Joseph, son of the abducted guard, said: “Since our father was kidnapped, we’ve been running from pillar to post, to secure his release.

    When he left home on Saturday, we expected him back on Sunday for church service. We waited with our mother, but he didn’t show up. We decided to go to the farm to check on him. We were told by one of the engineers that he had been abducted, along with four workers.”

    Joseph said that the management of the poultry had assured them that they would make efforts to secure his soonest release.
    “We’re still waiting for him to return, but our major concern is his health. He’s old. We don’t know how they are treating him,” said Joseph.
    Mr. Isaac John, in-law to Kakaja, said the farm management has promised to negotiate with the kidnappers.

    John further said: “We’re anxious! We don’t know his condition presently. If not because of the economic situation in the country, the old man wouldn’t be doing that sort of job.”

    Chief Oguntayo Abiodun, Baale of Igbodu said: “We were still discussing the kidnap of the guard and   poultry workers, when we got news about the attempted abduction of Molajoye students.

    On Saturday, there was serious commotion in the community when the gunmen confronted men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) in a gun battle. 

    The sporadic shooting lasted for about 29 minutes. We’re appealing to the state government and the police to provide regular patrol of the community.

    Some of the local vigilante men cannot confront the gunmen because of the sophisticated weapons they carry. Some investors in the community have started relocating due to the incessant abductions of farmers and workers in the community. Farmers these days fear to go to work.”

    Chief Olaitan Oshodiro, the Alashe of Igbodu said: “Those militants, who were dislodged from Arepo, Isawo and some part of Ogun state, have relocated to our area.

    We cannot sleep anymore. We’re dying of hunger! We cannot go to farm, so as not to be kidnapped. We go to bed by 6: 30pm these days.”

    Mobile Policemen from Mopol 22 and RRS were sighted yesterday patroling the community. Over five RRS vans were also on ground.
    Reacting to the latest Epe kidnap news saga, which was already making the round, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), insisted the story wasn’t true, especially stories being circulated on social media.

    She said: “The command wishes to state that this publication is not only false and misleading, but a figment of imagination of the writer. EPE axis and Lagos State, is totally safe.

    There is no invasion by militants or any other criminal elements on any part of Lagos. The command hereby advises anyone peddling this falsehood to desist or be made answerable to the law.

    Residents of EPE and Lagos at large should disregard this falsehood and carry on their lawful activities, as the command has devised operational strategies to ensure safety of lives and property during this festive season.

    Members of the public are enjoined to report any suspicious movement to the command through its emergency numbers 767 or 112.”

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