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Published On: Mon, Jul 21st, 2014

FESTAC Residents Exonerate Police over Council Attack, Indict LGA Chair, Ayo Adewale

Amuwo-Odofin LGA Chairman, Comrade Ayo Adewale

LAGOS JULY 21ST (URHOBOTODAY)-FESTAC residents in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State has exonerated officers of Nigerian Police over recent alleged attack on the secretariat of the local government, rather they claimed that it was the Local Government Chairman, Comrade Ayo Adewale and his security outfit, Neighbourhood Watch that have been giving residents of the local government area sleepless night.
Their allegation is in reaction to recent publication in Saharareporters an online medium in which the Chairman of Amuwo-Odofin LGA, Comrade Ayo Adewale accused police officers of Area ‘E’ Police Command of attacking the local government secretariat and inflicting injuries on his men.

Some members of Amuwo-Odofin LGA Neighbourhood Watch in tartered military uniforms paraded recently by the Lagos State Police command for impersonating the military

An eye witness, Chief Bayo Adeleke who spoke to our correspondent explained that the events which lead to the recent crisis in Amuwo-Odofin LGA was ignited by a vigilante group, The Neighbourhood Watch founded and financed by Ayo Adewale to harass and extort money from residents of the local government area.
He disclosed that the security outfit was found of harassing and seizing the wares of traders at Alakija area which they would take to their office at the secretariat where the traders would be asked to pay huge amount of money before their goods would be released to them, with those who do not pay forfeiting theirs.
“On the day of the incident, members of the Neighbourhood Watch armed with guns and other dangerous weapons, probably under the instruction of Adewale, raided traders at Alakija and carted away their wares worth millions of Naira to their secretariat. That is after they must have attacked and inflicted injuries on those who resisted their attempts to cart away their goods.
“The traders brought themselves together, summon courage and went to the secretariat to demand for release of their goods. An attempt by the traders to seek audience with Adewale was abortive. It was when men of the Neighbourhood Watch and other thugs attached to the secretariat were forcefully trying to push out the traders out of the secretariat premises that they reacted and attacked them in form of defence.
“It was policemen from Area ‘E’ Police Command that save the situation. If not, the traders were out to broke into the secretariat to retrieve their seized wares which they claimed are worth millions of Naira,” Adeleke who said he witnessed the scene asserted.
Another resident of FESTAC Town, Mr Samson Obi who claimed he was a victim of molestation by the Neighborhood Watch accused the security outfit of abusing their powers. He claimed they have taking over the duties of policemen in the course of performing their duties.
According to him, “these men who are not trained in security issues have totally taking over the duties of policemen in FESTAC. They are not there to save lives and property, but after their personal interest of making money for themselves. They made life unbearable for us. They arrest vehicles for traffic offence they did not commit simply because they want to extort money from them. They go to the express road and divert trailers to the secretariat all in attempt to extort money. They raid shops and impound wares of traders on flimsy excuse of selling on the road side. They have no corrective measures. The language these stark illiterate who called themselves security men understand is extortion. In all this excesses I have mentioned, they have not prosecuted any offender in the court any day. They end up in collecting money from them.
“This is not how a neigbourhood watch suppose to operate. As security outfit, I expected them to keep watch by saving lives and property of residents of FESTAC and not to make life unbearable for them.”
A businessman who owns a supermarket in one of the shopping complex in FESTAC Town, simply identified as Big Boss however advised Amuwo-Odofin LGA Chairman, Comrade Ayo Adewale to call his ‘boys’ to order if not they would put him in trouble.
Big Boss who said accusing the police for offence they did not commit would not solve the problem, however, however, advised him to work in conjunction with FESTAC Police so as to bring sanity to the area.
“The police are trying. Left to the police we do not have any problem. But the boys in tattered uniform who called themselves men of the Neighbourhood Watch are making life unbearable for us,” he lamented.
He claimed that for no just course, the men of the Neighbourhood Watch have raided his shops several times on the flimsy excuse of not possessing one licence or it had expired, adding in each raids he ended parting with money as gratification.

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