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Agiliti: Police supported Hausa — Yoruba elders



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…No, we were fair to all, says CP Owoseni 


FOLLOWING last Thursday communal cum tribal crisis in Agiliti area of Mile 12 in Lagos State, that pitted the Hausas against the Yoruba, some elders have alleged that men of the Nigerian police compromised as they allowed the Hausas to penetrate into Agiliti leading up to monstrous destruction of lives and properties.

In a swift reaction to the allegation, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Owoseni Fatai told National Daily in his office that police acted in good faith to safeguard lives and properties of residents irrespective of whoever that was involved in the conflagration.

He said the unfortunate event at Agiliti was a case of mob action. Those that were involved were all miscreants; no genuine Yoruba or Hausa man was involved in the action. As the Yoruba were throwing bottle filled with petrol, so also the Hausa were throwing stone at the police. We dispersed all of them irrespective of whoever was involved. The Nigerian Police did not support a particular group against the other.

Fatai reiterated that, “If we want to be sincere to ourselves, did the police support any person at Agiliti? He asked. I was there in person. I am sincerely saying it that when I go out for an operation, I don’t work based on ethnicity or religious inclination. For God’s sake, why would a Yoruba man say that the police supported Hausa person? Am I not from the South West? All those that were involved were miscreants; no genuine south west person or genuine northerner was involved in that incident. It was a mob action.

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“As at the time we got to that place, the whole of the bridge was occupied, I took the initiative upon myself to disperse the mob. I spoke to all of them to drop their offensive weapons, and they didn’t listen. Our action was devoid of ethnic sentiment of inclination. I think that allaegation was was based on their perception and it is a cheap blackmail to rubbish the good job done by the police to ensure that peace gained sway. I want to repeat that as far as Agiliti attack was concerned, the police didn’t support any ethnic group against the other.

He agreed that the Area Commander is an Hausa man as well as the DPO of Mile 12 police station but that was not enough for any Yoruba man or elders to have concocted that the police support the Hausa people against them. “The DPO has been there for a long time and nobody has complained about it, CP Fatai added.

They are particularly expressing anger over an alleged shielding of the Hausas by the deployed soldiers and policemen of northern origin while opening the flank of attack on the Yoruba residents of the area by the by their opponents, the Hausas.

Speaking with National Daily at the weekend in Agiliti, one of the Yoruba leaders, Elder Joseph Adekunle Adewumi, said the Police appeared to have compromised by allowing Hausa boys to penetrate the village and unleashed mayhem on their hosts.

He said when the crisis erupted last Thursday morning, their boys came out against the miscreants and were ready to ward them off by blocking the bridge and preventing them from gaining access into the village, but that initiative was thwarted as men of the Nigerian Police, allegedly, started shooting canister tear gas at them why the Hausa boys were advancing behind them.

Elder Adewumi, who is also the Community Development Authority (CDA) chairman narrated thus: “Our boys stood up to safeguard us while the Hausa stood in their territory.


We called on men of the Nigerian Police and we thought they would play a neutral role, but that was not the case. They tear-gassed our boys, forcing them to run away from the bridge where they had blocked the Hausa boys from gaining access into the village.

‘Meanwhile, as the police were using the tear gas on our boys and were retreating, the Hausa boys were advancing with them until they gained access into the community and started burning down anything in sight.

“Are we one Nigeria? It is the fault of government and its policy. We have four police stations on this axis. They are all headed by people of northern extraction. Ketu, Mile 12, Alapere police stations and the Area Command at Ogudu are all controlled by Hausa men.

Why should the police be advancing towards our place, using tear gas to disperse our people and they failed to stop the Hausa boys who were coming behind them? We feel there was compromise on the part of men of the Nigerian police.

“To be honest with you, but that they used tear gas on our boys, the Hausa boys would not have had the opportunity to penetrate into the community. Police aided them. The attack was brought to a halt when soldiers were deployed, he added.

Corroborating his position, Pa Oduwole, whose house was burnt said “the police compromised because if they had performed their duty, the Hausa miscreants wouldn’t have gained access into Agiliti. Our boys resisted them until the police tear gassed them.

The miscreants gained access with the help of the police.

ALSO SEE: Hausa, Yourba clash at Mile 12, 4 killed

“Immediately they shot the tear gas, they over powered the Yoruba boys. The Hausa boys burnt my house and the school in my compound. The massacre would have been worse if not for the ingenuity and intelligence of the Propertress. They would have killed all the children as the Hausa boys were shouting ‘slaughter them, slaughter them. I ran for my dear life.”

With police barricade visible everywhere and coupled with random patrol by men of Operation Mesa, a Lagos State internal security initiatives, the atmosphere at Agiliti is still tense with men of the Nigerian police stopping people and compelling some women to sit on the ground for having the effrontery to use their mobile phone.

At the Glorious Destiny School, located on No 20, Ajiliti Road, few metres away from the bridge that separates the community from the Mile 12 market, was a pitiable sight to behold. Sitting transfixed in front of the school was Mr. Oyeniyi who runs the school with his wife. Conducting our reporter round the school to see the enormity of destruction, the proprietess, Mrs. Elizabeth Oluwatoyin Oyeniyi, said they were able to escape with the children through the fence with the help of a ladder.

Narrating how it happened, she said “They immediately shut the school gate when they saw the marauding Hausa boys brandishing cutlasses, planks, axe, petrol and other dangerous weapons. We had no choice than to lock the gate. They started banging on the gate shouting ‘slaughter them. Slaughter them. Since we had no other escape root, the choice was to use the ladder in the school compound to cross the children into the next compound from where we took them to safety. It was an act of God that we were able to rescue my children.

‘Realizing that we have succeeded in rescuing the children, they set the school ablaze.”

A parent, whose chil, Maliki Fatai, a two-year old boy, was rescued said, she was confused and didn’t know what to do when the attack started. It was even more painful when I couldn’t even gained access into Agiliti from Mile 12 Market as the road was blocked.


The proprietess of the school, founded in 2004 with a population of over 100 students, called on the government to fortified security network in the country to prevent such incident again. Advising other school owners, Mrs. Oyeniyi said they should endeavour to spend more on securing the life of children entrusted to them by parents, explaining “if not that we had a strong school gate, the story would have been different.”

Efforts made to speak with the leader of the Hausa community at Mile 12 Market, Alhaji Aruna, failed as he was said to be attending a peace meeting.

On how to bring last peace to the community, Elder Adewumi called for the ban of Okada in the community, relocation of Mile 12 Market to Parafa at Ikorodu and to permanently station some soldiers at the Ajiliti junction. He added that the indiscipline coupled with the violation of traffic laws led to the crisis.

It would be recalled that crisis broke out last Thursday between the Hausa and Yoruba following the knocking down of a woman by an Hausa motorbike rider, leading to the death of the victim. As a result of the crisis that ensued, about four people were reportedly killed while scores were injured. Over 20 vehicles were burnt, several churches, schools, residential buildings and shops were either damaged or burnt.

ALSO SEE: Police rescues abducted school girls, arrest three suspects

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Fatai paraded 50 youths who are suspected to be members of Awawa cult group terrorising people in Lagos. Some of the boys and girls whose ages ranges between 15 21 years denied being members of the group but said they were arrested at their various places within the metropolis while carrying out their lawful activities. However, no one could debunk the tattoo on their body said to be Awawa mark as members.

Given the breakdown of arrest made in the last one month, CP Fatai said 26 armed robbers were nabbed; 50 Awawa cult boys; 49 live cartridges; 20 recovered vehicles; 11 arms were recovered. 981 persons were arrested during police raid, out of which 113 were screened out; 868 were charged to court; 313 were convicted; 57 were discharged and 298 are said to be awaiting trial. He added that that the police also impounded 720 motorbikes who violated government restriction of some major roads in Lagos.

He implored Lagosians to imbibe the law while calling on parents to monitor their children with a view to preventing them from engaging in criminal acts that would be inimical to their lives.

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