By Moses Omorogieva / Henry Oladele
Residents of Isawo in Ikorodu, Lagos State, say they now live in palpable fear following the return of militants who are terrorising people in the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the militants, mostly kidnapers and pipeline vandals, were chased out of the area in August last year following bloody clashes in the community.
Scores of people were killed in 2016 during clashes between militants and residents of Isawo community, leading to the deployment of a joint military taskforce in the area.
Residents told NAN on Monday that many of the hoodlums had returned to Isawo and neighbouring communities, robbing and terrorising residents.
“The militants are back to Isawo area. They brandish guns openly during daytime and rob people at night; many residents are now living in fear.
“The men are boasting that they are back to revenge the killings of their people in Isawo last year.
“For instance, Olusola Oke Street junction in Isawo near Majidun is one of the militants’ meeting points where they smoke Indian hemp openly.
“Residents don’t go out daily until 7 a.m., and before 6 p.m., everyone is back home,’’ a female resident, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN in Isawo.
She said some residents had relocated from the area for their safety since the return of the hoodlums.
Another resident, who also sought anonymity, told NAN: “When we thought that these people were gone forever, they came again.
“We want the military and the police to check them before they start killing again.’’
Reacting to the development, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, Lagos State Police spokesman, told NAN that the command was re-strategizing the security arrangements in the state, including Ikorodu area.
Famous-Cole said more police patrol teams would be deployed in the area, and urged residents to provide useful information on the activities of the hoodlums.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Fergusson Bobai, told NAN:”I don’t have any report yet to suggest that militants are back in those areas.
“But Lagos State Governor has approved the return of swamp buggies to open up the creeks in those areas to enable us carry out in-depth patrols,” he said.
The swamp buggy is a motor vehicle used to traverse boggy swamp terrain.
Buggies are able to move about on dry land, shallow mud, sand, shallow water and deep mud.
NAN recalls that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Idris Ibrahim, on Aug. 4, 2016 visited Isawo creeks in Ikorodu neighbourhood over the activities of militants.