Samson Folarin and Olaleye Aluko
Odunfa Street, in the Adeniji Adele area, Lagos Island, was a theatre of war after supporters of a masquerader clashed with some youths on Sunday, leading to the death of two persons.
It was gathered that an event meant to be the annual celebration of the masquerader, identified as Adakeja Masquerade, turned bloody, during which a 19-year-old, Charles Igbinovia, and one yet-to-be identified man, were killed. Several others were reportedly injured.
Our correspondents learnt that the mayhem occurred around 5pm after the masquerader ignored an order by a chief in the area that he should not celebrate the festival because of violence that was perpetrated during past festivals.
PUNCH Metro gathered that some youths, who were loyal to the chief, tried to enforce the order, but supporters of the masquerader allegedly unleashed mayhem on the youths, resulting in the deaths.
Policemen from the Adeniji Adele division reportedly went to the area to restore normalcy and remove Igbinovia’s corpse, while the other corpse was taken away by one of the warring parties.
When PUNCH Metro visited the area, a resident, identified only as Lateefat, said the supporters of the masquerader were from the Idumota area, and had insisted that the festival must hold.
He said, “The youths from the Idumota area had prepared for the festival. They had bought food, drinks and clothes. They were not willing to listen to the order of the chief. They went on the rampage and destroyed vehicles parked by the roadside.
“They also vandalised people’s shops. However, some youths from Onala Street came out and faced their counterparts from the Idumota area, including Okepopo, Olushi, Evans and Otaki streets.”
Another resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Sunday clash was an outcome of a resentment that had been brewing between Onala youths and the Idumota boys.
He said, “There had been disputes between Idumota boys and Onala boys for some time now, which had been settled. However, last Sunday, the fight was rekindled when the masquerader came out.
“On that day, the masquerader moved from Idumota and passed through Onala. Those following the masquerader started spraying water on Onala youths. Those ones felt insulted and claimed that Idumota boys disrespected them.
“The Onala boys chased them with sticks, while the other group fought back with cutlasses and two people were killed. The deceased were from both sides.”
A police source said Igbinovia lived on Okesuna Street and it was his younger brother who found his corpse and reported at the station.
He said, “The corpse was deposited at the morgue of the Lagos Island General Hospital. However, while the police were investigating the case, the deceased’s father, Emmanuel, came to the station to say he was not interested in the case.
“He said he had warned his son several times to desist from violence.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed Igbinovia’s death, adding that the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, was in the area on Tuesday to meet with some stakeholders and to deliberate how to forestall a recurrence.
She said, “The boy was killed on Odunfa Street during a street fight. The corpse has been released to the family for burial. The police are putting proactive measures in place to prevent reprisals. Effort is also being intensified to arrest the fleeing culprits.
“CP Fatai Owoseni was in the area on Tuesday for a meeting with stakeholders to deliberate on community policing as a means of ending clashes that are basically because of territorial control.”