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Ogun residents lament incessant robberies, police indifference

Ogun residents lament incessant robberies, police indifference

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Oluwatobi Akindele

Residents of Victory Estate, Ota, Ogun State, have lamented incessant robberies in the area.

They also complained about alleged police extortion of victims and indifference in handling reported robbery cases.

Residents told PUNCH Metro that the attacks had been going on for more than a year, adding that anytime they were reported, policemen allegedly demanded bribes from victims for investigation.

They also alleged that anytime suspects were caught and handed over to the police, they were released without any prosecution.

One of the residents, Mr Segun Irase, said the hoodlums had broken into his house three times.

He said, “The first time they came, I was able to alert my neighbours, so they ran away. They came again at another time and they succeeded in their mission. Recently, they broke into my house again and I raised the alarm; they ran away.

“The time they succeeded in robbing me, I went to the police to report because they left knives, cutlasses and some planks behind. I took the weapons to the police, but the cops asked for money despite my loss. They said if I was serious about the case, I should give them money.

“I have abandoned my house; I don’t stay there anymore. I just go there occasionally to look at how things are because my life is more important to me. Until security improves, I do not intend going back there.”

Irase said he believed that there was an insider on the estate that had been aiding the robbers.

Another resident, Wasiu Opaleye, said he was robbed in December 2017.

He said, “When the robbers came to my house, they took some valuables. When we reported to the police, they asked if I suspected anybody and I said I did not suspect anybody. They said they would carry out their investigation; we did not hear anything from them again.”

A house owner, Mr Olaniyi Salami, who had yet to move in said his apartment was burgled about two months ago.

Salami said, “They broke in through the boys’ quarters’ ceiling and from there, they went into the main building and removed all the wires that were installed in the house. They were able to go away with them.  I learnt they went to another house and one of the hoodlums was caught two weeks ago.”

The community development association chairman, Mr Tajudeen Hassan, said the hoodlums had started operating during the day, adding that in the last one month the residents had apprehended six of them.

He said, “A thief that was caught last week Saturday was apprehended in the afternoon.

“The gang came at night, but because we had security, they hid in an uncompleted building till the following day. They sent one of them to check the way for them and that was when he was accosted. By the time he took us to where the other gang members were, they had escaped.

“Whenever there is an attack and we call the police, they will not come. When we take the robbers to them, they frustrate us by demanding money.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, however, said the Ogun command was not aware of any robbery on the estate, adding that the police would never release a suspect without charging him to court.

He said, “There is no way the residents will arrest a suspected thief or robber and the police will release the person without prosecution. Even if the suspect is granted bail, that does not mean the end of the case. But when people report a case and we charge it to court, they will not come to court to give evidence. How do you want the court to convict that person?

“People always like to whip up sentiment for nothing. There is no way you will report a case to the police and the police will ask you for money. If such a thing happened, they should make it known to the Area Commander of the area or to the Commissioner of Police. If they have challenges in terms of security, the best thing is to report to the police.”

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