The life of a busy man will never be complete without a period of each day set out for rest. Nature must be obeyed and scientists have come to recommend a mandatory 12-hour sleep at night for everyone. More so, night times are meant to be enjoyed by couples over exquisite dinner’s at restaurants or friends hanging out at bars for a quick drink, after a busy day at work. Market women even work late hours, for those running late from work and who were not chanced to shop at daytime.
However, every big city has its own downside, and every positive side has a negative side. Night life in Lagos, has been taken over by fear; the fear of hoodlums, gang members and thieves who lurk around at bus stops and in traffic, just to perpetrate evil. Some unwary passers-by are sometimes robbed, lynched, raped or even killed.
The police can not be everywhere, but it is imperative that we take caution and avoid these major hotbeds of hoodlums and thieves in Lagos.
Oshodi has a legend that never seems to go away. Its name has come to inspire fear – even after the popular renovation and rehabilitation carried out there by the immediate past governor of the State, Babatunde Raji Fashola. Oshodi seems to be returning to its former terrible state, stories have begun to resurface of handbag-snatching, extortion, robbery and other such vices –particularly at night. I have even be accosted at day, around the rail way area, but for my vigilance I was able to escape unhurt…..thanks to daylight.
Oshodi Heritage Park, the railway area, down to Bolade bus stop, the top of Oshodi bridge down to Charity bus stop should be greatly avoided at night.
The large space under the bridge at Obalende is known to be home to different kinds of people. During the day and at night, people are seen there – sleeping, resting, cooking and sometimes, bathing. There is a small pool of dirty water in the middle of this space.
According to residents, some of the boys are known to hang along the bridge in the evenings in the hope that a private vehicle would break down. When this happens, they emerge out of the shadows and either extort money from the driver or attack him or vandalise the car or do whatever else it is, they please.
Shitta is the bus stop under the bridge at Teslim Balogun Stadium at Surulere. It is a known spot for smokers. Residents say it is to be avoided completely at night – whenever possible.
A resident who works on the Island but lives at Games Village, Surulere, said: “I often pass through Shitta Roundabout on my way back from work. If you are going into Shitta for real, I just think it is safer in the daytime. Thugs and weed aren’t the mix you will want to get yourself in the middle of.”
Iyana-Ipaja is one of the most densely-populated areas in Lagos – whether in the day or at night. It sits between Ikeja (where many people work) and the suburbs of Egbeda, Egbe, and Shasha (where many people live). Residents emphasised the need for passers-by to always hold on to their valuables firmly.
Only weeks ago, members of the Task Force destroyed all the stalls illegally erected along the street and arrested some of the traders. However, a visit to the market on Tuesday revealed that many of the traders had returned.
The Gang Territories
The recent increase in the rate of gang crimes in Lagos poses a great danger. Many of the gang fights have occurred in broad daylight and victims have included innocent passersby.
Among the gang territories are Mushin, Fadeyi, Oworonshoki and parts of Somolu and Bariga.
A resident who narrated an incident that occurred only on Friday last week, during the festivities, right in front of his home at New Garage, Iyana-Oworonshoki:
“We didn’t know what was happening until shops began to close suddenly and people started waiting outside. Then we saw a bunch of hoodlums fighting and one was already beaten and was covered with blood. We saw all of that from behind our windows. My brother and I called 767 which is the emergency line, and we were surprised because they came ten minutes later. The police fired a gunshot and the hoodlums ran away; none of them was caught. Sadly someone who was passing by was shot, and was rushed to the hospital. Everything happened between 5.30 and 6.30 pm.”
Ketu-Alapere/Toll Gate Junction
This is a junction with a winding road that leads to Ketu, and a straight road that leads to Toll Gate. It is an eerily quiet place, with shades formed by the lush trees all around it. A BRT park can be seen below. Over the other side, a large settlement sits over an expansive area often called “Chinese”.
Crimes as heinous as kidnapping and rape – many of them unreported – are said to be rampant here, according to residents.
Boundary Bus Stop is a busy spot located on Bale Street at Ajegunle. It is largely residential, even though many businesses are sited there. It is sandwiched by many equally dense areas: Alaba, Amukoko, Apapa and Ajeromi-Ifelodun.
A resident at Apapa said: “It is a hugely populated area. In the day, it is OK, because there is really nothing anybody can do to you. But at night, it becomes a terrible place. You will notice that people are always in a hurry, because you never know when somebody might attack you or snatch your stuff, and you know that in Lagos, people don’t usually come to your aid quickly when you are in danger.”
Boundary is particularly seen as a haven for young men who are unemployed, and always on the lookout for money and trouble.
Banire is a bus stop just before Egbeda. It is close to Iyana-Ipaja, and is only a few metres away from Gowon Estate.
“That place houses some of the worst guys around Egbeda community,” a resident said. “They smoke weed; they snatch bags, pick pockets. I grew up there.”
High traffic zones
Areas where heavy gridlock occurs, particularly in the evenings, are known to be good spots for a special kind of robbery. Another resident narrated his experience.
“I was on a bus to Iyana-Ipaja, in the middle of a traffic jam. I sat in front, beside the driver. And suddenly somebody from outside snatched my Blackberry and my wallet which I had kept on my laps, and disappeared.”
Some of the places where such incidents occur are Ikeja-Iyana-Ipaja Road, Oshodi-Ikotun Road, and Apapa-Mile 2 Road. Passengers are often advised to keep their valuables in their bags or pockets, especially when they sit close to the window.
Berger is a well-known area, and a popular entry point to Lagos State: it is the border town between Lagos and Ogun states.
Perhaps the first thing that claims a visitor’s attention is the area’s vastness, with buildings that appear to sit on different layers of land.
Berger is known to be the home of “hustlers”. There are many road transport officials who “lie in wait,” for unwary drivers, especially visitors to Lagos; extortions are made in the name of “Lagos State Traffic Laws”.
Armed robbery is also rampant, as people appear to come from “everywhere and nowhere” all at the same time.