– The recent surge in criminal activity in Lagos state is blamed on militiamen and ex-militants – The ex-militants lost their livelihood when President Muhammadu Buhari cancelled their pipeline protection contracts – The bandits are now involved in crime as a profitable and less risky way of making easy money
Militiamen as well as ex-militants have invaded Lagos and are blamed for the rise in cases of kidnappings, robberies and other criminal activities in the state, according to intelligence reports from the police.
Sources in the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) told The Punch that there are strong indications that some of the ex-militants are responsible for the recent upsurge in crime in the state after they lost their source of livelihood when President Muhammadu Buhari cancelled their pipeline protection contracts. The invasion by the ex-militants in Lagos is posing challenges to the police and other security agencies who are finding it difficult to control the proliferation of firearms in the possession of the renegade militiamen who have now turned to kidnapping and robbery as an alternative way to make easy money. “Since abduction seems to be profitable and less risky, jobless ex-militants and militia group members seem to have found a lucrative business in the kidnapping of hapless citizens,” a senior DSS official said.
Under the administration of Goodluck Jonathan six companies were awarded contracts to guard pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The pipeline security and surveillance contract, said to have been worth N9.3bn, was carried out between March 15 and June 15, 2015. Some of the companies awarded the pipeline surveillance contract were owned by former Niger Delta militants, self-determination groups and prominent Nigerians including Government Tompolo Ekpumopolo, Mujaheedin Asari-Dokubo, Ateke Toms, Bipobiri Ajube and Ebikabowei Victor Ben (Boyloaf). Others are the compaies of the founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) Fredrick Fasehun and the OPC national co-ordinator, Gani Adams. However, President Buhari did not renew the pipeline protection contracts awarded to the OPC and other militia groups by the Jonathan administration.
Since then, Lagos state has witnessed a series of robbery attacks between last year and now. There have also been cases of kidnapping, the latest being the abduction of three schoolgirls from the Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu, on Monday, February 29. The abductors of the three students have reportedly reduced the ransom from 100 million to 20 million, This Day reports. The police in Lagos have deployed several sniffer dogs in search of the culprits and beefed up security in schools in Ikorodu owing to the unsuccessful attack on Owutu Government College by the same gang. The command has also deployed a newly acquired forensic laboratory vehicle to the scene to help analyse all clues recovered from the school. The House of Representatives has mandated the inspector general of the police, Solomon Arase, to intensify efforts towards the rescue of the three girls. The resolution by the House followed a motion on matters of urgent public importance entitled “Urgent need to seek the release of abducted female students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu” sponsored by Babjimi Benson on Wednesday, March 2.