18th July, 2011
The Lagos State Taskforce on Environment and Offences (Enforcement) Unit has arrested more street urchins, popularly known as area boys in Oshodi, Lagos, southwest Nigeria in a bid to sanitise the area and rid it of criminals.
At least, 45 area boys were arrested on Thursday in a raid that lasted for hours as armed policemen stormed Oshodi unannounced and immediately swooped on the social miscreants and hurled them into the Black Maria. Three weeks ago, about 119 of them were arrested in Oshodi and arraigned at the Special Offences Court at Alausa in Ikeja.
It was gathered that the street urchins took to their heels on sighting the taskforce officials while those who were not so lucky were arrested and taken to Alausa. The Lagos State government had declared war on area boys as majority of them constitute threats to the society. They snatch valuables from innocent Lagosians at will and with impunity. When contacted, the Chairman, Taskforce, Supol Bayo Sulaiman said the raid on area boys in Oshodi was in a renewed effort to recover â€œwhat we achieved in the past years by arresting the area boys.â€
He said the taskforce had been able to chase off traders from the road in Oshodi and ensure smooth traffic flow but lamented that area boys had become something else.
â€œOur aim is to stem the crime rate and ensure that miscreants do not return to Oshodi again. The raid on these area boys will be on routine basis,â€ he said.
According to Sulaiman, those arrested would be charged to court and if found guilty, they would be punished according to the laws of the state.
He stated that Lagos did not want area boys again and that those wanted to continue in the act should leave Lagos as the taskforce would make their stay in the state unbearable.
Sulaiman said that the taskforce had cleared Bariga of street trading, adding that taskforce officials were fully on ground to ensure that the traders do not return to the streets.