17th June, 2013
At least 138 suspected hoodlums have been arrested in various parts of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, by officials of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit.
At least 66 of the hoodlums who pleaded guilty were sentenced to three months imprisonment by the Special Offences Court in Alausa, Ikeja, while the cases of others who pleaded not guilty are still ongoing.
The 138 hoodlums were arrested in different parts of the state by the taskforce in the last one week in a bid to rid the state of street urchins who terrorised innocent people and extort money from them.
The hoodlums were arrested at Oshodi, Egbeda, Igando, Suru Alaba, Ojuelegba, Orile Iganmu, Cele, Ijesha, Ojota, Costain, Mushin and Mile 2. On Monday, 10 June, 34 hoodlums, including seven children were arrested in Oshodi in the wee hours of the day. The seven children were taken to the Lagos State Remand Home to be rehabilitated, while the others were charged to court.
The following day, 28 more hoodlums were arrested during a raid at Egbeda area of the state and also charged to court. At least 31 hoodlums arrested within two days pleaded guilty and were sentenced to three months imprisonment or pay a fine of N30,000 each. Since they could not pay the fine, they were taken to prison.
In the wee hours of Thursday, 13 June, 76 hoodlums were arrested at different parts of the state. Upon screening, 16 of them were let off the hook as they were found to be innocent while the remaining 60 were charged to court.
At least 35 of the suspected hoodlums pleaded guilty and were sentenced to three months imprisonment with an option of N60,000 fine each. They could not pay the fine and had to be taken to prison.
Taskforce Chairman, Bayo Sulaiman said the taskforce would continue to arrest hoodlums on daily basis across the metropolis.
“It is unlawful to exhibit criminal act. Our vision is to rid them from the streets. We cannot sit back and allow them to operate unhindered. The exercise is continuous. Aside those who are touts, we have few o them who claim to be local government revenue agents.
“It is illegal for them to collect revenue on the highways. They call themselves local government traffic officers. The taskforce will stop at nothing to clamp down on them.
“If the local governments are issuing such tickets to them, they should stop it. Among those we have arrested, no local government has been able to come forward to say they are their agents,” Sulaiman explained.
He said the activities of hoodlums often resul in traffic gridlock as they stop vehicles to collect money from them on the highways.