Recently, Ikorodu area of Lagos was thrown into confusion as suspected militants struck at Woodland Estate area, Ishawo in Ikorodu. At the end of it all, two soldiers and five policemen were reportedly killed by the supposed militants. According to reports, the gallant security operatives were killed after effectively rescuing kidnapped victims kept in the creeks of Ikorodu by the militants.
While commiserating with the families of the fallen officers, the Lagos State Government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, reassured members of the public that every effort would be made to ensure their killers are nabbed and made to face the full wrath of the law. Ayorinde further affirmed that rather than unnerve the State Government, the unfortunate Ishawo incidence would further reinforce government’s resolve to go after criminal elements and their collaborators who are using coastal areas and illegal waterfront settlements as hideouts to perpetrate their nefarious activities.
Barely a few days after making that declaration, the Nigerian Police revealed that the mastermind of the Ikorodu killings, Endurance Ominisan, aka Mighty has been killed in a gun battle with the Police. According to reports, Ominisan, a native of Arogbo in Ondo State, was arrested by men of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IGP IRT) during a battle with the Police in Lagos. He eventually died as a result of severe wounds he sustained courtesy of a fierce gun duel with the Police. Before his death, Ominisan reportedly confessed that he led the gang that killed the two soldiers and five policemen at Ishawo. He equally allegedly confessed to being the mastermind of the kidnap of Oniba of Iba, kidnap of Turkish school girls among numerous others.
Ominisan was said to have met his waterloo after he purportedly came out from his hideout in the Ikorodu creeks to hang out with his girlfriend. It was his rendezvous with the supposed girlfriend that ultimately gave him out to men of the IGP IRT team who unknown to him had been on his trail for quite some time. He was trailed to the apartment he purportedly rented for his girlfriend at Ibeshe area of Ikorodu. To forestall any hope of Ominisan’s escape, the IRT team reportedly cordoned off the house and its entire environs. In an attempt to escape being caught, Ominisan took refuge at the roof of the building where, using his pistol, he began to fire several shots at the IRT team.
He, however, fell to the superior firing power of the IRT team as he was fatally injured. Weak and worn out, Ominisan was brought down from the roof of the house and rushed to the General Hospital, Ikorodu where he later died. Items recovered from him include a pistol with serial number 12TF00126 with four expended and five live ammunition. With the vital information he spilled out before his death, the Police are currently making efforts to crackdown on his remaining gang members.
In-spite of the commendable exploit of getting rid of ‘Mighty’ Ominisan, it is gratifying to note that the Police and other security operatives aren’t in any way resting on their oars. In a bid to ensure that the entire creeks around Ikorodu and its environs are completely free of the likes of Ominisan, officers and men of the Lagos State Police command, led by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, recently invaded and utterly destroyed criminal hideouts across Ikorodu creeks. In the process, some criminals were apprehended and investigations are ongoing to discover their level of involvement in criminal activities in the area.
It should be stressed that the multi dimensional approach of security operatives to tackling the nuisance of criminals across creeks in Lagos and its environs is undoubtedly yielding creditable results. It will be recalled that the Operation Awatse (Awatse is an Hausa word for scatter), a joint Task Force deployed to take care of the activities of militants and vandals around the creeks of Lagos and Ogun states, have been working tirelessly to eliminate criminals and prevent criminal activities across the creeks of the two states . On several occasions, in 2016, officers and men of the joint Task Force struck and destroyed quite a number of notorious camps and apprehended many criminals.
A few weeks ago, Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, reiterated that the military would not leave the creeks to the criminals, disclosing that all areas identified to be dominated by criminal gangs were under military watch. He said: “We are working round-the-clock with other security agencies to maintain peace and eliminate any threat to security. We will act where and when necessary, not only in Lagos and Ogun, but other identified areas, which are prevalent or dominated by criminal gangs such as kidnappers, terrorists or militants”.
In most cases, we are often too quick to condemn security operatives for their slothfulness in apprehending criminals. But then, the truth is that the Police like every other state’s institution are a part of the larger society and as such is not immune from the fallouts of major societal challenges. Therefore, they should be encouraged by all and sundry in the risky task of securing the citizenry.
The Ikorodu killings call attention to the urgent need to empower youths across the country. Hence, faith based organisations, key socio-cultural bodies, related government agencies and other youth based stakeholders should continue to invest in the development of the youth. This is the best way to safeguard the future of our beloved country.
Equally, all the partners of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund must not relent in their efforts towards continuously equipping and empowering the Lagos State Police Command in the onerous task of checkmating criminals in the State. It is only a common frontal response that could effectively forestall future occurrence of such dastardly act as the one recently experienced in Ikorodu. Public security cannot be obtained without the active involvement, participation and support of everyone in the society.
Despite the magnitude of the Lagos State government investment in public security, there are still herculean challenges that government’s resources alone cannot tackle. In as much as everyone in a state pursues varied interests, the pursuit of public security should, nevertheless, be the common goal of all. The involvement and participation of individuals and non-governmental actors in the issues of public security is, therefore, a necessity for the actualization of a secured society.
Ogunbiyi is of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos