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Residents of Ever Winning Avenue, in the Isheri Osun area of Lagos State, have fled the area after two landlords and a woman were kidnapped by gunmen.
It was gathered that no fewer than 500 residents had relocated from the area. Residents seen by our correspondent on Tuesday in the area claimed that only 15 persons were left in the community.
We learnt that the the dwellers started fleeing on Friday when the gunmen, numbering about eight, invaded the neighbourhood and abducted a woman, identified simply as Iya Mitchell.
A resident said as the community grappled with how to raise the N6m ransom reportedly demanded to free the woman, the kidnappers stormed the community again on Monday and seized two landlords.
The names of the landlords were given as one Okon, a retired customs officer, and one Felix, who deals in electrical materials.
Only a few residents were in sight while commercial activities had been stalled when our correspondent visited the area on Tuesday.
A community leader, who spoke to Gistnation Media on condition of anonymity, said the gunmen sneaked in through a bush path that linked the area with FESTAC Town.
He said, “Some of us were relaxing outside around 7pm on Friday when we heard gunshots. We fled in different directions.
“After they had abducted Iya Mitchell, they went to another building, but the residents had fled. The entrance door of the building was riddled with bullets. We reported the matter at the Isheri Police Division and policemen came, but they left after some minutes.
“The following day, they called the woman’s husband for a ransom. I learnt they asked for N6m, but they are still negotiating. On Monday, around 7.30pm, they came again and took Mr. Okon and Felix. The gunmen were many.
“We are over 500 that live here. You can see how many of us are left. As soon as my children return from school today, we are leaving too.”
A resident, who gave his name as Isiaka Rufai, said there was the need for military presence in the community to restore peace and avert a recurrence. He urged the government to take urgent actions to ensure the release of the victims.
“We are no longer safe here and that was why a lot of people packed out. Until Friday when the first kidnap happened, this community used to be lively. The police alone cannot secure this place. We also need military men to be here always. That is the only way we can be assured of our safety,” he said.
A woman, who declined to give her name, said she had relocated to Ijegun with her children, adding that she only came back to pick some household items.
She said, “I didn’t sleep here yesterday (Monday) after the two landlords were kidnapped. I cannot continue to live here, believing that my family is safe. If any of us is kidnapped, how do we get money to pay a ransom? My husband said he would wait behind, but I have warned him.”
Another resident, Tobi Adejare, told us that the area became porous two years ago.
“The bush path is being used to link FESTAC Town; the security of our community has been breached,” he added.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the police would ensure that the victims were rescued safely.
She said, “Three people were abducted. The case is under investigation and efforts are on to rescue them and arrest the perpetrators.”
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