Barely one year ago, about 20 boys in Ajegunle, a suburb in Lagos metropolis popularly referred to as the ‘jungle city’ came together to form an association christened ‘One million boys’. The original motive for this according to investigation was to fight perceived injustices that are synonymous with the ‘City’. Initially, the association was growing from strength to strength and soon, they formed vigilante group to checkmate and fight crime and criminality in the community. This, they were even doing in collaboration with security agents.
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However, mid-way into its existence, some members of the association hijacked it and turned a hitherto crime fighting group into a sinister one; terrorizing the entire community, raping hapless women and robbing defenseless and unsuspecting residents. In fact, some victims and residents who spoke on condition of anonymity described the group as a thorn in the flesh of residents; stressing that until the police came to their rescue, the ‘boys’ had literally become kings of the jungle. Said a resident: “We are happy that the police have come to our rescue at last.
These ‘one million boys’ were doing whatever they liked in this community unchallenged. If they want to raid any street, they will first write a letter and send it through a small boy to the head of that street that they are coming and they will come as planned. And when they come, they would rob from one building to another, raping girls and women; even married women.
There was one bizarre situation when they reportedly raped a pregnant woman to death and forced a father to sleep with his daughter with a threat that if he does not comply, he would be killed. The man had no option than to do accordingly. Now that some of them have been arrested, we are sure that this community will have some peace. We are appealing for a continued raid and arrest because there is a popular one among them called Sanni, he is on the run. We heard he is a final year university student and the kingpin. If the police can get hold of this Sanni, I think we will heave a sigh of total relief.”
A member of the ‘One Million Boys’ who was identified as second- in- command, was cornered by Crime Alert and he opened up. Though initially, he was economical with the truth; he however buckled when he was assured of his immediate freedom if only he tells the truth.
Said he: “My name is Oyedikachi Nwagba, I am 24 years old from Abia state. I am a professional baker. I could not further my education after my secondary school because of poor financial background. My mother sells roasted plantain and yam along the road while my father is jobless. We are eight children in the family and I am the second child.
“It is poverty that drove me into becoming a baker. And of course, joining the ‘One Million Boys’ But when the idea to join ‘one Million Boys came, I embraced it thinking that it was a social club, and of course, it used to be until it was turned into another thing entirely. We used to act as vigilante group to fight armed robbers in the entire Ajegunle even some police men sometimes joined us to sit up during the nights.
However, one day, Sanni, the man that brought this gun (points at it) sold the idea that we can use it to rob and make good money. Sanni according to him is from Igara, he said he is a final university student. He would readily come to me at 18 Ladiga Street Ajegunle and show the gun and bullets to me and together with others we operated. So that was how we began.
Though, I won’t deny that I am not a member of the ‘boys’ but I do not participate in all the criminality they committed. I know that the ‘boys’ raped girls and women, robbed and did all kinds of bad things but I never participated. I am a baker with the Will of God Bakery, you can go and find out; it was Sanni that lured me into joining the gang.
It was him also that brought the gun which we normally use. He said him and members of his cult group used the gun in his school. When the police came for him, he escaped arrest and I am sure, if the police can arrest him, they will get more details of this ‘one million boys.’”
Briefing newsmen on the arrest of the ‘One million boys’, the Commissioner of Police CP Umar Manko said he had received complaints about the nefarious activities of the boys moments on assumption of office adding that, he quickly instructed his Divisional Police Officers DPOs and Area Commanders ACs to keep a tab on them. He said he had to order mass raid on identified hideouts and hotels used as their meeting points when complaints about criminal activities of the ‘boys’ became unbearable.
According to him, we have in our custody about 130 of these boys including four women. They were arrested at various criminal hideouts and hotels used as their meeting points. The suspects are there for you to talk to.” Reiterating the command’s determination to fight crime and criminality in Lagos state, CP Manko said, “I have said before and will keep saying it that this command will not rest on its oars until peace, and I mean total peace; returns to Lagos. We shall continue to do our best and prove our detractors wrong.”