olugbenga osunkoya
Jun 13, 2017 · 4 min read

ECHOES FROM OSHODI

Photo credit: Nairaland

The kind of unofficial recognition that thuggery has been given in Lagos has been very alarming going by the recent expose last week which has left much to be desired. One begins to wonder if there are laws in Lagos and if we have a Chief security officer who should take responsibility for every single citizen in the state and ensure safety of lives and property.

The National union of road transport workers and associated transport unions have constituted themselves into parallel governments across the state with military tendencies as evidenced by the careful and precise execution of “coups” to overthrow supposed leaders whose administration does not go down well with them; in this part of the country, this act is called “won ti gba garage” (they have taken over the garage). These youths and sometimes elders referred to in local parlance as “eru iku” (angel of death ) become tin gods simply because they are the ones used to intimidate voters at election periods, they are equally well armed with all sorts of weapons and ammunitions which they fail to return to the so called politicians after the elections and are thereafter sometimes used as blackmail to extort more money knowing full well that the politicians cannot make any noise about it.

A video surfaced online and has been circulating on social media since last week detailing the kind of gang wars going on in that hood all in a bid for supremacy of one group over another. These gang wars and the reprisal attacks are known in the streets as “purche” . This so called video has a factional leader narrating the wars that seem unending and this made me recall a documentary the BBC ran at a time on the union activities in motor parks in Lagos and the menace they have turned into and a book I read titled “A swamp full of dollars” by David Peel which gave a detailed description of how these wars go down. The online video had a guy with a very funny nickname making allegations against another faction and a prominent Godfather politician in the state as being privy to all these and gave them huge sums of money all in a bid to placate them and at the same time he was pleading with the faction that seem to be having the upper hand to please spare his life since most of the ring leaders of his own faction has been “taken down” one after the other. He reeled out such funny names of some of the hydra headed monsters causing unimaginable mayhem in the hood unabated. You shudder at the kind of names that are or have been the major actors in this ghetto; names such as MC Oluomo, Late Mammock, Koko Zaria, Golden, Nayam, Mewuru, Papi, Owoseni, Ahmed, Late Esi Oluwo, Late Rasaq Hamburger, Talo Skibo Oshodi, Sulia, Admistration, Afis just to mention a few I could pick from his allegations. The narrator was nicknamed Talo Skibo Oshodi and surprisingly these guys control millions of naira that graduates with degrees don’t dream of and probably started seeing or hearing of in the recent EFCC discoveries while the drivers and conductors who pay them all these different levies are sometimes left with little or nothing to take home at the end of the day.

These youths have been so conditioned that this kind of lifestyle remains their only means of survival and they do not really bother to fix it. But do you really blame them? The politicians share in this blame as they are the ones who empower and embolden them with the excuse that they are the ones who go out to vote on election days since elites prefer to stay back in the comfort of their homes on election days.

The warriors are sometimes referred to as “Ajagun gbales” as a result of the wars they carry out just to depose their union and motor park leaders to install their own and the cycle goes on. The government and especially Lagos State government should as much as possible discourage these kind of brazen disregard for the law and probably strictly regulate their activities as we may never be able to cope with the aftermath if not checked and nipped in the bud.

We hope and pray that a lasting solution will be found by the Lagos state government to all the atrocities that go on in these motor parks in Lagos so we may live in peace.

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