At least seven residents of Otodo Gbame, an Egun community in the Lekki Phase 1 area of Lagos State have been declared missing after a clash between the residents and some Yoruba youths, alleged to be landgrabbers.
It was gathered that over the weekend, three corpses of residents, believed to have jumped into a river during the crisis, were seen floating. Residents also claimed that a total of 11 persons had lost their lives in the clash.
The missing residents were identified as Akuwayon Mawewang, Jeremiah Abode, Babajide Jinu, Hunu Agonbabo, Tenseme Fofeyon, Auyiho Mawugi and Temidire Aishat.
Nine of the corpses recovered by residents from a river in the community were identified as Babajide Tosihun, Mfinrinfo Esinfo, Sosu Abosede, a pregnant woman, Bose Alade, one John, Thoto Avonba, Sesinu Ahiaboji, Hosu Wejede and Mawuyon Oviawe.
It was reported that the crisis erupted two Sundays ago when the Yoruba youths demanded that the Egun community should relocate from the area.
Policemen from the Area J Command, Ajah, and the Rapid Response Squad, Ikeja, were said to have stormed the area to restore peace, Punch reports.
A resident, who gave his name as Stephen Emmanuel, who lost two of his children, Maryam and Samuel Emmanuel, told newsmen that the deceased jumped into the river while escaping from the rampaging youths.
Emmanuel, a commercial driver, said, “I was at work when they called me on the telephone that there was trouble in the community. My two children were trying to escape from the fire and jumped into the river. That was how they drowned. We recovered their corpses the following day.”
The Egun community youths leader, Norbet Abraham, said, “There are seven people that we have not seen. On Saturday, we recovered three more corpses. As we were taking them away from the river, some youths accompanied by policemen stopped us at about 10.30am and started shooting, forcing us to abandon the corpses and flee.
“There are 11 deceased so far, including a pregnant woman and two children. Some powerful persons have paid the police to ensure that we are shut out and they do not allow us into the community. Our community leader is also in custody. He is being held at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department in Panti, Yaba.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the police had restored normalcy to the area, and the suspects arrested in the violence had been charged to court.
She said, “Anyone with reliable report should come forward with it, and the command will investigate and deal with it decisively. The command does not have any report of death or missing person. The police do not rely on hearsays. Hearsays are not admissible in court.”