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Soldiers comb Lagos for touts, area boys

Posted by By CHRIS ANUCHA, TESSY OKOYE and JULIANA FRANCIS on 2005/05/25 | Views: 523 |

Soldiers comb Lagos for touts, area boys


Soldiers, who were piqued that motor park touts and street urchins, popularly called area boys, killed one of their colleagues, Tuesday combed the nooks and crannies of Lagos on revenge mission.

Soldiers, who were piqued that motor park touts and street urchins, popularly called area boys, killed one of their colleagues, Tuesday combed the nooks and crannies of Lagos on revenge mission.

In the operation, scores of area boys were arrested, while more than 45 offices of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) were set ablaze.

Daily Sun gathered that area boys, who were arrested by the soldier were taken to barracks and beaten with chains and sticks.

However, it appeared the soldiers did not get the backing of their superiors as a high ranking officer Tuesday, arrested one soldier who he dragged to Ikeja Military Cantonment, where he was flogged with belt.

Following the officer’s action, soldiers who had taken over Oshodi, disappeared from the scene.
Soldiers had invaded areas where there was high concentration of area boys as early as 5am, picking those they could lay their hands on. They were in Oshodi, Orile, Ojuelegba, Ikeja, Mushin, Iyana-Iba, Onipanu, Ketu, Okokomaiko etc. While they operated, passers-by were asked to raise their hands.
Incidentally, while the hunt for the touts was going on, market women and drivers jubilated over what they believed was the end of the free reign of touts who forcibly extort illegal levies from them.

But a leader of the NURTW, Mr Saula Saka, who spoke with Daily Sun, described the soldiers’ action as unlawful. He said: "They were supposed to take matters to the appropriate quarters. The people who are supposed to maintain the law are breaking it. They’ve done extensive damages to our offices and seriously wounded our boys. Go to Oshodi and see.
"They cannot say because one person has committed an offence, everybody must suffer for it. We leave them to God."

Meanwhile, the angry soldiers have called for the head of Lagos Governor, Alhaji Bola Tinubu, who they accused of condoling the reign of area boys.
Also, they placed some leaders of NURTW, including the chairman at Mosafejo garage, identified as "Oluwo," on their wanted list.

"When rain falls and fire burns, one must give way," the soldiers were chanting Tuesday, adding: "Today area boys must give way! Fire must always give way for rain!!"
The soldiers have vowed that the raid would continue until they end the menace of touts in Lagos.
However, no less than 15 soldiers are being detained at Army formations for allegedly carrying out illegal duties during the crisis.

Daily Sun gathered that both the soldiers and area boys were asked to sit on the ground under the scorching sun.

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