When the news broke out that men of the Police and Department of State Security (DSS) had been attacked and killed by pipeline vandals in the Ikorodu area of Lagos, it came as a shock. What could have led to that unwarranted attack on the security operatives, many wondered?
The men were killed when they went to Arepo in Ikorodu to pay respect to one of their late colleague, according to reports. They went to honour a fallen comrade, not knowing that it would be their last. What an irony! In under a month, about 20 DSS operatives had been killed in Ikorodu!
First, 9 operatives were ambushed and slain at Konu Community, a border between Arepo in Ogun state and Ikorodu in Lagos State. The incident occurred around 5pm last Tuesday, barely 3 weeks after four policemen were shot dead by vandals in Ikorodu with their corpses suspected to have been taken away by the criminals. On Wednesday also, another team of DSS officers numbering 7 were also attacked and killed at the Ishawo area of Ikorodu.
How cold it is to take innocent lives? How barbaric and wicked, indeed how cruel and heartless it is to cut down the lives of anyone when they least expected it. It was not in a time of war, or the men would have been preferred. They were not forewarned, or they would have been on the lookout. They would have fought to defend themselves. They would have returned fire and taken their assailants with them to the great yonder.
But no, they were ambushed and slaughtered by hoodlums, pipeline vandals, as though they were a bunch of rodents. Today, the police are mourning the loss of some of their own, and the nation is shocked to find that supposed miscreants could unleash that much horror.
This slaughter has gone far enough. Now, the respective authorities must brace up to the task to get to the root of the problem. Why are the vandals having a field day in terminating the lives of security operatives? The operatives in question are responsible men, family men with wives and children. Why are the vandals going on unchallenged by the authorities? Are we going to stand aloof until it happens again? Are we going to feign ignorance until more lives are extinguished in broad daylight?
The respective authorities are called upon to act decisively now. If the vandals could exhibit this much affront in dealing with men of our security outfits, imagine what they’ll do to civilians. Residents in the affected area in Ikorodu have already told reporters that they’re living in fear. The vandals go unchallenged and they’re spitting on the graves of those innocent officers.
The community and traditional leaders and elders in Ikorodu should also take it upon themselves to liaise with the police and government to identify the sponsors and backbones of those hoodlums. They are, after all, members of the community. They can be fished out. Leaders in Ikorodu should be able to identify the criminals in their midst and feed the relevant agencies with required information. It is in their interest that the carnage ends now.