One of the two suspects arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command has disclosed that he and other teenagers in Oshodi survive by stealing and dispossessing passers-by of their phones and other valuables.
The suspect, Yusuph Ahmed, 19, from Offa, Kwara State, said this to interrogators at the RRS headquarters in Alausa, Ikeja, on Friday afternoon.
Ahmed, who was arrested in Oshodi on Friday after dispossessing a passenger of his phone, stated that he along with other teenagers sleep in Oshodi under bridge and that it is from there they eke out a living by stealing phones and robbing passers-by of their valuables.
The arrested suspect, who had been sleeping under Oshodi Bridge since he was 13, stressed that even though he does not follow those who rob amongst them out all the time, he knows all of them.
He narrated that “I sleep in Oshodi Under Bridge. We are over 60 teenagers sleeping there. The adults sleep in Ori – Pako. I was 13 years old when I started sleeping there. I keep my clothes there…. I sleep around 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. There are some of us who do not sleep at all. They are the ones that alert us whenever the police is around. There are equally some who do not sleep because they go from one place to the other in Oshodi to rob. They rob late at night and very early in the morning.”
He continued: “After the death of my mother, my father abandoned us. He stopped taking care of us leaving us to fend for ourselves. Even the school, he stopped paying the monthly N600. I had to resort to packing granite to pay the monthly N600 for school fee.”
“At a point, I couldn’t cope with the fee. I was just 12. I dropped out and I decided to run to Lagos. Since then, Oshodi Under Bridge has been my home. Any phone I stole, I sell to Mohammed or Kudus. They are beggars in Oshodi. They buy most of the stolen phones from us,” the teenager added.
However, the stolen phone, a Tecno Y6, was recovered from Ahmed’s brother.
The second suspect, Yusuph Agbaje, 25, from Oyo State, was arrested in Agege for stealing a Blackberry curve from a commuter.
Responding to the development, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Police, Dolapo Badmos, said that the Police would leave no stone unturned in getting rid of criminal elements within the state, urging parents to monitor the activities of their wards.
The suspects have been transferred to the Lagos State Task force on Environment for prosecution.