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Attacks on Lagos communities executed by hoodlums not protesters

4 mins read

Claim: viral video has claimed that protesters are involved in attacks in Ebute Metta communities in Lagos.

False

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A viral video showing a group of young men vandalising cars on a street said to be in Ebute Metta area of Lagos has gone viral on WhatsApp.

The same video was posted by Segun Awosanya, popularly known as @Segalink, human rights activist and Twitter Influencer on 14th October, with a caption urging protesters to work together to not be blamed for the disturbance. 

“This was alleged to have happened in Ebute metta yesterday night. We need to close ranks and allow security operatives to resume their patrol duties lest insecurity is blamed on the agitation. The struggle didn’t start on the streets. It shouldn’t cost us more than necessary. Folded hands” – @Segalink

The video, since published, has garnered over 2.7K likes and 2.2K retweets. And while there have been speculations that the boys wreaking havoc were protesters from the #EndSARS movement, comments from residents of Ebute Metta have identified those involved in damaging of cars as cult members who have been terrorizing the area from years back.

One user quoting the tweet from Segalink also said, ‘Hi @Segalink, I stay at Ebute Metta and was very much aware of this incident; they’ve been causing and wreaking havoc like this for a week now over turf/cult wars… There are two police stations nearby (Denton/Panti), none respond to our calls when they start raging!!!’

VERIFICATION 

In the bid to set the record straight, Dubawa copied the link to the video and pasted it in the InVid FakeNews Debunker extension which produced several results unrelated to the video in view. This usually happens when the video is new on the internet. 

As the first attempt proved futile, Dubawa conducted a keyword to trace everywhere the video has appeared and compared the accompanying captions. We found a tweet that reveals the name of the street where the event in the video took place as Freeman Street, Ebute-Metta, Yaba, Lagos State, just as the voice in the video has said. 

What are residents saying?

In furtherance to our search, Dubawa reached out to some residents of the area by phone; they all requested to be anonymous for fear of being traced. Dubawa changed the names of the respondents to shield their identities.

In a phone conversation, Tolani, a resident, gave a short account of the incident.

She said, “It happened around 7:30 in the evening. I was inside. They were breaking people’s cars, we called the Police but they did not come. They came in the morning after everything has happened.” She said the incident happened on Jebba street, Ebute Metta East. She added that the street is connected to Freeman Street mentioned in this Twitter post

Chidinma, another resident of the street, corroborated Tolani’s words while dispelling the possibility of the attacks being orchestrated by protesters.

They (The Police) came in the next morning acting all concerned and asking how they were going to identify the hoodlums. They sent people to cause trouble making it seem like it’s us (protesters)… I think they just pay some guys to make seem like it is people that are protesting that are causing the trouble. I don’t see any reason why we (protesters) will be calm in the morning (during the protest) and then start breaking people’s cars at night; it’s very stupid. When asked about casualty, they both said one person was killed.”

Abdulkabir, who Dubawa engaged through the Twitter App after seeing his post on the incident, gave his own account of the event and confirmed the location in the video to be Freeman Street. 

In his words, “The violence was wreaked particularly at Ebute Metta East… The video was posted by another user but I can confirm the street is Freeman street… Many other streets were vandalized such as Ondo, Odunfa, Osholake. The fracas is said to be a retaliation war between the Eiye and Aiye confraternity. If you go to the streets aforementioned today, you would still see vehicles with broken windshields. Please note that all the information provided is without prejudice…thank you.”

He added that, ‘a death was recorded (a rival cult member)… a popular Eiye tout by the name “Obe” who stays at Ondo Street was shot too but I believe (he) is recuperating currently, amongst other innocent members of the community that were robbed and injured but i have no personal interaction with the deceased or knowledge.”

The Police Statement

Dubawa also put in a call to the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Olamuyiwa Adejobi who sent us on 14th of October a statement in respect of the Ebute Metta attacks. It was stated that the event took place at Ondo Street, one of the streets listed above by Abdulkabir as affected areas. 

“The Lagos State Police Command has arrested six (6) of the hoodlums who attacked innocent Lagosians and damaged some vehicles along Ondo Street, Ebute-Metta, Lagos State on Tuesday,  13th October, 2020.”

Also, the police did not mention protesters or relate the incidents to them. The statement referred to the perpetrators as hoodlums, adding that six of them have been arrested. 

“At about 9.30pm on Tuesday, the hoodlums trooped out in numbers and started fomenting troubles in the area, but the police, while responding to distress calls from innocent people, chased and arrested some of them namely: 

1. Qudus Oke’m’ 22, 2. Abdullahi Ajose ‘m’ 25yrs, 3. Kayi Ajayi ‘m’ 33yrs, 4. Micheal Ben’ m’27yrs, 5. Godwin Joseph ‘m’ 25yrs, and 6. Oluwasegun Akinlade ‘m’ 29yrs.”

Dubawa also confirmed that all the streets (Jebba, Freeman, Ondo, Odunfa, Osholake.) mentioned in this check are all connected and under Ebute Metta. This was done with the help of Google Map.

CONCLUSION

After engaging some of the residents of Ebute Metta, our investigations show that the video was from Ebute Metta as the viral video suggests. However, the attacks were carried out by hoodlums not protesters according to statements from residents and the police. 

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