The Nation's Newspaper report:
Ten children were yesterday feared drowned and many others injured during an ethnic clash in Ajah.
According to a resident, Jonathan Zosu, the children were running away when they drowned inside the lagoon at Otodogbame. He said their bodies were yet be found.
“This problem started since last weekend but things really got bad on Sunday when the police came here and arrested our monarch, Baale Dansu Hunkpe. How can anyone claim we are not Nigerians? Where are we from then?
“Our ancestors migrated to this community from Badagry and we have lived here for centuries. Over 90 percent of the people here are Nigerians. The other 10 percent are other nationals who are residents.
“It is all about land tussle. The boys were sent here to chase us out of our homes so that their senders can inherit our properties. So many people were arrested that Sunday but yet, we resisted their attempt to chase us out.
“But early morning on Wednesday, they came again. The youths, mostly cultists, came with cutlasses and other weapons. They were cutting people on sight.
“So many people were injured in that process. As they macheted people, they scattered our homes and set them ablaze. It was in the chaos that the 10 children drowned inside the lagoon.
“We have not seen their bodies yet. As I am talking with you, I am still inside the water. So many people have been rendered homeless. We called the police but instead of assisting us, the police joined the hoodlums in burning our homes.”
But the police said they were no casualties, adding that 16 people were arrested on Wednesday.
According to the police, all the leaders in the community have been arrested and charged to court.
A police source said:
“No one died. Some people were injured. In all, about 30 persons have been arrested. The division had arrested some of them, including their leaders and charged them to court. They are in prison custody. It is a fight between the Yoruba and non-indigenes. The Yoruba are claiming the Egun are non-indigenes and so, they should vacate the community.
“They said their lands are high priced now and that they want them back but the Egun refused because they have been in the area for almost 100 years and have no place to go. So, because the place is by the water, the hoodlums hide inside the water surrounding bushes and then, come out to light matches on the shanties and disappear again.
“It is not true that police supported them. We have been arresting some of them. And we also put out the fire and policemen from RRS rescued people from being burnt to death.”
No fewer than 200 structures were burnt on Wednesday in Otodo Gbame, an Egun community in the Lekki Phase 1 area of Lagos State, during a clash between some Egun and Yoruba youths.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the crisis started on Sunday, when the Yoruba youths demanded that the residents should relocate from the area.
It was gathered that the Egun community insisted that residents would not leave their houses, tagging the youths as hoodlums and land grabbers.
The crisis came to a head on Wednesday when the Yoruba youths set fire to the structures in the area at about 8am.
The action was said to have triggered a clash between the youths of the Egun community and their Yoruba counterparts.
Two persons were said to have been injured during the clash, while the area was quickly deserted as the fire raged. Some residents reportedly salvaged their property from the fire and fled.
It was learnt that policemen from the Rapid Response Squad, the Maroko division and the Area J Command, Ajah, went to the area to restore normalcy.
A policeman on the team said an abandoned two-day-old baby was rescued from one of the burning structures.
He said, “When the structures were set ablaze, the mother and the father of the baby fled. It was the cry of the baby that drew the attention of policemen to that room. The baby was locked inside the house. The baby was rescued and reunited with her parents.”
“Nobody was killed, but about three persons were injured. The entire community was razed.”
A resident, who identified himself only as Hunsu, said, “The crisis started on Sunday. Some people came and said they had bought our land and we should relocate. We did not know that the hoodlums would go to this extent.
“The crisis escalated on Wednesday when they invaded the community and set fire to our property. All my belongings are gone. My wife and children are homeless.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, went to the area around 2pm and held a peace meeting between the leaders of the two groups.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said five suspects were arrested in connection with the crisis.
She said, “The command received a report that the Egun and Yoruba communities were engaged in a serious brawl over land issue. Upon receipt of the information, the command operatives from the RRS and men of the Area J Command moved in. Some shanties being occupied by the residents were set ablaze by the warring factions.
“A baby was rescued from the one of the houses. Five suspects were also arrested in connection with the fracas. The CP visited the scene and promised that everyone involved in the clash would be duly prosecuted.”