Lagosians experienced the most violent robbery operation last Sunday, after a 12-man-robbery gang in a convoy of three vehicles held the entire state hostage. The heavily armed gang in a commando-like manner, fired sporadically as they moved from one area to another, leaving in their trail the death of three policemen and several others.
Although the ‘evil day’ has come and gone. But it left in its wake anguish, vacuum hard to be filled and emotional wreckage in the hearts of many families whose loved ones were sent to their early graves. Some of them were Christian faithfuls who were either on their way to or from their respective places of worship.
Among them was a woman around Gbagada area simply identified as Mrs Gbadebo, who was reportedly hit by a stray bullet from the robbers who fired indiscriminately as they were leaving the Bureau-de-Change office, where over N200 million was reportedly carted away.
The dare-devils who threw caution to the dogs, engaged a team of policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad in a fierce gun battle in Ikeja area, leaving three of them dead. Even in the face of death, the policemen braced up to the challenge and fought like gallant men. But unfortunately, they were overpowered by the number of the bandits.
*Late Corporal Gift
There were however indications that one of the slain policemen, Corporal Gift Ogbor, had a premonition of the unexpected. Crime Guard gathered that the widower reported at the office that same day, after being on sick leave for a week.
Even on that day, he was reportedly hesitant to go to work, as he told some of his friends that he would manage to report at work and come back early. Perhaps, if he had listened to his intuition, he would have probably escaped the bell of death that was jingling . But no! He rather choose to obey his constitutional clarion call, only to be shattered by the bullets of those he was trained to fight.
When Crime Guard visited the 39-year-old Corporal’s residence at 10, Edosa Street, Ijaniki,Thursday, sympathizers were seen discussing the tragedy that had befallen the Delta State-born Gift. Out of curiosity, these reporters asked after his widow, only to be told that she died about seven years ago, leaving behind their two children; a boy and a girl. Unable to bear the burden of looking after the children who were then eight and five years respectively, Gift , resorted to taking them to his aged mother in Isoko, Delta State.
The deceased elder brother, Mr EjiroOgbor, who spoke with Crime Guard, lamented that “ If he had known, he would have remained at home. those who saw him last Saturday said they asked what he was doing at home by that time and he told them he had been sick and was instructed to go home for treatment.
He said he was supposed to resume the previous day, which was on Friday but that he called his boss to inform him he was not yet okay. He then stated that he would manage to go to work the next day being Sunday, since he had already taken an extra day off. I never knew the lingering illness was a warning sign for him not to go to work that day”.
Meanwhile, back in Delta State,the news of Corporal Gift’s demise has left members of his family shattered. His mother whose age was put over 60 years, seemed to be the worst hit as she currently finds it difficult to come to terms with the rude shock of her son’s death.
A relative who spoke on condition of anonymity stated that, “ he was mama’s favorite. He was always sending money to her on monthly basis for his children’s upkeep and other needs”, he stated, quoting the old woman as asking questions on why such fate should befall her, wishing she had died in her son’s stead.
Describing the late Gift as a generous and caring man, his elder brother, Ejiro said, “ He touched virtually every life here. He was caring and generous in his own little way. He never fought nor quarreled with any of his co-tenants during his stay in this compound. His death has dealt us with a heavy blow. My worry now, is my mother .
He paused for a while, bent his head and when he lifted it, it was obvious he was trying hard not to betray his emotion. But he managed to continue, “ My major worry are the children. Who will continue from where their father stopped?. You know what? Gift was everything to them and my mother.
His first child, Onorode is 15 years old while the second one, a girl, is 12 years. He had dreams of sending them to the university and refused to re-marry after his wife’s death seven years ago. Even when we urged him to re-marry, he would say he did not want any woman to deprive him of taking care of his children.
He said he would only re-marry after the children would have graduated from the university, pointing out that by then, they would have been old enough to fend for themselves. He always prayed for our mother to be alive till then , so as to inculcate good morals in the children . But little did he realise he would not live to see his dreams come through”, he stated..
Crime Guard was reliably informed that the late Corporal’s children who have been rendered orphans by their father’s demise might not be able to continue their education in private school, as their was making arrangement on how to send the children’s 1st term school fees at the end of September, after he must have received his salary, only to be deprived by the bullets from men of the underworld.
1-yr-old victim of stray bullet undergoes surgery .
Meanwhile, several other persons who also sustained bullet woulds are nursing them in different hospitals. Among them is one -year-old Taiwo Lawal, who is currently lying at the Intensive Care Unit of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital(LUTH) Idiaraba, Lagos. Baby Taiwo was hit by the robbers stray bullet while playing outside his father’s compound at Gbagada. The bullet as gathered, pierced through his skull.
Explaining, his father, Wasiu Lawal, said, “Immediately the incident happened, we rushed him to Gbagada General Hospital from where he was placed on oxygen and drip. Because of the severity of the injury, he was refereed to LUTH, where a surgery was carried on him.
A scan was done where it was discovered that the bullet pierced through one end of his skull to the other end but it did not exit through the other end. And it also missed his brain. We were told that had the bullet exited, he would have bled to death.
He lamented on Wednesday that the family had spent all they had on their son and appealed to well meaning Nigerians to come to their aid financially with aview to getting baby Taiwo back on his feet again.
Responding to the appeal, Telecommunication giant, MTN, donated the sum of N500,000 for the treatment of the baby Thursday, a gesture Mr Lawal described as a practical display of humanitarian service.[subscribe2]