Oshodi: Gangs, Violence, Politics and NURTW)

Before, a stranger to Oshodi would do everything possible to avoid passing through the area particularly at night, because of the fear of being harassed, molested, raped or robbed.

Street urchins and hoodlums take laws into their hands and because there is no traditional ruler in Oshodi, it is a place where every hoodlum fights to be recognized. The hoodlums are feared by transporters, traders, hawkers and market women.

Their leaders are reputed to be on politicians’ payroll as they are used as thugs in political wars of settling grudges with political opponents. Even the police avoid them.

In early 1990s, Ugochukwu Dum Obiora, a notorious area boy known as “Bomboy” took control of Oshodi. He employed the weapon of fear and violence to oppress and extort money from bus drivers and traders doing business in Oshodi.

His style of money making which was akin to that of Bayo Ogundare a.k.a success, who held sway in the Second Republic during the UPN/NPN era.

He soon became the toast of most politicians within and outside Oshodi, who saw him as a tool to rig elections, harass and intimidate their political opponents.

This, of course made the position of Oshodi leader (Olori) lucrative and the clamour to become Olori became a do-or-die affair.

To make the situation worse, law enforcement agents romance these hoodlums and made them seems larger than life and above the law.

So, they always get away with their crimes. But new gangs soon emerged within the rank and file.

Gangs like the 36 Kiniun (Lions) headed by Musiliu Akinsanya, a.k.a Olu-omo, soon gained prominence. Diekot, headed by the late Wasiu Trailer, who migrated from Ibadan also waxed strong.

His base was at Cairo. Bomboy, was the leader of the Lion junction and leader of all the groups put together. However, there were always clashes within the groups mostly due to the quest for supremacy.

Along the line, a subordinate of Bombay, Taoreed Adedigba, popularly called Talo, staged a ‘coup’ against Bomboy and the violence that ensued led to several losses of lives while many were maimed for life.

A politician and member of opposition party in Lagos,the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kehinde Al-Moroof, saw Bomboy as an obstacle to achieving his political ambition.

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He employed tribal sentiments tactics to fight against Bomboy who was loyal to his rival political group, using Talo as his marksman.

This led to several clashes until a partial peace accord was reached and Bomboy was made the leader of all the groups, while MC Oluomo led the 36 kiniun (36 lions). Wasiu Trailer continued to lead the Diektot.

There were several other popular subordinates like Sule Nayam (George Bush), and Baba Fela. Bombay later died mysteriously.

His death was attributed to a mysterious sore that he had on his legs. Wasiu trailer also died mysteriously on his return from Saudi Arabia where he had gone for hajj.

After these two, Talo held sway briefly as Olori, before he was humiliated and humbled by the MC Oluomo of the 36 kiniun(36 lions). After the death of Bombay and and Wasiu Trailer, there was continued fracas amongst the gangs.

The desperation for control of territories (junctions) left so many dead. MC Oluomo was able to prove himself as a ruthless fighter.

For example, he successfully avenged the murder of his elder brother Igidaduro. This led to the killing of the popular Elewedu and Suwe-Suwe who were both notorious members of the dreaded Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).

This endeared him to the hearts of many of the hoodlums. It also led to his having more loyalists than any other group.

He was also believed to have had the backing of the authorities in Lagos and some other neighboring states.

Due to the frequent clashes in Oshodi, influential persons in the state called on MC Oluomo to bring about peace; otherwise, he would lose their backing.

So he called other leaders, the likes of Sule Nayam, Baba Fela, and others who are leaders of other a meeting where they agreed to have a single front which they tagged Oshodi One.

They all swore to an oath that they would remain under one leadership. MC Oluomo became Olori of all the gangs.

However, this did not stop others from heading their various gangs, just like Capone having so many dons of different gangs under him.

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The source of income for these gangs is extortion; monies from politicians and political godfathers who use them as tools to destabilize the society and rig elections.

They can go to any length to extort money from bus drivers and petty traders. Recently, such monies generated have continued to cause problems within and outside the gangs.

Most clashes alleged to have been caused by OPC were actually the result of the struggle for ‘resource control’.

For instance, November 28, 2008, was a day the residents of Agbole in Ariori Street, Oshodi will not forget in a hurry.

Residents woke to the sounds of gunshots and the ugly sights of human beings being roasted like animals.

A group of street urchins (hiding under the umbrella of the Gani Adams led OPC popularly known as Wasiu (Nothing spoil) took the lives of two young men who belonged to the Fredrick Fasheun led faction of the OPC.

This, at its face value, was another OPC war but facts revealed to our correspondent by an outsider who wants to remain anonymous was that the killings were a calculated efforts to use the rivalry between the two factions of the OPC to eliminate some perceived enemies.

A source said the killing was a result of a fight which started at TY Hotel, which is a hideout for members of the OPC and some area boys.

The source disclosed that one of the boys killed, known as MC Lee, an upcoming musician who was on his way to TY hotel when he saw a fight between two young boys he knew fairly well.

In the process of trying to separate the fighting duo, one of the boys whom he never knew was a member of Gani Adams led-OPC, started a fight with him and MC Lee was said to have upper hand in the fight.

A few days later, MC Lee was stopped on a motorcycle at Ariori, on his way to TY Hotel by a leader of the Gani Adams led OPC) Wasiu Nothing spoil). He was beaten blue and black and tied like a goat till following day.

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New Oshodi

He was asked to call the leader Otunba Kosija, to come to his rescue. An ambush had been laid down for Kosija.

MC Lee’s effort to reach Kosija on the phone proved futile. He was also directed to call Bayo Sanusi , popularly called Oro Bayo.

Oro Bayo responded immediately he received the distress call from MC Lee. On getting to the place where MC Lee was held, he was said to have told Nothing Spoil that whatever the issue was could be resolved without getting into such a humiliating extent.

Immediately, Nothing Spoil was said to have ordered his boys to attack Oro Bayo while he shot MC Lee, and commanded Oro Bayo be brought before him. He also shot him and ordered the two of them be set ablaze.

Another source who preferred anonymity told our correspondent that the killings of Oro Bayo and MC Lee was as a result of the struggle for ‘resource control’ in Oshodi between Akinsanya (Oluomo) and Otunba Kassim Badmus (Kosija).

It was learnt that some youths in Oshodi felt sidelined and deprived of their ‘rights’ to monies generated by the Oluomo led National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) (area boys).

They were also angered by the fact that some people outside Oshodi, who were not stakeholders, were being given large sums of money monthly.

Some were said to have been given what is popularly ‘junction’ in Oshodi to take charge of and these ‘junctions’ are where the monies are being made. Among such people are popular Yoruba actor and a famous Fuji musician.

The killing of MC Lee and Oro Bayo was targeted to coincide with the time Oluomo was going 2008 Hajj, knowing fully well that people will not point accusing fingers at him when the killing took place.

The plan was that the death of Kosija would send a warning message to those sympathetic to him, just as the death of Elewedu and Suwe-Suwe sent warning signals to those who were sympathetic to their causes.

Excepts: Gavel International

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