Odo-Iya Alaro, Kara Long Bridge and the Long Bridge along LASU/ Iba Road, all in Lagos, can be regarded as danger zones, judging by the number of lives that have been lost on the bridges in the past 10 years.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the victims were either shot dead in robbery operations or killed in automobile accidents and other mysterious circumstances on the said bridges.
The ugly trend has, however, remained unabated.
It is a known fact that many prominent Nigerians have lost their lives in one way or the other while commuting on the bridges in their vehicles. Not too long ago, an Army General lost his life in an unclear circumstance, when his vehicle broke down on the Kara Long Bridge. His lifeless and decapitated body was found at the edge of the bridge the following day by motorists.
Months back, a night club manager, who was returning from a trip, was mowed down on top of Kara Bridge by yet-to-be identified persons, who also dismembered the victim’s body.
Till date, perpetrators of the dastardly acts have yet to be apprehended and prosecuted.
On the LASU/Iba Road, many Nigerian students and traders alike, have also lost their lives while passing through the long bridge in the night. The victims were not only dispossessed of their highly prized valuables but often lost their lives to the hoodlums.
An independent source had earlier told our correspondent that homicide detectives from the Adeniji Adele Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad and their counterparts from the State Criminal Investigations Department, Yaba, Lagos, twice combed the vicinity of the LASU/ Iba Long Bridge and recovered human remains, books and arms. The allegedly recovered books have fueled the suspicion that students might actually have fallen victims to the unknown killers, though details of the recoveries remain sketchy.
This same situation prevails at the Odo Iya-Alaro Bridge, which is a stone throw from the Ojota, Lagos, Motor-Park.
Although crime watchers have put the rate of homicides on the bridges at something close to 30 lives lost annually, the figure could be more because, according to a source, “Not all the cases were reported to the police.”
Our correspondent gathered that the three notorious locations have become a nightmare for travelers.
“Authorities, including government, have tried as much as possible to contain the rate at which innocent Nigerians get killed and their bodies dismembered, either for ritual purposes, especially at odd hours or simply mowed down by hit-and-run drivers that usually ply the routes, to no avail,” a source said.
According to findings, while petty crimes go on in these notorious locations in the day time, horrible and repulsive ones would be committed under the cover of darkness.
“Lately, the police stationed their patrol vehicles at some strategic locations, not too far from the bridges. But the patrol vehicles soon disappeared as no officer seemed to be interested in staying put at a location that would ordinarily endanger their lives. Of course, within the police parlance, those locations are regarded as “Black Spots”, a bush-meat seller, Madam Rukayat Ayoola, who operates a make-shift shop at the basement of the LASU/ Iba Long Bridge, told our correspondent.
“THERE ARE SEMI AND DEMIGODS FROM THE SPIRITUAL WORLD PARADING THE THREE AFOREMENTIONED LOCATIONS 24 HOURS OF THE DAY, LOOKING FOR WHO TO DEVOUR”
Even the presence of the Oodua Peoples Congress at the other side of the expressway along the Kara Long Bridge, has not deterred the perpetrators operating within that environment.
“Killers on the bridge have a way of escaping. If they see a police patrol vehicle or OPC members coming their direction, the evil doers would quickly use already knotted rope tied to the side of the bridge as a getaway, by descending on it and then disappearing. There are many of such ropes tied on the edges of the bridge. It is called “loop escape”, an insider revealed.
Another source at Kara, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that those selling or grazing their livestock along the Kara Bridge, for instance, were responsible for the killings that have become rampant. “The Fulani herdsmen operating below the bridge are responsible for the killings.
The fear of attack on their animals is the cause. They fear that people are coming there to steal their animals; and in the process, they kill because they all have guns with which they either chase away or kill or get rid of perceived intruders,” he said.
However, Mallam Sheu Kadir, a herdsman at Kara, told our correspondent, “We only defend ourselves whenever we are attacked. If they attack our animals, we would not fold our hands. The animals are what we live by. And we would not wait for people to steal our animals before we act.”
Sheu, while responding to a question, said he had never killed anyone in the course of grazing his livestock. “I may be armed to the teeth, but I conform to the laws. I am not here to find trouble. The animals are my life. That is all,” he said.
But some of those familiar with this ugly development have blamed the indiscriminate killings on either over-speeding on the part of the drivers plying the roads or the dastardly act of those suspected to be perpetrators of money-making rituals.
“Those bridges are known for dangerous nocturnal activities”, said a renowned priest, Mr. Ifatoba Opon.
Others see the development as the handiwork of some bloodthirsty gods, hungry for the flesh and angry for not getting what they want in abundance.
“Undoubtedly, the gods of the roads are angry as they could no longer get adequate propitiations that used to be their known traditional foods. Go to Odo-Iya Alaro, those things that you people normally call fetish sacrifices have disappeared as a result of modernity and civilization. Some people have even built both churches and mosques, respectively, very close to the bridges. What else do you expect from the gods? They are really angry and hungry.
“In those days, government recognized the need to make sacrifices to these gods as typified in the goddess called Iya –Alaro, who lived in a shack very close to the bridge. Now, who cares? The result is in the tell-tale stories of human carnage because the rivers you see in those locations have a history of their own”, a resident and an Ifa priest from Irun-Akoko, Ondo State, Chief Awolumate Kayode, said.
Chief Kayode said, “The immediate remote cause of avoidable carnage on these Bridges have repeatedly defied solutions because our people have left the substance to pursue shadow”. At Kara, some local residents, who spoke with our Correspondent, said that the gods had got angry because they were no longer being appeased. Another Ifa priest, Chief Egbe Agidi, said, “There are semi and demi-gods from the spiritual world parading the three aforementioned locations 24 hours of the day, looking for who to devour. Unless we go back to the drawing board, things may go worse. See our roads, the entire place have been taken over by churches and mosques. Nothing again is left for the gods to eat. Those who used to bring foods for the gods have been converted. The result is self-evident.”
Agidi did not rule out the possibility of people alleged to be diabolical and wanting to get rich quick in the whole arrangement.
“It appears there is a killer squad around. I think the government should do something about it. I have read about decapitated bodies being dumped on the highways. I have read about people being attacked and killed by faceless individuals in the night. We want the government to investigate and bring those people to book”, he said.
Speaking on the alleged killings on the bridges, the Zonal Police Public Relations Officer for Lagos and Ogun states, Superintendent Muyiwa Adejobi, said, “Yes, we shall investigate. We have not closed our books on those homicides you mentioned. Once we get a new lead, we shall investigate”.