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Turning Cultists’ Den To Academic Centre



Fear, anguish and loss of valuables were the challenges facing some residents of Iba Estate in Iba Local Council Development Area (LCDA) for years until respite came their way through the council chairman, reports TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO.

For years, residents of some parts of Iba Estate in Iba Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos, battled with sleepless nights.

Their days were not peaceful either, as they suffered incessant harassments and molestations from some young men, who wrongly exerted their youthful exuberance.

Some of the youth constituted themselves into miscreants and cultists, unleashing untold hardships on the residents.

Unfortunately for the community, this set of youths made a place of learning, Estate Primary School, their abode.

The school with an unoccupied expanse of land and dilapidated structure became a safe haven for their nefarious activities.

They started by smoking all sorts of substances and attacking anyone that dared them to vacate the school.

Soon, the cultists among them graduated to initiating new members on the school premises and the crime rate increased.

From robbing the residents to raping girls and even engaging in kidnapping, the residents watched helplessly.

Soon, some of them started moving out of the troubled part of the estate since their cries were not given adequate attention by those in authority.

Apostle Moses Fashola, the former chief security officer of Iba Housing Estate, said the criminal activities of the gang went on for years until a new Chairman, Princess Ramat-Rachael Oseni, emerged in Iba LCDA.

Apostle Fashola, the founder of C&S Church in the area, said he never expected a positive response when he approached Princess Oseni, but he was surprised that the new LCDA chairperson gave him attention and promised to find a lasting solution to the menace.

He said: “As the Parent-Teacher Association chairman, I suggested that a new block of classroom be built to also cater for the growing pupils in the school. She sent someone to carry out the feasibility study of the area. Thereafter, they started bringing the building materials to build another block of classroom and in no time, the project was completed in 2018. She came to inspect the project and ordered that the whole expanse of land be fenced. This was done with a new big gate. Since then, the miscreants and cultists have relocated from the school and since they have no hiding place, they have moved away from this vicinity. It took that bravery effort from Princess Oseni to end our long years of suffering. It’s a pity that her tenure is coming to an end, otherwise we could have appealed to her to give us another block of six or eight classrooms, because of the growing population. We cannot thank her enough.”

A civil servant, Sola Adewole, said the community heaved a sigh of relief when the council erected a big fence around the school.

“Our children can now move freely in the community because the cultists and miscreants have relocated to another area. The reported frequent cases of rape have since stopped. We thank the chairman for the bold step in stemming the tide of criminal activities in our area,” Adewole said.

According to him, the council boss also provided computers, chairs and tables for the school.

He, however, urged the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government and Community Affairs to resolve their disagreement with the council chairman on some of the projects executed.

“The assembly people need to see how we live in fear in this community for years before Princess Oseni came on board and decided to find a lasting solution to insecurity in this area. We know there will always be room for improvement. The council chairman has indeed helped the community in a big way. Let them sit on a round table and resolve their disagreement,” he said.

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Likewise, the people of Ijeagemo are happy for the renovation of the Primary Health Centre.

A nursing mother, Fatimah Adebayo, who lives at 15, Alhaji Habeeb Street, said they went to far places to access health care due to the dilapidated state of the centre, “but since the renovation has taken place, everyone has been coming here.”

According to Abiodun Sunmonu, “there was a time you couldn’t even take somebody to the health centre.

“Then, there was no equipment; you won’t even know it’s a health centre until now that the renovation has been done. We usually travelled to Oto-Awori LCDA or Ojo Local Government to receive treatment. You can imagine the stress. When I went there, I saw the changes. The council chairman has really tried. People are coming here for treatment,” he said.

Sunmonu appealed to the council boss to expand the centre and employ more doctors and nurses.

The Officer-in-Charge of the centre, Ganiyat Ambali, said residents don’t feel comfortable coming to the centre.

She said: “The state of this place then was an eyesore when I got here. Nothing was working and whenever it rains, the place will be flooded. Since the renovation was completed last December, the turnout has been impressive. For now, all of us feel comfortable working here.”

Like Oliver Twist, the Officer-in-Charge appealed to the Chairman to still assist in some areas needing improvement.

A tenant, Alhaja Rashida Bello, who lives at Jimoh Street, Okokomaiko, said they had to battle flood during the rainy season due to the state of the road.

“I have been living here since 2003. At a point, people started relocating from the area. It was worst to the extent that the day we brought Ramota (Council Chairman) to this area, it was flooded and we wanted her to follow another route, but she rejected the idea. She pulled up her skirt and walked through the water to the end of the street to feel our pains. It was that bad that vehicles could not pass, let alone tricycles or motorcycles. She immediately ordered the re-construction of the road and today, we are happy for it. Though, as a tenant, we now pay higher rents.

“Ramota deserves accolades because if she refused to come with us the day we asked her to come, she wouldn’t know the nature of the problem the residents faced,” she said.

The residents of Iba Estate too had a similar issue concerning flooding and bad road until the council worked on the road.

Tajudeen Muhammad, who lives at Kemberi Aka, also said: “Miscreants are always at Agoju-Aka School, destroying properties and smoking Indian hemp in the school. Since it has been repaired by the chairman, the boys have relocated from this area. She also worked on the drainage for easy passage of flood. The development has assisted us a lot because parents didn’t allow their children to attend that school, but now everything has changed. Children are attending the school now and the community is peaceful.”

Some of the residents told The Nation that Princess Oseni carried out projects in all wards to ensure even distribution of democratic dividends.

The projects include the construction of 252 perimeter fencing and renovation of a block of 10 rooms’ toilet at Ijeagemo Primary School; sand filling of Obawole Street, Iba new site; distribution of benches/desk at various schools; construction of Iba Art/Culture (Igbale) in Iba town; construction of road at Oba Goriola Street; spreading hard-core and rubbles at Okokomaiko on Badagry Expressway; construction of culvert box at Alafia Street, Okokomaiko; sand filling and spreading of jubilee road, Mebamu; construction of area office, Okokomaiko; construction of drainage with a cover slap at Jimoh Street, Okokomaiko; sand filling and grading of Rasheed Babatunde Street, Abule Aka and from Mechanic bus stop to Orelope Mebamu; renovation of Afromedia Town Hall, Ajangbadi; desilting and carting away refuse on Ishasi Road; grading and sand filling of Bakare Street, Ishasi; construction of culvert at Ajisebutu Street, Kemberi; provision of hard-core and rubbles and sand filling at Akoberu and Aka Kemberi; renovation of a block of six classrooms and staff rooms with toilets at Abule Aka, Kemberi; provision of 750 pairs of desk and benches to primary schools; purchase of JAMB and GCE forms for students; provision of 40-leave exercise books to pupils in 14 primary schools; provision of 100KVA generator at Iba LCDA Secretariat; distribution of poverty alleviation items to the widows on soap making, insecticide, toiletries, and cream making; sponsoring the unemployed for vocational training and paying of cash to the less privilege on a monthly basis, among others.

Source: The Nation

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Hammed Tajudeen is the editor in-chief of Blaze News, holds Higher National Diploma(HND) in Mass Communication, graduated from Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.

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