There was a state of confusion and fear in some parts of Ogun and Lagos states, yesterday, over reports that 18 suspected Boko Haram members had invaded the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, killing 11 civilians and nine police officers.
This came 24 hours after the Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, on Tuesday sent a strong warning to the Boko Haram insurgents that any attack on any part of the South-West would be considered a declaration of war on the Yoruba people.
“ARG would like to warn that being visited with a terror attack would amount to a declaration of war on the peace loving people of Yorubaland, in as much as the Yoruba people have always been peaceful and are not, whether directly or indirectly, complicit in the collapse of development and security factors which have been labelled as responsible for the rise of terrorism.
“We need to add that the Yoruba people will neither fold their arms if attacked and will be forced to respond in whatever shape or form deemed fit,” the group warned in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Hon. Olawale Oshun.
However, following the warning declaration, a message went viral across all forms of social media which sparked fear amongst Nigerians particularly those who commute and/or live around the supposed area.
The message on Facebook reads: “If you are on the Lagos/Ibadan Express Road going towards Ibadan, please turn back as 18 suspected Boko Haram members with AK-47 riffles are on the highway now displaying their skills. Nine policemen and 11 civilians had been confirmed dead while trying to stop the gunmen from shooting. Please re-broadcast to save lives. May God help us in Nigeria.”
Mobile policemen, officers of the Department of State Services, DSS, members of the Joint Task Force, JTF and others from Lagos and Ogun states were immediately deployed to comb the stretch of the road and possibly arrest the insurgents.
Police aerial helicopter was also deployed in search of the group. They both carried out searches and surveillance in different ways but their efforts yielded no result.
It was later dismissed as a rumour by South West spokesperson for National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, revealing that somebody sent a false alarm which sparked off the rumour that has spread like harmattan fire. Commuters trying to enter Lagos had a hard time doing that for the better part of yesterday, as security was beefed up at the Berger entry point with heavily armed policemen on stop and search duty.
The traffic gridlock at the time of this report had extended as far as Magboro area in Ogun State.