Pictured! My Tattoo Has Ruined My Life –Suspected Lagos Gang Informant

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Fair-skinned Mariam Adesola, a 20-year-old hairdressing
apprentice in Agege area of Lagos, sobbed as she sat on the ground on the
premises of the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
If one is to take her word for it, she was merely a victim
of her love for tattoos, or perhaps her willingness to readily obey her husband
when he instructed her to get a specific tattoo.
Adesola was on a line-up of three other men, all from Agege
area of Lagos. Three of them have a unique teardrop tattoo beside their left
eyes.

That specific tattoo is the identity of members of the Awawa
gang operating in Agege area of Lagos, the police have said.
The police revealed that a few suspects and members of the
gang, who had been arrested in the past, confessed that the teardrop tattoo is
the mark by which they identify their members.
The members of Awawa (loosely translated as ‘we are alive’)
have gathered reputation in the last two years as a ruthless band of robbers,
who unleash mayhem, loot shops and attack residents at gunpoint in Agege area
of Lagos. The ages of the members range from 17 to 23.
Unfortunately for Adesola, an arrested member, had fingered
her as an informant for the gang.
Saturday Punch learnt that before the police went after her,
she herself walked into the Isokoko Police Division, Agege, to see her husband
who was also in custody. She was oblivious that her identity had already been
made known to the police.
Her husband is also said to be a member of the gang.
The police told journalists that the information they got
from other captured members of the gang was that she was the one sent around
the neighbourhood to identify potential targets of their robbery operations.
“I don’t know what the police are talking about. I am just a
hairdresser. My husband told me to get the tattoo because he has it too. I
liked the tattoo and I decided to get it on my face. Now it has destroyed my
life.
She said, “The day I was arrested, I had only gone to see
him in police custody. Then they arrested me. The police said they had been
looking for me. I am in trouble.”
But one of the men paraded with her quickly pointed out that
she was lying.
Nineteen-year-old Saheed Oyedeji, another suspected member
of the gang, who was arrested during an investigation of the gang, also has the
same tattoo. But he explained that he knew nothing about the Awawa gang.
As he was speaking, a victim, who was present during the
parade of the suspects by the police, quickly pointed out to journalists that
she recognised Oyedeji as the one who slapped her sister hard in the face when
the Awawa gang attacked their house recently.
“I am just a barber. I have nothing to do with the Awawa
Boys. I got the tattoo not long ago and it is nothing more than ‘fashion’ for
me,” he said.
The Awawa gang has become so dreaded that a Facebook group,
Anti-Awawa Boys in Agege, has been opened as a discussion forum for residents
of the community on the gang’s activities.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni,
said a recent robbery carried out by the gang culminated in the arrest of the
suspects.

He explained that the information on the tattoo used as
identification mark by the gang would help in tracking down other members of
the gang.

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