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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 in 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
Adesola was on a line-up of three other men, all from Agege
area of Lagos. They all 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.
Some 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
Her husband is also said to be a member of the gang.
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.
She said, “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.
“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.
19-year-old Saheed Oyedeji, a 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
Lagos Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said a
recent robbery carried out by the gang culminated in the
arrest of the suspects.
He said the tattoo used by the gang would help in tracking
down other members of the gang.
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