Hoodlums, miscreants, drug cartel, urchins, prostitutes, armed robbers have gradually found their homes in the once upon a time centre of attraction in Lagos – The Alpha Beach
The Beach, located along Lekki-Expressway, Lagos, was one of the numerous beaches that adorn the area. It also used to be the favourite of many residents of the state and visitors alike. However, the current state of the beach is nothing to write home about.
A place which had all the paraphernalia of a good tourist centre, where people went to relax and enjoy nature. But this appears to be the opposite at the moment, as the beach has apparently lost its glory.
Those who have experience of what the beach used to look like, said the federal and state governments must look into resuscitating and rebranding urgently to avoid driving people away from the once-upon-a-time conducive resort centre which is at the core of the country and the most industrious state-Lagos.
Many appeals have been made to both the federal and state government, including the Governor of the state,Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure the tide and return its lost glory, saying that the beach has the potential of turning the state to a tourist destination for fun lovers within and outside the state.
This is because, as time went by, the bloosimg beach began to be feasted on by hooliganism.
The joy of visiting a beach gives a sense of relief, a feeling of relaxation, and a relief of escaping from the hustling and bustling of the city provides. But a visit this period to Alpha Beach in Lekki Phase 2 area of Lagos along Lekki-Epe Expressway can end up being a nightmare.
The beach is now known to be a home to all kinds of miscreants, hoodlums, urchins, bandits, criminals, drug addicts and drug dealers.
One major problem faced in the beach area by visitors isn’t the part of gaining access with some money way beyond the official rate at a makeshift gate manned by agents of “omo oniles,” (land owners.). Unfortunately through the years, these set of people have bred from this place and nothing has been done to justify the fund being gotten from the visitors with the uninviting environment of the beach.
Also, the beach is mostly occupied by fierce-looking young men, who have turned the place into a home and who we were told torment members of the public round the clock, most especially at night.
Another menace is the bad road leading to the beach. This has also become an avenue for hoodlums to make a living.
A resident, who asked to be kept anonymous described the menace faced, urging that efforts be intensified to revamp the place.
“The road gives the bad boys opportunities to operate at night. As you are driving towards the beach area your vehicle could be double-crossed by these hoodlums on okada (motorcycle), and they would disappear after dispossessing you of your money, phones and other possessions, though the road is currently under construction,” the source said.
“You dare not follow them into their hideouts in the shanties on the beach. Some of the shanties are occupied by prostitutes. They also serve as a home for these bad boys, who use them as cover after robbing their victims of their possessions.
“The federal government, the state government all should please help us send these hoodlums away from the beach.
“The various security agencies should also beam their searchlights on the beach as the place has become a den of armed robbers, thieves, urchins, criminals, bandits, drug addicts/dealers and cartels. They have a lot of mercenaries flowing into the area from Mushin, Agege, Lagos Island and other parts of the state.”
Other sources also claimed that the beach has become a route for international drug cartels that are shielded by compromised security agents, who are also drug addicts and have turned the deal into a money-making venture.
“The security situation in this area is a threat to Lagos State. The federal /state governments and security agencies should act fast before it is too late,” a source added
“People in this area live in palpable fear. Alpha Beach is breeding something close to Boko Haram and once it becomes full scale the state would be the loser.
“There was the case of a boy, who was brought to Nigeria from the United Kingdom so that he could be reformed from drug addiction.l
“But surprisingly, the boy left home for about four days and he was later found amongst the drug addicts on the beach, which offered him an opportunity to go back to his old life of drug addiction. So, the beach has become a bad influence on the children in the neighbourhood.”
The residents, however, have suggested that the state government needs to urgently demolish the various shanties and slums that serve as hideouts for the miscreants, criminals and drug addicts in the area as they have become security threats to visitors and residents of the area.
Furthermore, there have reportedly been several cases of armed robbery attacks, stealing and vandalisation of properties around the beach.
Temilola, a visitor at Alpha Beach recalled how his vehicle was vandalised when he went to relax with members of his family.
He recounted how his vehicle was forced open and properties were carried away by the miscreants.
“They took away a bag containing cash and documents, and they also stole my laptop and car stereo. I regret visiting the beach that fateful day. We left the place shattered with a vow never to return to the place,” he said.
“Even the stench from the shanties was something else. Moreso, we were disturbed by some dirty boys, who insisted that we must give them money. I actually consented, not knowing that my vehicle had been vandalized,” he said.
According to Temilola, the state government should get rid of the shanties and miscreants as they have become spoilers to the fun the people would have derived from visiting the place.
Past efforts to get the federal and state governments to intervene and clear the beach of miscreants and hoodlums reportedly failed, thereby leading to the renewed call for the government to pay attention to the area before it gets out of hand.
Also, other visitors to the beach argued that it is a time bomb waiting to explode, adding that the situation there requires urgent attention from the government.
According to them, it is not an insurmountable problem, adding that it is not beyond the powers of both the state and federal governments, which they urged to draft security agents into the area and constantly keep watch so that the hoodlums would be evicted from the area permanently.
They further said the situation would be worse if it is not nipped in the bud before the completion of the road leading to the beach from the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
“When the road is completed it would be easy for the hoodlums to manoeuvre after operating with okada and escape into the thin air. So, the situation should be addressed once and for all so that the beach would be attractive to the residents of the state,” visitors added
“it is when you visit Alpha Beach at night that you will appreciate what is going on there. It is something else at that time and the few security men that sometimes come around are not enough to handle the situation.
“The federal and state governments should not relent in flushing the area and making it conducive for the people once again as the place has completely degenerated from what it used to be many years back,” said a constant visitor to the beach, who pleaded anonymity.