Residents of P D’Mello road area are having sleepless nights since last year and the police are facing an embarrassing situation at the hands of Nigerian nationals, who have been allegedly camping on a vacant plot in Dana Bunder during the day and dealing drugs during the night.
Around 110 Nigerians have laid siege to a plot belonging to the Bombay Port Trust (BPT) on P D’Mello Road and not only do they give residents and commercial establishments in the area a hard time, but they also reportedly pay no heed to police officials who turn up to keep the peace. Locals allege that the Nigerians deal drugs and mostly entertain clients after dark, and brawls and arguments often erupt, leading to tension in the area.
Policemen have been called in on several occasions to tackle the boisterous foreigners and have even attempted to lathi charge the lot, but have been forced to beat a quick retreat upon being met with a hail of stones. “They are drug addicts, and their customers come to pick up drugs in the night. They sit around drinking beer and when any resident reprimands them, they unite and are ready to fight. We have complained at least a hundred times, but even the police have fled from the spot many times while trying to get them to leave,” said Rupesh Patil, an hotelier from the area.
Earlier the BPT had godowns on these plots, but eventually most plots were vacated. The Nigerians moved in and have began to use the vacant plot as a gathering point, though they have not constructed or erected any type of shelter here.
“They have not built any shelter, but they sit around in the open or in abandoned and broken down trucks. Some of them stay in guesthouses in Pydhonie area and loiter around the vacant plot in the daytime. They create a nuisance for residents of the area,” said Sunita Koli, resident of Dana Bunder.
Residents and owners of commercial establishments had complained several times to Dongri police station, but the officials have reportedly failed miserably in bringing the menace to heel.
“We face trouble vacating the area since our numbers are limited and we carry out combing operations once in a while. But they simply come back every time,” V B Mukhne, senior police inspector of Dongri police station said. According to Shaikh Nijamuddin, a barber, the foreign nationals have some devout supporters in the area. “The Nigerians give our kids money for doing chores like bringing them water, so the children are attracted to them. They carry out illegal business and their customers come to the area in posh cars at night. Fights also break out, which disturbs our sleep,” Nijamuddin said.