HOW WE WERE TRICKED INTO BECOMING CULTISTS THROUGH BIRTHDAY PARTIES

The suspected cult members

Eight suspected cultists have told detectives attached to Area J Police Command, not to blame them for becoming cult members. According to them, they were tricked into becoming cult members.

They explained that when they discovered they had been tricked and initiated against their will, they thought of running away, but realised it was like running away from ones shadow. They urged young Nigerians, to be wary of friends and avoid accepting birthday parties’ invitations.

One of them said: “If you don’t go for operation or cooperate with them after initiation, they would kill you. I can tell you that every one of us here, were tricked into becoming a cult member. It was never our wish.” The suspects were arrested after they allegedly started shooting sporadically on July 16, 2016, at Ilaje, Ajah, around 7pm.

A police source said: “They went about on two motorbikes, snatching money from people and shooting sporadically.” Six of them were arrested, Ayobami Ahmed 20, Balogun Ahmed 22, Olayinka Agbeto 35, Kunle Odeyemi 29 and Lekan Adekoya 26.

When they were taken to police station, police discovered they and four other suspected cult members, Sylvester Bibra 34, aka Gardafi, Dare 27, aka Shokey and Michael Ojintan 20, earlier arrested, knew one another. They all belonged to the same Aiye confraternity.

Police are presently hunting for Ogbowon, Dammy, Segun Okondo, Lekan, Ijooba, Jungle, Bariga, Biggy, Idris, Jelili, Corner Stone, Lawal and others. It was also discovered that some of these cultists, are part of those that had been terrorising Ikota Community. Some of the residents, who spoke with New Telegraph, identified some of the cultists. One of the residents said: “We just want police to keep them out of our community.

These men are dangerous. Every night, they won’t allow us to sleep. Gunshots always disturb our sleep. We live in fear. Sometimes, when we wake up in the morning, we would find dead bodies on our streets. We are tired! Some of them had been arrested, but many are still out there.” Another residents, who also refused to mention his name said: “They used to burgle shops and houses.

They rob people going to and returning from work. We want the Lagos State Government and police to sanitise Ikota Community. We don’t want these men any more in our community.

Their menace started last year. Since last year, we’ve not had rest. We however, thank Area J Police Command for the arrest of these cult members.”

According to the residents, some of the cult members are still hiding inside the community. They implored SARS operatives, not to relent in flushing them out.

The residents said they were willing and ready to work with the police, to ensure a safer community for them and their kids.

Remembering how he was tricked and initiated, Ahmed said: “I belonged to Aiye confraternity. I was initiated at Ibadan. I was initiated by my brother, Kehinde. He invited me to a birthday party. Moreover, I liked the way Kehinde used to behave. But I didn’t tell him that I wanted to become a cult member.”

Bibra said he was initiated by a friend. He recounted: “A friend of mine invited me to a birthday party. On the day of the party, I met him at Ajah Roundabout. He made a call and a commercial bus, filled with men, came to pick us. I thought they too were going to the party.

After driving for a while, one of them suddenly brought out a black band and blindfolded me. I was scared. I thought they wanted to kill me. The bus drove off again. I started crying and begging them not to kill me. They ordered me to shut up. They said if I cried, made a noise or beg, they would shoot me.

They took me somewhere, pulled off my clothes and started beating me. They later bundled me back into the bus.

“When they removed the blindfold from my eyes, they told me I had become a member of Aiye confraternity. I was angry with my friend. I didn’t ask for it. Why did he do that to me? I didn’t want to participate in any of their operation, but I was told I would be killed if I refused.”

Ojintan said that for reasons he couldn’t understand, members of the gang started picking on him. They would swoop on him and take anything of value with him. It was through that gimmick, they collected five phones from him.

The phones were collected at different times. One day, one of his persecutors, invited him for a birthday party.

He turned down the invitation. Ojintan recollected: “He told me that if I didn’t come to the birthday party, they would continue to collect my phones. I decided to go with him. At Ajah Roundabout, they blindfolded me with a black band.

When the vehicle stopped, they dragged me down, pulled off my clothes and started beating me. They told me that they were making me their member. When I got home, I couldn’t tell my father, but I told my boss. He told me to be careful. I tried to avoid those friends. I was still avoiding them when police came to arrest me. I have never gone on any of their killings or operations with them.”

Agbeto on the other hand, denied being a member of any cult. He said he is married and has two kids.

He described himself as a professional boxer, stressing that he was shocked when SARS operatives came to arrest him. He said police should go and carry out proper investigations about him. He said he had been living in Ikota for over 20 years, was quite popular and had never committed any crime.

Recounting his own story, Odeyemi said he was initiated by his friend, Bariga. Just like others, Bariga invited him to a birthday party.

After his ordeal in the hands of the cultists, he was told that he had become a member of Aiye. There was no going back. Adekoya was initiated in April 2016 by one Jaiyee. The Jaiyee died last month, July, 2016.

According to Adekoya, he trusted Jaiyee and couldn’t believe that Jaiyee would betray him. His words: “He took me to a non-existing birthday party and initiated me into cultism, which I couldn’t escape.

He betrayed me. I didn’t tell him that I wanted to become a cultist.”

Reacting to Agbeto’s claim of innocence, Ikotun communiresidents said: “Olayinka is one of them! His friends nicknamed him the boss.

He’s actually the ring leader. He used to receive stolen property and collect money from the owners before releasing the items to them.

The one they called Shokey, brought cultists into our community.

He invited cultists to Ikota Community from Epe; the Epe men came and influenced those from our communit

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