•CP disbands anti-cultism unit after murder of 15 people
Residents of Igbogbo in Ikorodu area of Lagos State have revealed their ordeal in the hands of suspected cultists following the murder of two lovers.
The lovers were alleged to have been mowed down by cultists, when they came for a certain target, but missed him.
The incident occurred on Thursday last week, leading to the death of 15 people as rival cult groups embarked on reprisals.
Worried by the escalating violence in Lagos, especially Ikorodu, the state Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, went to Ikorodu on assessment and later disbanded the Anti-Cultism Unit in the state.
He created a new unit charged with the task of eradicating cultism in the state. It was learnt that on Thursday last week, at Igbogbo, some suspected Eiye members stormed the house of the Aiye leader, Omidele Yusuf, with the intention of killing him. However, when they got to his home, he was not around. Yusuf’s younger brother and his girlfriend were at home. The cultists decided to kill the lovers just to send a message to Yusuf.
The killers have been identified as Eiye members and Yusuf’s brother has been named as Daniel. After killing the lovers, the killers calmly called Yusuf and gleefully told him that they have killed his brother, Daniel, and his girlfriend. They told Yusuf that there was no hiding place for him. They said anywhere they saw him, he would become a dead man.
Since then, Ikorodu has become a killing ground as Yusuf decided to avenge his brother’s death. Both rival groups, Aiye and Eiye, had taken to attacking and killing each other.
Our correspondent, who visited Ikorodu, discovered that the killing of Daniel and his girlfriend triggered a lot of crisis and killings, with people in the community now packing out.
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “We’re all living in fear because Yusuf’s group is also threatening to avenge the killing of their leader’s younger brother and his girlfriend. Presently, we don’t know what will happen. The following day, after the killing of Daniel and his girlfriend, the CP, visited the community.
“At least 23 cultists were arrested, including three females. Police also recovered wraps of Indian hemp and locally-made guns. It was as a result of the killings of the 15 cultists by the Eiye group, that the command inaugurated a special team across the state to tackle the menace of the cultism in Ikorodu and other parts of the state.”
A resident, Mr. Adebanjo, said: “On May 20, during fasting, four suspected cultists, on motorcycle, came into our area and dragged a young man in his thirties out of his parents’ house. They took him to a junction in the area and killed him. Nobody in the compound could challenge the cultists. It was after they had gone that we were able to come out. That is what we are facing in Ikorodu on a daily basis. The situation is getting out of control.
“We couldn’t sleep with our two eyes closed anymore. These cultists are killing each other like chickens. I’m elated with some of the arrests made by police. These arrests will send a strong signal to other cultists. Police should work day and night to crush them in Ikorodu and its environs.”
A hairdresser, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “When the cultists were fighting on Thursday, my shop and that of others were looted. Phones and money were forcibly collected from those returning from work. Sometimes, we don’t always know what is causing their clash.
“On the fateful day of this clash, I was in my shop, attending to customers when I suddenly saw people running. Before I knew what was happening, about three men stormed into my shop. They ordered me to kneel and covered my face. I was at that spot, while they ransacked my shop. When they left, it was then I noticed that the money in my bag and two phones were gone.
“They were doing everything hurriedly; after they left my shop, they went to about four other shops in the area. Unfortunately, policemen, who were close to the Ikorodu roundabout, couldn’t challenge the cultists. We’re under siege. Even females, vulcanizers, transporters and secondary school students are now being initiated into cultism. We want peace in Ikorodu. Nobody dares stays outside till 9p.m. The person might get killed or robbed.”
A resident of Ladega Street, who gave his name simply as Adeyemi, said: “All we want is peace in Ikorodu. We cannot walk freely. We want Ikorodu back to the way it used to be before cultists started running amok.
Meanwhile, Bariga and Somolu areas of the metropolis were not left out of the killings that had engulfed Lagos State for long. On Thursday and Friday, Eiye and Aiye groups engaged each other in a killing spree. When the dust raised by their battle settled, seven bodies were counted.
One Olala, a member of Eiye cult group was killed at Abule-Oja area around 8p.m on Thursday, while one Teslim was also killed same day inside Majok Filling Station at Ilaje-Bariga area, about 8.30p.m.
The leader of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) in Bariga, who does not want his name mentioned, said they had been working round the clock to arrest the leader of Aiye group and his second in command. The leader is Toheeb, while is second in command is Mokoyako.
The OPC leader said: “Police have declared Toheeb wanted on several occasions. Whenever he is arrested, police will release him. And each time they set him free, he comes into the community to boast that nobody could arrest and detain him.
“Toheeb has killed a lot of people in Bariga. Even a commander of OPC was killed on March 10, by this same notorious cult leader in Oworoshoki. I believe there are politicians behind some of these cultists. Anyway, where is Ibrahim Balogun aka Jpron today? It’s just a matter of time before we get him and his gang members.”
Muazu, while at Ikorodu on Monday, launched the special squad tagged: “Operation Crush,” to flush cultism and cultists out of Lagos.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bala Elkana, said that 16 people were arrested in Ikorodu following the murder of the lovers.
He said: “On June 6, about 11p.m., Ikorodu Police Station received a distress call that members of two rival cult groups, Aiye and Eiye confraternities, clashed. During the clash, Sodiq Adewale (28) was killed, while Tayo Ogini (28) was injured. A team of policemen led by the Divisional Police Officer, a Superintendent of Police (SP), Babalola Sarafa, was promptly drafted to the scene. One short gun, cutlasses, stolen phones and various charms were recovered from the suspects.”