By Evelyn Usman
It was a harvest of the arrest of over 400 criminal suspects that have been terrorising Lagos State. Among them were robbery suspects, suspected kidnappers, self-confessed fraudsters, traffic robbers and cultists who confessed to belonging to different confraternities.
In Lagos State, one of the security challenges confronting the Police is the activities of cultists. There is no area in the state that does not have at least four different confraternities.
These have been discovered to be responsible for most robberies in the state. Their activities have assumed a worrisome dimension, owing to constant cult clashes during which they brandish dangerous weapons such as guns, axes, cutlasses and broken bottles.
Most times they loot shops and dispossess innocent residents of cash and other valuables during clashes.
Though many of them have been sent to early graves, during such clashes, while others sustained indelible scars, yet, their reign of terror in communities they live have remained unabated.
For instance, Low Cost Housing estate, Oke-Afa, in Isolo area of Lagos, popularly known as Jakande estate, has been bedeviled by activities of cultists in recent times.
At a point, certain areas in the estate were avoided by residents, especially at night, owing to fear of possible attacks by warring rival cult groups. One of the fearful spots is the estate’s field, by the secondary school, where some of these cultists and other criminal elements hang out to smoke Indian hemp.
There had been reported cases of rape, attack on passersby, and killing rival cultists at that spot. Some time ago, a man who was returning from a restaurant where he had gone to hand out with friends was shot dead and his car snatched in the process.
Residents said at a time the open field was fenced in order for criminal elements to hide atrocities committed behind the walls. But the fence was demolished by government officials during the demolition of illegal structures.
Investigation revealed that the latest clash in the estate was between the Aiye and Eiye confraternities, which left at least four persons dead, many injured, while others who managed to escape, are still in hiding till date.
Since the last fight in March 2020, the Lagos State Police Command has been on the trail of some key cultists alleged to have taken part in the clash and previous ones.
Its efforts have yielded positive results following the arrest of some fleeing suspects.
To the amazement of all, one of the suspects, Segun Olorunwa, disclosed that he was one of the hitmen of Eiye confraternity in the estate. But his frail body frame would never have given him away as one who could perpetuate the devilish act he admitted culpability.
I killed four Aiye members
Olorunwa, who was arrested by operatives of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the command, revealed how he killed three members of rival Aiye cult group in Jakande estate and another at Ikorodu.
According to him: “I live in Jakande Estate, Junction bus-stop and I belong to Eiye confraternity. So far, I have killed four rival cultists, all Aiye members.
“Three were killed at Jakande estate, while the fourth one was in Ikorodu. I killed Ijebu, Michael, and Sunday, in Jakande estate.
“Aiye members always want to oppress people. They assume they are superior to other groups. One of them, Ijebu, always threatened all of us. I killed him with a cutlass during a clash between our members. He was running for escape on that day. I chased him, caught up with him, and used cutlass on him until he died.
“For Michael, I shot him with a gun, at Isheri Osun, while I strangled Sunday to death during a separate clash. I killed the fourth person at Ikorodu”.
I am a hitman
Another suspect, Lawal Muri, who claimed he also lived in Jakande estate, said he and six others fled, after the last fight.
He revealed that seven of them from the estate were Eiye hitmen who usually hired for reprisal attacks in Ikorodu.
Hear him: “Seven of us from Jakande estate are usually contacted to help Ikorodu boys to fight Aiye members. I have an informant in Ikorodu. Anytime there is a cult war in Ikorodu, our capon would give seven of us guns to go and bring our rivals down “.
I joined cultism to spite my grandfather
However, another suspected member of Eiye confraternity, Muiz Lawal, 21, popularly called Onishawa, who was arrested following a cult clash in the Denton area of Lagos, denied killing anyone since he joined the group. He stated that he joined cultism in 2018, to spite his grandfather, whom he accused of neglecting him.
According to him: “ I lost my father when I was younger. My mother abandoned me for another man when I was three years old. I was left with my grandfather who never believed I would amount to anything good.
“I was rusticated from United High School Ayengburen, for being the King of Boys. It was not a cult group. But we were always engaged in inter-school fights.
“My family abandoned me because they said I was its black sheep. My grandfather is the chairman of slaughters at Odo-Eran, Denton.
“I had to join cultism to spite him and bring shame to him and other members of my family for abandoning me.
“I approached my grandfather some time ago to sponsor me abroad but he refused. I am a Disc Jockey and also the slaughter of cows.
“My identity in the confraternity is Sparrow 21 colours. My position is the DOVE. We have three types of doves: Intelligence, Armoury, and Rugged.
“I am the Intelligence Dove and my duty is specifically on security. I am to inform the Capon about any untoward movements during an outing.
“Rugged Dove handles the weapons and is always in the bush, while the armoury Dove personally guards the Capon. I was arrested by Oyabo boys at Ikorodu garage”.
Murder of rival cultist in uncompleted building
Also arrested were nine members of the Eiye confraternity, in connection with the killing of a rival cultist in Odogunyan, Ikorodu area of Lagos, last month.
The video on how the rival cultist identified simply as Ahmed was bound, interrogated before he was shot dead, went viral on social media, consequent upon which the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, directed that the suspects be fished out.
One of the suspects, Francis Diamond, who was arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS of the Lagos State Police Command, reportedly mentioned names of his eight colleagues who also participated in the killing, during interrogation.
Their identities are: Olaitan Apanpa, 31; Chidi Michael 25; Eno Sunday 25; Saheed Gadebo, 23; Adepeju Azeez, 38; Samuel Ilesanmi; Omotosho Quadri, 25 and Moses Ogungbe.
Preliminary investigation according to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Hakeem Odumosu, revealed that one of the suspects, Apanpa, popularly called Emir/Armoured Tank, pulled the trigger that snuffed life out of the rival cultist.
How we killed him
When approached, Apanpa, told Crime Guard that “ I am the third in position in Eiye confraternity in Ikorodu. We kill rival cult members with axes and cutlasses. The cause of the lingering cult fight in Ikorodu is supremacy battle.
“Some of our members buy scraps. When they load them to go and sell in the market, rival cultists will rob them.
“During the just-concluded Ramadan fast, Aiye men killed one of our members. The deceased was running from policemen who came to raid the area and in the process, ran into the midst of members of Aiye.
“Four months after the killing, we saw one of those who participated in it, at Industrial bus-stop. We took him to an uncompleted building, shot him dead, and abandoned his body there”.
I recorded the killing
On his part, Francis Diamond disclosed that his role in the killing was to record the process with a phone.
He said, “I was a member of Eiye but left at a point. On that day, they called me to join them. When we got to the uncompleted building, they gave me a phone to record the killing process. It was meant to be sent to Aiye members. I could not say no because I was afraid they could kill me”.
These suspected cultists were alleged to be serial killers of rival cult members in Ikorodu and its environs. Gbadebo, disclosed that he single handedly killed two rival cultists at Bayekun street, Ikorodu, and five others at Ajah.
11 cultists arrested in Denton
Also in Denton area of Lagos, 11 suspected cultists were arrested in connection with a lingering cult war in the area.
During one of the fights between cult members of Feemen, Kadara, and Markets Streets, where dangerous weapons were freely used, both sides suffered fatal injuries.
Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS effected the arrest of the suspects identified as: Ibrahim Yahaya, 36; John Olorunwa, 23 years; Ayo Ogunshe, 17; Rilwan Fukunle, 21; Fatai Akanbi, 22; Kazeem Fatai, 23; Samuel Adeyemi, 26; Khalifa Babatunde, 27; Kehinde Oladapo, 23 and Mubarak Alate, 23.
Recovered from them were: matchets, axes, and knives. During interrogation, they attributed the incessant cult war to Supremacy battle.
Another arrest of suspected cultists was effected at Ijora Badia area of the state by SARS operatives. The suspects numbering seven, confessed to be members of the Aiye and Eiye cult groups.
They were arrested under the bridge at Ijora Badia , while spoiling for a fight. Some of them were alleged to have hijacked the situation to smash windscreens of unsuspecting motorists and robbed them of cash, phones and valuables.
Identities of the suspects were: Saheed Idris, 28; Sunday Ifelowo, 28; Adams Babatunde, 32; Akeem Ajibola, 32; Jamiu Balogun ‘, 24; years Sodiq Balogun, 22 and Muritala Ibrahim, 22.
They were also alleged to be responsible for the recent attack on the residents of Ijora and Ajegunle areas .
In addition, four other suspected members of Aiye cult group were arrested at Igbogbo, Ikorodu, while planning to launch a reprisal attack on a rival group.
Two others: were arrested at Oke-Suna area of Lagos Island wielding dangerous arms, apparently preparing to carry out an onslaught against rival group.
While other members of their group Aiye, fled on sighting the Police, the duo of Aseyemi Olarewaju, 25 and Lineman Seun, 25, were not so lucky.
A cut-to-size locally made pistol with two live cartridges according to the Police, were recovered from them.
During interrogation, they admitted being members of the Aiye, adding that they bought the gun from one Raimi with N25,000, for self defence.
Cultism records highest arrest
CP Odumosu disclosed that 195 suspects were arrested for cultism in the last one month, in Lagos . From the statistics of arrests made in the last one month, cultism ranked highest.
Odumosu, at a press conference and parade of criminal suspects at the command headquarters on Wednesday, disclosed that 420 suspects were arrested for various crimes in the state, within one month..
A breakdown of the arrest as highlighted by him, showed that 41 of them were robbery suspects, four were suspected kidnappers, while 52 were arrested for murder.
He said, within the last one-month, the Command arrested 41 armed robbery suspects and successfully foiled 28 armed robbery attempts. One armed robbery suspect died during an exchange of fire with the Police. 195 suspects were arrested for cultism.
Four suspects were arrested for kidnapping and 52 suspects were arrested for murder.
“The state recorded six cases of suicide and prevented four suicide attempts. Nineteen assorted firearms with lots of ammunition of different calibre, cutlasses, axes, other dangerous weapons, and charms were recovered. The Command also recovered six stolen vehicles under the period under review”, he stated.
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