by PATIENCE OGBO on Dec 13, 2014 / Dec 20, 2014
Many communities across Lagos State now live in fear due to the activities of cultists reports PATIENCE OGBO
A human rights activist and community leader in Shomolu Mr. Vincent Olatunde was shot by suspected cultists in front of his apartment at number 3 Craig Street, Shomolu last year . Sadly after months of nursing his gunshot wound, Mr. Olatunde died as a result of the complications from the gunshot wound . Before his death, Mr. Olatunde narrated how suspected cultists attacked him in his house on October 3rd 2013.
“I went out that morning but I came back home around 1. 30pm. A lady came to tell me that her brother said suspected cultists want to kill somebody. I asked her who they want to kill but she said she does not know. I know that I will become a target after I stopped some youth from burning the Alade police station on Tuesday over an Okada rider altercation with the police. The suspected cultists wanted to attack the station and use the opportunity to loot and terrorise the community but I stood with the police and chased them away.
I told them that they are not commercial motorcycle riders and so cannot protest over what does not concern them. Moreover they have not been having a field day in Somolu as they used to and they blamed me for the arrest of some of their gang leaders like Oseni Rasaki known as Elewure and others who are on the wanted list of the police so they came in their might that day to kill me”.
Narrating how he was attacked in broad day light, Mr. Olatunde said. “A boy called Hakeem was standing in front of me pleading on behalf of his father because it was his father that led people who wanted to burn the Alade police station.
As I was still talking to the boy,I saw the movement of the Okada riders and people I recognised as deadly cultists. I saw one boy named Famous popularly known as T-boy and others loitering on my street and before I could ask why they were hanging around, the cultists jumped from their bikes and opened fire to scare people. One of them shot at me but the bullet hit the guy (Hakeem) standing in front of me.
They opened fire and the bullet hit Hakeem on his back again. At that moment,I fled into my house but three of them named Afilo,T-boy and one Igbo boy wearing mask ran after me. Everybody on the street had scampered for safety and I was left at the mercy of the cultists.
I tried to use the doors in my house to stall them but they broke down four doors and kept shooting at me and they got to me inside the premises. I was cornered. I saw Afilo. He was the hitman. I know everyone of them. There was no place for me to escape to and seeing that I was surrounded,I told myself I was not going to die because I don’t see myself dying. I summoned courage and opened the door and they were right in front of me with the guns. I said “Afilo,you came to kill me?” Afilo was shocked that I recognised him. At that moment I turned my back to him and he told me.
“You, Supol Tofeek and Inspector Smart made the police to arrest Elewure(Rasaki Oseni), we will kill you first and then go for the others”. That was how Afilo shot me twice on my back. As I turned in pain to look at his face, the second bullet barely hit my eyes and I collapsed and blood started gushing out. When he saw blood, he told the others that I was died and they have completed their mission. Immediately he called a number on his mobile phone and told the person I was dead and they fled leaving me in the pool of my own blood”.
The doctor removed some cartridges from my body but they said there are about 27 more in my body. This incident happened in broad day light just a few meters from the Alade police station but the police did not show up. I guess everyone should now take responsibility for their own safety as these boys are mean and extremely deadly and the police are helpless while the government has turned a blind eye to this menace” Mr. Olatunde was rushed to the Island General hospital where he was treated but the doctors said they lack the equipment to extract the pellets from his body.
He was discharged to seek help from traditional doctors. Mr. Olatunde relocated from his house to an unknown destination, however on May 17th, Mr. Olatunde went into shock as a result of the wound he sustained from the gun shots and he died. The Lagos State police command Ikeja arraigned two men at the Ikeja Magistrate court for allegedly shooting Mr. Olatunde .
The accused, Abiodun Awotunbo 56 and Olanrewaju Sobande 36 were arraigned on a two count charge to wit: attempted murder and attempt to commit unlawful killing. Cult killings in Shomolu, Bariga , Ebute –Metta , Ikorodu and other suburbs of Lagos state is a growing concern that calls for urgent attention as suspected cultists aside from killing rival gang members have made live unbearable for residents . Sadly human rights activists and community leaders who have taken steps to stop rampaging youth have come under attack.
Another suburb in Lagos state that have witnessed gross maiming and killings from cult gangs is the Ebute-metta where suspected cultists have burnt houses, raided shops and as well attempted to kill a human rights activist and community leader Comrade Ishola Agbodimu who is a strong voice against their nefarious activities.
Mr. Agbodimu who is the Secretary of the Otto=Ilogbo extension slum dwellers also known as the Ifesowopo Community Development Association , at Ebute-metta is also the secretary of the Vigilante group in Lagos state. Mr. Agbodimu is not only speaking out against gangsters in Ebute –Metta but had gone ahead to mobilize men into the vigilante group to assist the police in community policing in the area. His efforts though commended by the police and residents, have however exposed him to attacks from cultists.
Mr. Agbodimu had come under severe attacks from gangsters who had shot him at close range and built his house and the only school he single handedly burnt in the Otto-Ilogbo slum; the cultists also allegedly burnt more than twenty houses in the last four years in the Otto slum to provetheir supremacy in the area.
The suspected cultists on August 17th attacked residents in the Otto- slum and stabbed Mr. Agbodimu in the stomach, and left him for dead. Commenting on the attack, Mr. Agbodimu said “ On August 17th, gun men numbering about 30 stormed the community about 3pm with machetes and guns when the residents were relaxing in their homes. I was sitting the home of our chairman one, Mr. Rasheed Lamina.
I was having headache and I decided to relax there until I felt better. However, I heard loud noise and people were scampering for safety. The gun men numbering about 30 stormed the community and started attacking people with cutlass and guns. They came to the chiarman’s house and told him that they are looking for their enemies. When the chairman asked them who their enemies are, they said “ Agbodimu” after I heard this , I ran and hide myself but the gunmen walked to the only primary school in the community where my house is also located and they started looking for me . When they did not see me, they started destroying the fence. They were going from room to room attacking people.
They said they know that I am hiding in one of the rooms and if they people did not hand me over, they will burn the went entire community. When I saw that they will not leave, I attempted to escape but they the gun men ran after me and shot me but the bullet missed . They went caught up with me and stab me in the stomach my intestine gushed out and I was left to die. This mayhem happened because the boys were fast and they ran away after they stabbed me .
I was rushed to a clinic where I was given first aid treatment. The doctor later referred me to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital LASUTH where I was treated but the boys who committed this callous acts have been on the run and the police are still investigating .This is a fight that we don’t know anything about. We suspect that the boys were out on a mission to kill Me and cause panic in the area .
The residents they attacked wanted to retaliate but we stopped the reprisal and reported the matter to the Iponri police station and the DPO sent police men to patrol the area. The lives of my other family members are in danger and despite my report to the police in SCID Panti Yaba, Nothing has been done to arrest these assassins. I am sad because other residents in the community are being attacked with impunity.
My house has been razed to the ground and the situation has gone from bad to worse as these blood thirty men are still hunting to eliminate me. My family and other members of the community have been rendered homeless. The police must fish out these boys and stop them from their mindless attacks on innocent citizens” Jude Obada (not real name ) got a taste of what life can be in the Bariga suburb when on December 1st he was attacked in his house by rampaging youth.
Jude a graduate of the University of Lagos was looking for a place to stay while he sorts out his clearance from school . He decided to put up with his friend John Anyim in a one room apartment at number 48 0dugunwa Street in Bariga area of Lagos state, a stone throw from his University. Jude had hardly lived in the house for two weeks when he got his baptism of fire.
Narrating his ordeal, he said “ I have finished my examination at the university of Lagos but I had to leave my hostel accommodation. Since I had to conduct my clearance in school, I decided to stay with a friend at Bariga area , very close to the university. My friend’s rent was due for renewal so I decided to pay since the money was affordable .
I had barely moved into the apartment for two weeks when I got the shock of my life . “ I got the greatest shock of my life on December 1st about 5am. I had gone outside my house to pray and as soon as I returned, I decided to take a nap . My roommate went outside the room to have his bath.
All of a sudden, I heard a strong kick on our door. The door was forced opened with the kick and four fierce looking men holding dangerous weapon entered the room. They ordered me to give them my phone. I was shocked but before I could do anything, two of them grabbed me while the other man reached for my trouser pocket and removed my phone. Though the room was dark, but they were using the light from their phone to ransack the house. They stole a phone and digital camera that belong to my church.
They also stole my wallet . I have never experienced such a horrible situation in my life. They kept ransacking the room and as soon as they have gotten what they could lay their hand on, the men fled into other houses and continued their raid from house to house. It was a very bad situation to see criminals having a field day.
After the thieves left my room, I trail them outside and noticed that they were many. They kept breaking down doors and raiding houses with impunity” Jude had since moved from the apartment following the encounter with the robbers. He added that it was not the first time such attacks happened in the area and lamented the helplessness of residents as he calls on the authority to stop the mindless robbery attacks in Bariga area of the state .
“ I am not from Bariga . I live in Ogun state but with what I experienced, Bariga needs constant police presence because this is not the first time such a thing will happened but the boys always get away with their crime. Though I heard such attacks and raids are common in Bariga, I did not know that I can fall a victim. I value my life and after the ugly incident, I relocated from the area . I don’t know what those residents who have houses there can do about these bad boys who have continued to terrorise the community. Last week, some thieves also visited the area and raided houses and from what I gathered , this is a frequent raid and the community have accepted it as their fate” Jude story depicts the life of residents in Bariga , shomolu, Fadeyi, Mushin Ojeluagba and Ebute- Metta areas of the state .
Investigations of these communities, show that in the last five years, residents in these suburbs have fallen victims to persistent gang attacks. The residents said deadly cultists masquerading as armed robbers have raided houses, killed rival gangs , destroyed property and caused mayhem in the communities .
While the identities of the gang members are shrouded in secrecy, a police officer however revealed that members of the community are aware of the activities of the deadly gangs but are afraid to turn them in. The source said “ It seems like a normal thing for young boys to belong to cult groups.
Their parents are aware of but they do not try to stop them. also , we found out that residents living in fear are not willing to speak out. Our correspondent was however reliably informed by some members of the public who do not want their names published said the gangs go by different names, “feeling stealing boys, EFCC boys, Down Town Boys, Shaggy boys, Toba Boys, Eiye, Aiye cults.
Investigations reveal that the Feeling Stealing boys are boys who move about in a group of about 50. They are age between 10- 15 and their strength lies in their numbers. A resident who requested anonymity said “Whenever you see a group of boys numbering about 20 attacking homes , then you know that they are not only armed robbers but also cultists.
These boys are well known in the community. They have a leader who mobilises them to steal. When they go out on such operations, they are usually moiré than fifty in numbers. they move from house to house and they are not scared of the police as they can operate at any time if the day.
When they are on such deadly missions they are usually armed with guns , cutlass, and other deadly weapons . They steal phones and other belonging . they also rape women, destroy cars parked at road sides and cause mayhem with impunity. Residents who cannot stay usually relocate due to the incessant attacks by these boys” A police source revealed to our correspondent that the supremacy battle between rival gangs have resulted in loss of lives and property adding that young men in the areas who want to feel safe and protected are lured into cult groups.
The police source said “When cases of looting or raiding of houses are reported, we discovered from investigation that the suspects also belong to cult groups. The two major cult groups in Shomolu and Bariga are the Eiye and the Aiye gangs. These boys are well known in the community.
Their parents and other family members know that they are cult members and they encourage them. From our interrogation with some of them, they confessed to us that they join cult groups to get protection. They told us that belonging to cult groups makes them secured and gives them a sense of belonging. Such gangs engage in looting of houses to fend for themselves and the residents known them, but they will never expose them”
In this report PATIENCE OGBO chronicles cult killings in Lagos State from 2010- 2014
CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK…
According to vigilante groups, between 2010 and 2014, deadly cults have killed over twenty persons in Lagos state and residents and passers-by usually get caught in the long hours of fracas by suspected cultists.
Last year at Popoola, Oreofero Adifase, Osho and Fadipe Streets were thrown into a battle field as the cultists as the Eiye and Aiye cult members engaged one another with cutlass and other dangerous weapon.
A source who narrated the incident said “ A Councillor with the Somolu Local Government Area, one Hon. Tunde, organised a street football match. “The boys from Bariga, who are mostly Aiye Cult boys, who came for the match at Odunlami Street, were attacked by the Eiye boys in Somolu. “One Tijanni was axed all over his body. “The next day, the Aiye cult caught up with one Hammed and retaliated.
“Three days later, a boy named Elede was critically wounded by the Eiye boys at Rufai Street. “These boys are lying critically ill at the hospital. “The attack and counter attack snowballed into daylight clash.”
A resident, who requested anonymity, said: “These boys are known as the Eiye/EFCC boys. “Their junior wing consisting of boys of 10 years to 13 years are called the Feeling Stealing Boys of Shomolu. Also in 2013 , in a renewed gang war in the Oduduwa area of Bariga, suspected cultists from Aiye on a revenge mission, attacked one Udeme believed to be a member of Eiye over the attack on their member identified as Wisdom .
Residents said Udeme with his Eiye gang members attacked Wisdom and left him for death . however , Wisdom’s gang members from Aiye stormed Adefemi Street and attacked Udeme with deadly weapons and chopped off his right hand and left his corpse to rot. But the police came and removed the mutilated corpse. The gang also went on a looting spree as they vandalized cars and other property.
The police men from the Area H police Command Ogudu arrested six men in connection with the killing. On September 3rd 2013, about 8.15 pm a suspected cultist Tunde Lawal 23 was shot dead by suspected rival cult gang at Fadipe Street Somolu . Tunde popularly known as Ogbon was shot dead during exchange of gunshot between alleged members of two rival cult gangs in the area. According to residents Tunji a member of Eiye cult with other members rode on bikes to their base at Salami street in Somolu.
There has been altercation between the Eiye and Aiye gang over supremacy of the area. The gangs wanted to take charge of the area and to achieve this they shot at one another. Tunde was hit in the chest and he slumped and died on the spot.
The others ran away leaving him in the pool of his blood. The residents expressed joy over Tunde›s death as they accused him and others at large of raping a pregnant lady at the Abule Ijesha area before the clash that killed him.
A source who requested anonymity said the unnamed lady died due to the truama from the rape. Despite police intervention, the cult war in Somolu and Bariga areas of the state continued unabated.
A vigilantee member put the death from cult related killings in the areas at over twenty in the last two years. « Over twenty young men have died in their senseless war and there seem to be no end .The battle is always between the Aiye Boys and the Eiye Boys.
It is a clash over supremacy of the area. Each time they go on rampage they always leave behind tales of woe,looting ,vandalism ,robbery and all kind of atrocities;these killings are mindless and innocent residents are wounded and killed in the process.
In a gang war at the Akoka area of Bariga over 100 vehicles were vandalised and residents were injured when suspected members of the Eiye confraternity attacked residents of Popoola and Akoka streets during a funeral rite of one of their members called Old School who was killed in another cult clash when the Shomolu Council Chairman held a festival tagged «Judas Iscariot festival.
At about 3.30 am on August 6th, suspected cultists known as the EFCC boys stormed a house at Bariga killing two men and wounding two others in a renewed cult war between suspected Eiye and Aiye boys from the Somolu/ Bariga area.
The suspected cultists were in search of one Tijani and one Oshodi said to be members of Aiye, who reside in the house but they were wrongly informed of the duo’ s exact room in the house.The cultists allegedly attacked one Micheal, an auto-mechanic and one Jimoh, a generator engineer, wioth cutlass .
The two men were fast asleep with three other people in the roomJimoh and Michael were attacked with cutlasses and shot at close range, while two others were critically injured. Jimoh and Michael died instantly while the injured were taken to the hospital.
Also on June 6th ,suspected cultists stabbed one Osondu Boobu, 25, at the Famous Bus Stop in the Pedro area of Bariga local government council in Lagos. Osondu was killed about 8 p.m by suspected cultists on a reprisal attack. «When he (Osondu) entered the bar, he met some members of the Eiye confraternity, who asked him for money.
His refusal to give them money infuriated them and they accused him of being a member of Aiye, a rival cult, claiming to have seen him sitting with members of the Aiye at Ladylak area of the estate. The Eiye cult members namely Bonjeu, Arinze, Ahmed and one Feso, Ayo and Akilapa, were all in the hotel bar.
They stabbed him (Osondu) many times and he ran away from the hotel to get help but he later died. A Divisional Police offi cer in the area who requested anonymity said “Virtually every young man in Shomolu, Bariga, Mushin and other suburbs belong to a cult.
You will see welders, bricklayers, technicians, footballers, hair dressers, taxi drivers, bus drivers, meat sellers, tailors and whatever belonging to cult and their parents are not bothered.
We have been arresting this cultists but it is diffi cult because the communities where these cultists strive see cultism as a normal way of life. We do not know why this strives but their parents are the problem especially their mothers”
As a way of stopping cult related killings in Lagos state, renowned Security Expert and President of Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, said the government can rid communities of cultists by flooding the areas with massive police presence. “The issue of cultism in suburbs is as a result of poor community policing.
We need a police system that is decentralized so that members of the public can easily access police stations. The idea of community policing is having a police post on every streets and police officers building relationship with members of the community so that they get to know who is who in the area. The government should flood the areas with policemen so that those who want to commit crime will not have it easy.
The cultists are operating with impunity because they know they can get away with their evil acts but when policemen with morals are deployed to these areas and they have the order to deal mercilessly with these boys then they will not have room to operate.
The police also need to get these boys to reveal their sponsors and those sponsors should be arrested and exposed”Dr. Ekhomu said. Reacting to the activities of cultists in Lagos state, the Lagos State police command spokesperson, DSP Kenneth Nwosu said the police have reduced the activities of deadly cultists in Lagos state.
“Our men have been massively deployed to these areas in a bid to contain their (cultists) reactions and this is paying off because for some time now, they have been kept a bay.
We know that these areas are endemically prone to these crimes but our men are proactively policing these communities trying to ensure that those hoodlums are kept in check and we have succeeded in this regards though I can say that this crime has not been completely eradicated . We have discreet surveillance, both covert and overt security measures are in place in those areas.
We have plain clothes operatives in those areas to arrest the kingpins sponsoring these hoodlum because we believe that if we arrest the kingpins, the followers will retreat . We believe that arresting the kingpins will put a stop to the activity of their followers and it is not true that we allow these cultists to go after arresting them .
As a law abiding organisation, we ensure that we follow due process and after our investigations, we charge them to court” About 5.30pm on December 31st, 2013 residents said suspected cultists struck at Oyebola street Bariga Lagos where they allegedly murdered one Lekan, popularly known as Stubborn.
A resident who requested anonymity said the suspected cultists used dangerous weapons to stab Lekan all over his body and also severed his intestines. A resident who requested anonymity said “ It was a gruesome murder.
I have never seen such killing in my life .The cultists rode on bikes. They were many and they cornered Lekan . They stabbed him all over and brought out his intestines and left the intestine on his chest. It was a horrific sight”. The suspected cultists allegedly moved to Adefise Street in Shomolu that same day where they allegedly murdered one Tosin, popularly known as Eniba.
About midnight during the End of Year carnival at the Fadeyi area of the State, suspected cultists also struck and killed one Kazeem, popularly known as Asanti The killing spree continued unabated and on January 4th, suspected cultists allegedly killed one Jimoh Lawal a DJ at the Olosa area of Mushin.. On September 3rd 2013, about 8.15 pm a suspected cultist Tunde Lawal 23 was shot dead by suspected rival cult gang at Fadipe Street Somolu .
Tunde popularly known as Ogbon was shot dead during exchange of gunshot between alleged members of two rival cult gangs in the area. according to residents Tunji a member of Eiye cult with other members rode on bikes to their base at Salami street in Somolu.
There has been altercation between the Eiye and Aiye gang over supremacy of the area. The gangs wanted to take charge of the area and to achieve this they shot at one another.
Tunde was hit in the chest and he slumped and died on the spot. The others ran away leaving him in the pool of his blood.
The residents expressed joy over Tunde’s death as they accused him and others at large of raping a pregnant lady at the Abule Ijesha area before the clash that killed him. in 2013 the gruesome murder on February 28th of Damola Olaniyan popularly known as Damoche shook students of the Lagos State University .
Damoche an upcoming musician was a 400level student of Banking and Finance at the Lagos state university but was killed during his final examinations in front of the school main gate by armed men who shot him in the chest at close range .
Few days after Damoche was murdered , suspected cultists in a reprisal attack struck at the off campus residence of the students at Okokomaiko and killed another student identified as Kabiru. On March 20th 2013 , suspected cultists led by one Taiye allegedly killed a student of the North American University in Benin Republic identified as Adeolu Otenaike.
Adeolu had visited Lagos with five of his friends to celebrate a car he bought. His friend Chinedu who survived the cult attack said they visited the Arena , a popular club and the headquarters of the Black Axe Confraternity in Lagos at the Jibowu area of the state but trouble started when the said Taiye ordered Adeolu and his friends to leave the club ; Chinedu alleged that Taiye led some boys and they waylaid Adeolu and his friends as they left the club and shot Adeolu at close range, left him in the pool of his blood .
Following the murder ,there were reprisal attacks to avenge Adeolu’s death as four other men identified as Fadeyi, Olosa , Martins and Adeyemi were attacked and killed in the Mushin area of the State.
In June 6th, suspected cultists shot dead a 26 –year-old man identified as Osondo Boubo at the Fadeyi area of the State. Osondo was said to be drinking beer in a popular spot in the area when armed men stormed the place, dragged him out and shot him in the chest. Also , August 6th 2013 , suspected cultists stormed Ebunoluwa Street at Bariga where they stabbed two men who were fast asleep to death.
The victims, identified as Mokolia Ibadan and Wale Rewire were allegedly killed in a reprisal attack following the killing of one Isiaka Oyefeso in Shomolu.
The bloody cult killing also claimed the life of the Financial Secretary of the National Union of Road Transports Workers in Mushin identified as Taiye Monsuru, aka Sempe Taiye was killed very close to his home at 45 Adegboyega Street, Ilupeju after about ten men said to have attacked and shot him at close range.
Also in December 10th 2014, suspected cultists attacked one Segun Ogbere popularly known as Shaggy and stabbed him to death .
Segun, the leader of the Shaggy Boys in Bariga was returning from a court where he was a star witness in an alleged murder case when his assailants numbering about 15, dragged him out of a tipper vehicle at the Bariga area and stabbed him severely until his intestines gushed out.
The cultists attacked him on Moore Street in Bariga and stabbed him to death with broken bottles and other dangerous weapons then left him to bleed to death. It was gathered that Solomon had returned from the Court in Igbosere Lagos Island where he had a case with the Baale of the Ilaje Community one Kayode Ayetemuwa over the control of certain petty businesses and sand dredging sites. The gang war in Mushin area of Lagos state last year also led o the killing of one Bode,a 29-year-old man.
It was gathered that Bode was killed after members of a rival gang fought for supremacy . An eyewitness stated that the rival gang from Akodu street gathered midnight at Adeyemi street to retailiate an earlier attack on one of their members identified as Joseph Odebowale allegedly beaten to stupor by “the Boys from Adeyemi Street at Mushin Olosha.Odewale was beaten up by some youths on Adeyemi Street two weeks ago for raping an unidentified girlfriend of the gang.
His gang members came to retaliate the action when they were attacked by the rival boys and in the process,Bode was shot dead. Suspected cultists on May 6th , 2014 at the Ebute Metta area of Lagos State killed a mechanic, one Mr. Lateef Shittu, a father of seven in front of his workshop on Jones Street.
According to eye witneses,the rampaging cultist at about 7pm, dragged Mr. Shittu from under a bus he was working , smashed the windscreen of the bus and stabbed him several times , before they shot in the head and left him to die.
Persons suspected to be cultists on August 29th 2014 killed the head of operations, Security Unit of the University of Lagos, one Mr. Sunday Adejumo 50.