The Nigeria police on Monday in Abuja paraded 11 suspected kingpins of cult groups unleashing mayhem on Edo state.
The suspect cultists are David Olukoga (36, engineer, Eiye confraternity), Salako Adebowale (43, doctor, Black Axe confraternity), Osunde Aigbedo (48, Black Axe confraternity), Ahunwan-Id (39, Black Axe confraternity), Uche Chukwuka (36, Eiye confraternity), Adebo Eguaoja (46, Buccaneers), and Totti Omonuwu (42, Eiye confraternity). Other suspects are Ernest Amadasun (49, Black Axe confraternity), Isobor Larry (34, Norsemen confraternity), Felix O Evbod (34, Black Axe confraternity) and Joshua Ehiabahi (36, Jurist confraternity). According to Emmanuel Ojukwu, commissioner and police spokesman, the suspects are being “interrogated for their conspiratorial involvement in the murder of 10 Nigerians, including one late Ojo Aye Adu, 55 years, between April 5 and May 5, 2015 in Edo state”. Ojukwu stated that Solomon Arase, the inspector-general of police, dispatched a crack squad to Edo state on May 11 in an effort to stem the spate of cultism in the state. The fruit of the operation, he explained, was the arrest of the 11 suspected kingpins of the confraternities, as well as about 68 foot soldiers. The police spokesman said exhibits such as cult objects, membership cards of different political parties, passport-size photographs of people marked “RIP” and weapons were recovered from some of the suspects. Responding to questions from journalists, one of the suspects, David Olukoga, denied the involvement of his group in cult activities, but alleged that he was arrested at a peace meeting called by the Edo state police commissioner to end the reign of “cult terror” in the state. Another suspect, Salako Adebowale, also claimed that his group “fosters peace”, adding that he was at the same meeting when he was arrested. Ojukwu further disclosed that 30 fresh suspects “linked to the murder of one Constance Iyoha, 23, an apprentice interior decorator” had been arrested. “The incident occurred during a fracas which broke out among members of Marphites confraternity, who are students of Auchi Polytechnic that came for initiation ceremonies on May 12 at Baladi Hotels Aviele,” he said. “Eleven of the suspects have so far confessed to membership of Marphites confraternity.” The police spokesman said the suspects would be charged to court at the conclusion of investigations.