By Femi Ogbonnikan
The long arm of the law has caught up with a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 student of a private college in Sango, Ogun State, who is currently in police net for alleged armed robbery.
Opeyemi Johnson, 13 years old, said to be a member of a notorious cult group, ‘Awawa’, which has been unleashing mayhem on residents of Agege and its environs in recent times, was arrested recently, along with another member, while returning from a street carnival somewhere at Agbado Crossing, in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State after which they started robbing people of their valuables.
SATURDAY THIS DAY gathered that nemesis however, caught up with the 13-year-old, when a victim identified him to operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RSS), the Lagos State Government security outfit, who were on routine patrol of the area.
According to Opeyemi, “I followed my cult members, numbering 20, to a carnival at Power Line, Agbado Crossing, which falls within the territory of Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State. On our way home, our Capon (head), nicknamed ‘Ijaomode’ instructed us to start robbing anybody we met on our way.
“We robbed not less than 10 individuals of their belongings, before we got to Fagba Junction. At this point, we saw a young girl, whom we immediately surrounded and collected all her belongings, including phones and jewelry. She later went to alert RRS men who chased us and they arrested me, while my other colleagues managed to escape.”
Opeyemi disclosed that he joined the cult group about a year ago.
“I was initiated into the group about a year ago. It was one brother whom I simply know as Ola, that introduced and forced me to join the group.
“Initially, I never knew it would turn out to be this. Immediately, I saw their ways of life and characters, I wanted to quit, but they threatened to kill me, if I dare leave the group”, he claimed.
While narrating how the cult initiation was performed on him, the suspect said, “It was on a Sunday evening at Abattoir, Agege. Ola took me to one dark room and ordered me to kneel down. In that room, I met six other members of the group already waiting for my arrival. The cult leader, ‘Ijaomode’ blindfolded me with a black piece of cloth, and all the six members descended on me. They gave me the beating of my life.
“After a while, they stopped. They gave me an alligator pepper to chew and also, an alcoholic drink to gulp it down. One of them stood up, he drew tattoo on my forehead and below my eyes as a sign of being a bonafide member of the group. Since that time, I have been going out with them for operations, and also, I stopped going back home. I used to sleep in a shanty plank room at Abattoir, Agege.”
The suspect added that his mother never showed him his biological father since he was born.
“I don’t know who my father is till now. My mother just told me, he is a Congolese. I had made frantic efforts to see him, to the extent, that I had to travel to Congo alone to look for him, but I couldn’t see him. Rather, I saw some of his family members, who told me, he had travelled out of that country. But now, I have made a headway and I can only talk to him via phone,” Johnson said.
In her own accounts, the suspect’s mother, Mrs. Johnson said, she had tried all her best to give him sound education and good upbringing.
“He is my third child. Though I had remarried, that doesn’t stop me from playing my motherly roles toward him. His two older siblings are in higher institutions. I have tried enough to ensure that he didn’t go astray. I enrolled him in a private school at Sango, I wondered how he got to Abattoir, Agege. I gave him and his siblings all my best,” the mother said.
A victim, Soerayion Naisha Akiomon, who alerted the RRS operatives after she was robbed, also narrated her ordeal to the police.
“I was on my way to Balogun market, in Lagos Island. On getting to Fagba junction, hoping to board a bus around4:00 a.m., about 15 boys surrounded me, with dangerous weapons and asked me to surrender all I had on me.”
“I had to cooperate with them, and they collected a sum of N58,000.00, permanent voter’s card, three ATM cards, phones and other valuables from me. I had to run to the other side of the road to shout for help. Fortunately, I saw RRS operatives patrolling and I explained everything to them. They followed me to the crime scene, but immediately the rampaging boys sighted us coming, they all took to their heels. The policemen chased after them and arrested only one of them,” she said.
While confirming the arrest, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs. Dolapo Badmus, a Superintendent of Police (SP), admonished parents to give their children and wards good education. She said the teenager’s confessional statement helped the detectives in the arrest of another member of the group, identified as Mohammed Korede, 19.
The police spokesperson added that the two suspects had been transferred to General Department of the State Police command for necessary actions.