Femi OgbonnikanÂ writes on the collaborative efforts of the OPC and Lagos State Police Command to end the activities of a cult group, Badoo,Â terrorising and killing innocent residents of Ikorodu Â
Ikorodu, situated at a distance of approximately 36 km north of Lagos, bounded on the south by the Lagoon, in the north with common boundary with Ogun State and in the east with common boundary with Agbowa-Ikosi, a town in Epe division of Lagos State, is a sleepy community and home to all and sundry, regardless of tribes and nationalities. It also boasts of thriving economic and commercial hub of the Lagos State, with the presence and location of scores of manufacturing industries and blue-chip companies. According to the 2006 population census figure, Ikorodu has a headcount of 535, 619 populace.Â
Smarting shortly from the fall of militant boys and kidnappers who had made the creeks in Isawo, Agric, in Ikorodu West Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) their safe haven and unleashing mayhem on hapless Nigerians, including the security operatives, there appears to be no end in sight as the community has continued to play host to criminal elements, wreaking havoc on a daily basis.Â
Fresh in the latest criminal dimension is the birth of a ‘Badoo’ cult group.Â
The Badoo, a cult group which enjoys the sponsorship and support of some powerful men and women in the society, is reputed for money-making rituals, but it has its base within the Ikorodu community. Their mode of operations, include striking at midnight, sprinkling homes of their victims, on arrival, with a liquid substance (an oil) which usually weakens the body systems of the entire household members, while the assailants use heavy grinding stones to hit the heads of their victims to death, after which they would remove genital organs and female breasts.Â
Its emergence, it was said, dated back to June 5, 2016, when the first gory incident was recorded in Ibeshe, a suburb town in Ikorodu.
Suspected members of the group, it was learnt, struck at Oke Ota community in Ibeshe, raping and killing a 27-year-old Ghanaian, Obinna.Â
Soon afterwards, precisely on July 9, 2016, the gang returned to Ibeshe and attacked a 60-year-old woman named, Francisca and also blinded her 10-year-old daughter, Marvellous.Â
Similarly, on Saturday, July 23, a member of the Badoo group sneaked into a Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), located at Itesiwaju Community, a suburb of Ikorodu, while a vigil was ongoing and abducted an eight-year-old girl.Â
But these attacks seem unbridled and as well, unabated as the group cashed in on security lapses and went on the prowl in the early part of the 2017. In most cases, the group always wreaks havoc on soft targets and vulnerables, located at the fringes of Ikorodu, such as Aleke, Isiu, Adamo, Itamaga, Odongunyan, Ibeshe, Igbogbo and a few others.Â
Between June 5, 2016 and June 27, 2017, it was said that no fewer than 26 persons were murdered by the Badoo group in 15 separate attacks.Â
In a single attack on May 4, 2017, the suspected ritual killers sent to their early graves six members of a family at Aleke New Site, in Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area (LCDA). The assailants, it was gathered, struck at the midnight and wiped out the entire six members of Taofiq and Simiat Agbaje family, Rodiat, Toyeebat and two others.Â
A couple of weeks later, precisely on May 28, 2017, the group also struck at Itamaga, behind Radio Lagos substation. According to reports, the group murdered in cold blood five members of a family, including a pregnant woman, opened her womb and went away with her foetus. A pestle and a mortar were allegedly used to snuff life out of the victims. With an exception of one of the family members, an SSS3 student, a lone survivor of the attack who was said to be battling for her life at an undisclosed hospital within Ikorodu, the others were sent to their early graves.Â
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the attack on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at Odongunyan when the cultists struck at House No. 9, Aliyu Adesanya Street, Olopomeji Bus Stop, Odongunyan and killed three members of David Ikehi family, himself, wife, Priscillia and son, Moses to death, except the fourth member of the family, Sunday, who narrowly survived the attack by whisker, but he sustained serious injuries inflicted on him. Thus, irked by the unsavoury development on that penultimate Wednesday, residents took to the streets and decided to take laws into their hands in the face of collapsed security structure to end the unwholesome criminal activities of the Badoo gang which has continued to rear its ugly head in the community.Â
Angry residents in their hundreds, including traditionalists in their fortified charms and white regalias marched to the Palace of the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, in protest against the continued wanton killings by the Badoo gang members without any major breakthrough by the security operatives in the arrest of the criminal leaders behind the ugly trend.
Distraught and not leaving any stone unturned, it was reliably gathered that the Ikorodu traditional council had to wade in, culminating in proffering spiritual intervention to stem the ugly tide. So, between Thursday, June 29 and Saturday, July 1, it was learnt, a two-hour ritual between 10:00pm and 12:00am was observed in all the nooks and crannies of the community, in order to invoke the spirit of the founders of the Ikorodu community and cleanse the entire town and its neighbourhood of the criminal activities of the Badoo gang members.
Filled with angst and charged, residents are no longer sleeping with their two eyes closed, as they have formed themselves into vigilante groups to secure their lives and property. Thus, this development has paid off, resulting in the arrest and subsequent lynching of a dozen of the Badoo gang members.Â
Towards ensuring the arrest of the Badoo gang members, and restoration of peace and order, the Lagos State Police Command, in conjunction with members of Gani Adams-led OPC, Onyabo, Neighbourhood Watch and other vigilante groups, launched a clampdown on members of the Badoo gang at their different hideouts in Igbogbo, Ibeshe, Ijede, Odongunyan and a host of other communities, during which no fewer than 15 suspects were nabbed on the first operation launched on Friday, June 30. According to the Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the exercise was a continuous one aimed at getting rid of the affected Ikorodu communities of the criminal activities of the cult group. Also, during an all-night raidÂ carried out between Thursday night, July 6, and Friday morning, July 7, 2017, in continuation of the clampdown on the suspected Badoo members by the Lagos State Police Command, in collaboration with the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS), leadership of the Gani Adams-led faction of the Oodua Peoples Congress Â (OPC), Onyabo and other local security volunteers no fewer than 87 suspected members were apprehended at their hideouts in Owutu and Odongunyan, Â both communities are in Ikorodu.
Besides, 20 other persons were declared wanted in connection with the unwholesome activities of the group in Ikorodu. Those declared wanted for the cult-related killings include Moshood (aka Mosho); Alfa (aka King of Boys); Papa; Fela; Alakoto; and Â Chukwudi. Also, the Police spokesman said the police have declared 14 other persons wanted for kidnapping in Ikorodu. They are: Agbara; O/C; Femi (aka FM); Pencil; Odidan; Jaru; Allen; Bush; Happiness; Fagbo; Junior; Nuru; and Jamiu. According to Famous-Cole, the Lagos State Police Command has called on the suspects to come out of their hidings and report themselves to the nearest police station or to them. The raid, it was said, was necessitated by more intelligence on membership of the dreaded cult group and their mode of operations and extensive operation on the two areas- Owutu and Odongunyan. Before the raid, it was learnt, that the police, in conjunction with officers of the DSS, representatives of the Army, Lagos Neighbourhood Security Corps and OPC met with herbalists in Ikorodu and its environs on the need to collaborate with the police in a bid to wipe out the cult group in Ikorodu. The operation was led by Mr. Imohinmi Edgal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) ‘Operations’ and the Commander, Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Mr. Olatunji Disu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP).Â
But earlier, National Coordinator of the OPC, Otunba Gani Adams, in a newspaper interview recently, had advised unemployed youths to be wary of the activities of the latest tricks being employed by the dreaded Badoo kingpins to recruit new members.Â
“The recruitment of new members are usually done by pasting job vacancies for various positions with attractive salaries on public walls.Â
“These vacancies are usually printed on papers and pasted at strategic locations in the state, with instructions to call the phone numbers on it.Â
“Once you get there, you would be forced to be initiated into the cult group with instructions to go and kill. But uncooperative job seekers are usually killed on the spot,” said Adams.Â