Ikorodu, A Lagos Suburb Living In Shadows Of Cultists’ Siege

Posted on December 21, 2018
CHRISTOPHER OMOLAJA
 
Upon its creation in 1967, the administrative space known as Lagos State was predicated on five divisions one of which Ikorodu forms an important and integral component.
The area called by geographical coordinates is situated at a distance of 36 km north of what was originally known as Lagos colony. The now extinct Lagos Colony itself was the nucleus of the modern Lagos State.
Ikorodu, which was initially an Ijebu Yoruba speaking enclave, is bounded on the south by the Lagoon, in the north with common boundary with Ogun State.
To the east is the sister Epe Division which is also by ethnic classification is also of Ijebu Yoruba speaking stock of the larger Yoruba ethnic nationality.
Though no accurate or reliable data exists regarding the actual population, the 2006 population census puts the area as having no fewer than 535, 619 residents of different nationalities who ply their trade and existence in the area, though the figures have been officially been disputed by the state government officials over time.
Initially composed of its Ijebu speaking aborigine, the area has since expanded in lips and bound with influx of people of diverse nationalities from both within the country as well as those outside the country who have found the area conducive for engaging in their trade and business activities.
The coming together of this rainbow amalgam of people has no doubt brought with it thriving economic and commercial activities which has prompted experts to tout Ikorodu as the next business hub of the Lagos State.
The basis for this seeming optimism cannot be farfetched considering the fact that the area boasts of the presence of scores of manufacturing industries and blue-chip companies.
However, there seems to be a dot in Ikorodu’s developmental trajectory occasioned by a surge in criminal activities. Specifically speaking, the rise in the activities of the Badoo cultist group had initially cast a blot in the meteoric rise of Ikorodu as an important region in Lagos State.
Added to the activities of these criminal elements were the heinous crimes being carried out by suspected militant boys and kidnappers who had made the creeks in Isawo, Agric area of the division a recurring anathema. These criminal had found a base in creek located in Ikorodu West Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) as their safe haven.
From their base, they unleashed mayhem on hapless residents, including the security operatives who were never spared in their spate of cannibalistic orgy. So intense were their activities that there appeared to be no end in sight as the community continued to play host to the criminal elements who found the need to wreak havoc on a daily basis as a favourite pastime.
Coupled with activities of members of the Badoo cult who took criminality to a new height by killing hapless citizens in their sleep, residents have had to reset their rest time clock.
Members of this cult group became so unstrained in their ruinous criminal activities that many reasoned that these cultists enjoyed sponsorship and support of some powerful men and women in the society.
Reputed for money-making rituals, 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.
Security sources traced the emergence of the cult back to June 5, 2016, when the first gory incident  was recorded in Ibeshe, a suburb town in Ikorodu when suspected members of the group, it was learnt, struck at Oke Ota community, raping and killing a 27-year-old young man simply known as Obinna.
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.
The family of Olugbenga Koyi, whose family lived on 4 Dare Fate Street, Bayeku, one of the satellite towns making up the Ikorodu Division of the state will never forget the event of 20th of July, 2017 when the sanctity of their abode was breached by the assailants who left tales woes in their wake.
Information gathered from one of the residents in the neighbourhood one Mr. Babatunde Araba recounted the little he knew of the event that the gateman identified as Adamu Musa was killed in cold blood by the badoo cultist group who almost snuffed life out of Mr Olugbenga and members of his family who escaped death by whiskers.
According to Araba, the event prompted Koyi who had to run away from the scene of the incidence through a small back exit gate at the back of the building along with members of the family  and ran into a bush to hide. We understand they later had to leave the community for fear of renewed attacks from the marauding killers.
In another Event that occurred  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 series of attacks have since then taken place but the last straw that broke the camel’s back was the attack on Wednesday, June 20, 2017, at Odongunyan when the cultists struck at Odongunyan where three members of a family met their deaths safe for the fourth member, Sunday, who narrowly survived the attack by whisker, but he sustained serious injuries inflicted on him.
Thus, irked by the development residents took to the streets with the intent to take laws into their hands in the face of collapsed security structure to end the unwholesome criminal acts which has continued to rear its ugly head in the community.
Angry residents marched to the palace of the traditional ruler of the area who is Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, to protest against the continued wanton killings without any major breakthrough by the security operatives in the arrest of the criminal leaders behind the ugly trend.
The visibly terrified residents couldn’t afford the luxury of sleep at night by keeping vigil in their neighbourhoods. They formed themselves into vigilante groups to secure their lives and property.
Owing to the negative turn of events, the Lagos State Police Command in not time mobilized its resources both personnel and material to nip it in the bud.
In securing the area, it acted in conjunction with members of Are Gani Adams-led Oodua Peoples Congress (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.
Though, the recurrence of the incidence seems to have been subdued, the after effects seems not to have abated as some residents of the affected communities fear a renewed onslaughts as some of those left behind are already prowling the areas.
One of the reasons for the apprehension  might not be unconnected to the desire of the cultists to extract their proverbial pound of flesh from the residents of the areas for daring them in the series of exchanges between the cultists and members of the various vigilante groups hurriedly put up to challenge them.

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