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15-year-old JSS 1 pupil, others arrested during cult initiation
A 15-year-old pupil, Idris, has been arrested by the police in Lagos for allegedly belonging to the Aiye Confraternity.
Idris, a JSS 1 pupil at a private school in the Orile area of the state, was paraded along with 56 other suspected cult members at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja on Monday.
The suspects were rounded up on Thursday at Elemoro, in the Ajah area by the police and members of a vigilance group in the community.
The cult had gone inside a bush some distance away from Eleko Beach, Ajah, to perform initiation rites for new members, including Idris, who had tattoos on his chest and hand.
They were about to complete the rites when the operatives swooped on them around 4am.
Two locally-made cut-to-size guns, three live cartridges and 22 expended cartridges were reportedly recovered from them.
Idris, a resident of Arowoyabuna Street, Orile, told our correspondent that an unnamed neighbour had approached him on Wednesday and taken him to a bar to drink.
He said, “A man in my community bought a drink for me. After we finished drinking, he asked me to follow him to Eleko Beach for a party. When we got there, they covered my face and took me inside a bush. They used an object to pierce my thumb and collected some blood.
“As we were about to leave around 4am on Thuursday, I heard gunshots and the police arrested us. I have not been told the name of the cult.”
He said the inscription, ‘Baba Bose,’ tattooed on his chest, was an expression of love for his girlfriend, identified as Bose.
Another suspect, 23-year-old Eze Michael, explained that his friend, one Kelechukwu, lured him into the bush on the pretext that they were going for an event.
The Ebonyi State indigene said, “Kelechukwu invited me to an event at Eleko Beach. When we got there, he said we would have to wait till late evening. When it was 10pm, he took me inside a bush. I met so many people there. They beat us. They told us to lie down and raise our hands.
“They threatened to shoot us if we did not cooperate. Immediately they cut my thumb, I heard gunshots from the police and everybody started running helter-skelter.
“Some OPC members beat us up. Kelechukwu did not explain anything to me before we got to the bush. But I learnt the group is Aiye Confraternity.”
Adedayo Obabiyi, 25, from Ogun State, said he and his siblings had attended a birthday party at the beach and were returning home when some hoodlums attacked them.
“They collected our phones and ATM cards and blindfolded us. They took us to an unknown place. When we got there, I heard a lot of voices. They pierced our thumbs,” he added.
The state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, lamented increasing involvement of youths in cultism.
He, however, said the command had initiated a clampdown on cult members, adding that those arrested would be prosecuted.
The CP said, “Based on credible intelligence that members of the dreaded Aiye Confraternity were performing their initiation rites at a shrine in a thick forest in Abule Egbanu, in the Elemoro, Aja area of Lagos, the Divisional Police Officer, SP Mohammed Limawa, mobilised his men. The DPO received support from the undercover operatives of the Area J, Elemoro, and the men of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the command. Together, they stormed the area and arrested 57 members of the notorious Aiye Confraternity.
“Some of them were not in their right senses at the time of the arrest due to drug overdose. Items recovered from the suspects include two Suzuki mini buses with number plates, LND 893 XV and EPE 189 XV, respectively, one Volkswagen bus, one Mitsubishi space wagon marked, SMK 455 AL, and two Toyota Camry cars with number plates, BD 760 DH and LSD 506 EC.”
Imohimi also paraded three suspected members of a cult that allegedly killed an official of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Monsuru Bolaji, on Wednesday in the Aguda, Surulere area of the state.
He said the suspects, Muyideen Bello, Wasiu Adio and Nurudeen Odofin, had confessed to participating in the murder of the father of two children, noting that an axe and a knife with bloodstains reportedly recovered from them had been sent to a forensic unit for analysis.
“It is interesting to note that one of the suspects, Wasiu Adio, aka Trouble, further confessed that he was a senior member of Eiye Confraternity and that he and members of his group killed one Timothy in Aguda, Surulere, sometime in October 2017. Investigation into the case is in progress and further findings will be made public. The suspects will surely have their day in court at the end of investigations,” Imohimi added.
But the suspects denied involvement in cult activities and in the murder of the LNSC official.
Bello claimed that Bolaji was his friend and that he took him to a hospital for treatment after he was attacked on that day.
He said, “After he died, I took him to the Aguda Police Station from the hospital. He (Bolaji) was my childhood friend; we went to the same primary school.”
Odofin, 39, said he was the chairman of commercial motorcycle riders in Aguda, while Bolaji was the secretary, aside from being a security official.
He stated that some cult members had been on their trail since December 2017 for allegedly giving the police information about cult activities in the area.
He said, “After I observed Ishai (Islamic 8pm prayers) that day, I was relaxing in front of my house when I heard gunshots. A boy came to tell me that some cult members were running after somebody on the street. After about 15 minutes, I heard that somebody had been killed.
“I ran to the scene and discovered that Monsuru (Bolaji) was the victim. It was Gafar, Adura and their gang members who killed him. In October 2017, they also killed one boy called Timothy. That was when the problem started because the boy’s father was related to me. They started chasing Monsuru and me. We reported at the Aguda Police Station and the LNSC office.
“They said anytime we saw those boys we should report them. We didn’t see them until that evening when Monsuru was killed.”
The third suspect, Adio, said he was a family friend of the deceased, adding that he was at home when some LNSC officials arrested him for Bolaji’s death.