Millions of residents of the Ikorodu Division of Lagos State are beginning to think of relocating permanently from the area unless government takes necessary steps to address the new wave of crime, popularly known as Badoo, a new method of ritual killings in which the victims’ heads are smashed with grinding stone and their blood collected for rituals.
As at yesterday when The Guardian visited Owode Ibeshe, where the agents of Badoo started their dreaded ritual killings few months ago, the place was nearly deserted, while those who are yet to find anywhere to relocate live in fear.
It was the same scenario at Oke Odo, Itamaga, Agbowa, First Gate, Odogunyan and Ogijo in Ogun State. Residents of all the aforementioned areas are currently living in perpetual fear of being attacked by members of the dreaded Badoo group.
Surprisingly, some property owners in some of the affected places have already placed “for sale” notices on their buildings having relocated out of Ikorodu, while some simply placed their houses under lock and key pending when the ugly situation would be addressed.
There was palpable tension following the lynching of three suspected members of the ritual gang and an alleged cultist. The suspected Badoo members were hacked to death at Ogijo and Igbo-Olomu areas.
It was gathered that the suspected cultist was caught by angry residents after his gang stormed a community, shooting sporadically. While the cultists, who rode in a bus, fled at the sight of a mob, one of their members was caught and hacked to death.
According to residents, the Igbo-Olomu Badoo suspects were caught around 1:00am yesterday while trying to break into an apartment near a gas station. It was gathered that the dead suspect was in the company of two others and they all applied engine oil on their bodies.
Fatai Odulana said some of the residents, who kept vigil, raised the alarm as soon as they noticed strange movements. Local vigilantes reported to have been invited, pursued the suspects and apprehended one of them.
It was further gathered that the suspect was detained till about 6:00am before he was eventually lynched. As at the time the Police received information about the arrest, the suspect had already been lynched and set ablaze.
Another resident claimed that about 14 people sustained injuries during a fracas with the Police. It was learnt that the residents violated a sit-at-home order, noting that their safety was in jeopardy.
Ikorodu residents, The Guardian gathered, have since mobilised themselves against the ritual gang, as whistleblowers and drummers now go round at night, reminding them to turn off their generators and remain vigilant.
Confirming the incidents, the Chairman, Lagos Neighborhood Safety Agency (LNSA), Israel Ajao, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), said security agencies in the state were working together to contain the menace.
He also said the Police and LNSA have foiled a number of attacks by suspected militants and kidnappers since the abduction of six Lagos State Model College, Igbonla pupils. Ajao said there was plan by his agency to place boxes at various localities for people to volunteer information on criminals.
Even as at yesterday, another member of Badoo was lynched at Jumofat Bus Stop along Lagos Road, Ikorodu. An eyewitness told The Guardian that the criminal was chased from Igbo Olomu in Ikorodu where he and a colleague wanted to attack a family but for the quick intervention of some vigilante members.
According to the eyewitness: “We saw the two men who painted their bodies with black substance trying to enter a building through the window. We raised the alarm and people trooped out. We chased them and were able to apprehend one. Unfortunately the angry mob didn’t wait for us to hand him over to the police.”
This was sequel to the recent operation carried out by the dreaded cult group in Odogunyan, Ikorodu, where four buildings were attacked leaving three people dead, one missing, one seriously injured and one other escaping death.
The incident occurred at Nos 9, 10, 11 and 12, Aliyu Adesanya Street, Olopomeji Bus Stop, at about 3 :00a.m., but the fatalities were recorded at No 9, where a family of five was attacked.
Even in Ogijo, one of the towns in Ogun State under the Shagamu Local Council, young men of the community have resolved to undertaking all night vigilante throughout the week to protect their families. It was gathered that their efforts yielded result last week when a suspected member of the evil gang was arrested and jungle justice applied.
Worried by the new wave of ritual killings that has enveloped Ikorodu Division, some of the angry residents yesterday alleged that all traditional rulers and some influential people in the community should be called to question.
One of them who spoke on condition of anonymity alleged that the crime situation has become worse since the new traditional ruler in Ikorodu was installed.
According to him, “This Badoo is just a coined name for a new method of ritual killing and money-making venture. For instance the criminals usually leave the grinding stone they used to smash their victims’ head behind after collecting their blood.”
However, His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, is not resting on his oars to address the ugly development besides what the security agents are doing. The Guardian learnt that he has summoned the native doctors and other traditional rulers in his area to also find a spiritual means of solving the crisis.
The summon and the declaration happened on Wednesday at the Ayangbure Palace, Ikorodu, after a massive protest by residents following the recurring attacks in the community by the secret cult group.
Efforts to get Oba Shotobi yesterday was unsuccessful, but some of the palace officials directed The Guardian reporter to the Provost Marshall of Onyabo, a local security outfit in Ikorodu, Mr. Olabinto Olarenwaju, who dismissed the allegation that the traditional rulers were involved in the killings.
He made the clarification that since Badoo started, none has ever been recorded in Ikorodu town “but in all other places where the incidence occurred there are either a traditional ruler or chiefs.”
He appealed to those making such speculations to stop but rather join hands with the security agents on how to solve the danger.
Olanrewaju also disclosed that over 10 cases of Badoo operations have been recorded in the last few months “but my appeal to the people is rather than resolving to jungle justice, arrested or suspected Badoo members should be handed over to the police authorities for appropriate investigation. In that case we will get to the root of the matter.”
The Onyabo Provost Marshal also appealed to those relocating from Ikorodu out of fear to stay, as the security agents are on top of the situation and would ensure security of lives and property.
According to him: “What we discovered is that in almost all the places that members of this notorious gangs carried out their operations, the windows of such buildings either do not have burglary proofs or are located in deserted places.
He also urged the state government to ban night clubbing, beer palours and peppersoup joints that operate till late night in Ikorodu suburbs for the time being or forever.
He explained: “It has been discovered that most of the criminals that operate in Ikorodu and its environs, do hang out in beer joints and others after they might have surveyed the places that they intend to attack at night during the day,” adding that government should also re-enforce the check on cars with tinted glasses.