…Female teenagers reveal how, why they became cultists
By Lolo Ayaba
When 14-year-old Barakat Rotimi began to date her boyfriend little did she know she will end up being a member of Eiye confraternity, or that one day she’ll be arrested and paraded like a common criminal.
Barakat’s sojourn into cultism began soon after she began to date her boyfriend and according to her, “It was my boyfriend that lured me into the gang. When we started dating I never knew that he’s into cultism, it was after a while that I discovered that he is a member, because of the love I have for him, I joined them.
Since I joined them, I stopped going home. I now stay with my boyfriend in his parents’ house. After the group had studied me for a long while, I was converted into a spy for them, my work is to lookout for policemen and other security agencies, I also cook for them. I don’t know how my parents would feel now seeing me in this position. I regret my action.”
Barakat is among the numerous female teenagers who have been lured into cult related activities. In December 2018, four underage girls, whose ages range between 10 and 13, were among the 13 suspected cultists arrested by detectives attached to Owode-Egba Police Divisional Headquarters Ogun State. According to the police, other male members of the suspected group were in their early teens, and their leader 19-year-old Tunde Adio. As at the time of their arrest, all suspects were residents of Mosunmore Village near Kobape in Abeokuta, the state capital.
The arrest of the cult gang who called themselves “Penalty Guys” were made possible after one of the girls’ mother raised alarm about her teenage daughter’s activities. Apparently disturbed by her daughter’s late night outing, the woman pestered her daughter who later confessed that she was initiated into a cult group, a development the woman found difficult to conceal to herself and alerted the community head who, in turn called in the police.
Ironically the girls, who were all primary six school leavers, confessed to being lured into the group by the boys.
The footage of young Nigerian boy identified as Shanawole, who was rescued from the streets by pastor Tony Rapu recently went viral.
The 11-year-old boy who was said to belong to Eiye confraternity and smokes marijuana, revealed that if anyone messes with him or his group, it’s his job to kill the person/hack the person down. He also said that if anyone tries to fight them, he and his boys will hit the person very hard.
Although Shanawole who also claimed to be robber, is undergoing rehabilitation it beats the imagination how the society has degenerated into an entity with very low moral values..
The fact that cultism is evil can never be over emphasised as several persons have lost their lives in cultist related violence across the country in recent times.
Cultism according to the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu is a crime against the collective will of the people. When cultism thrives, surely other heinous crimes like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping etc will thrive too.
The analysis of the Commissioner of Police, Muazu explained the many crisis caused by cultists in different communities which have led to the death of several youths.
The incident of a 14-year-old girl who was hospitalised after she was raped by ten boys during a cult initiation in Nkpor, Anambra state in September 2017 is still very fresh. The incident happened two weeks after the said girl decided to join the cult group and in the process, was forced to have sex with all the guys present during the initiation.
However, she collapsed in the process of having sex with the cult guys and was rushed to the hospital.
This is not the first time an issue like this has happened. Some years back the Enugu State Police Command made a startling revelation of how female students in Junior Secondary Schools in the state, are getting gang raped as part of requirements before joining different female cult groups in the state. The revelation came after 30 female Junior Secondary School students were nabbed by police while about to be initiated into different cult groups, Viron Queens/White Angels confraternities.
Like Barakat, many teenagers who get involved in cult related activities were introduced by close friends and associates who they trusted. While others simply got involved due to peer pressure and the desire to belong, others simply joined to overcome intimidation. Solomon Olowu from Ikorodu falls into this category.
Explaining why he became a cultist, 23-year-old Solomon Olowu, said “I joined the Aiye confraternity while in high school because I was being oppressed.” Olowu made the disclosure, at the Igbogbo Police Division, when the Lagos State Police Command, paraded 50 notorious cultists who have been terrorising Ikorodu area of Lagos.
Olowo who was arrested during Police raid in Igbogbo community, said “I was picked up last week Monday around 8am. I am a member of Aiye. We were fighting around Ikorodu side and the fight was between Aiye and Eiye cult group. I was not with any weapon but my colleagues were armed. I joined the cult gang in 2015, while in Adeola Odetola College because I was oppressed. Since I became a cult member the police have never been able to arrest me. I promise to leave the cult group and dirty life, if I am released”.
Across the length and breadth of Lagos state for instance, there are a thousand and one cult gangs operating in different communities, with the main ones being Aiye, Eiye, Owonikoko, Alora One million boys at Ajegunle, Fadeyi boys at Fadeyi area, Akala boys at Mushin area, Nokia group at Surulere area, Shitta boys at Bariga, Oworonshoki, Shomolu and Palm grove areas, Awawa boys at Dopemu, Ageg, Ogba and Iyana Ipaja are among the hoodlums terrorising residents and making life difficult for innocent citizens.
Over the years, activities of cultists across the country have been on the increase with states like Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers state topping the chat. With cultists causing mayhem, unleashing terror, wreaking havoc and leaving trails of blood in different communities daily, it has become imperative to nib the trend in the bud before it consumes us all.
The battle of supremacy between these cult gangs has always been fingered 98% of the time, as the main reason for battles that have unfortunately claimed a lot of lives.
In the last two weeks, over ten persons were reportedly killed in Ikorodu area of Lagos in a twin attack after two rival groups engaged themselves in a supremacy battle along Isikalu palace and Solomade area, Ikorodu.
The cultists struck at Ojuirowo area of Ikorodu and killed a family of three; father, mother and child on Friday June 7, 2019.
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The cultists who belong to the Eiye cult group were on a vengeance mission. They
shot sporadically in the air, invading the Ladega Market in Ikorodu and looted traders’ shops in broad day light.
In the attack which led to the death of two cultists, leaving six others severely injured, it was learned that the leader of the gang, Yusuf Omidele , aka General alongside twenty other cultists have been on the wanted list of the Command.
Confirming the recent cult clash in Ikorodu area of Lagos, the spokesperson Lagos State Police Command, DSP Elkana Bala, said “Yusuf Omidele was charged to Court on several occasions and sentenced to prison. He completed his last sentence in 2014 and have become an Elder-in- Council, in Eiye Confraternity. He led his gang in a reprisal attack on the members of Aye confratanity, whom they alleged to have killed the wife of one of their leaders some weeks ago. The suspects arrested belong to both Aye and Eiye confraternity and have all confessed to belong to secret societies.
Recounting how he was arrested, 41 year-old, Omidele Yusuf who is the Elder in Council for Eiye Cultists in Ikorodu area of the state, said “I renounced my membership of Eiye after I was released from prison in 2014. I was sentenced to prison in 2012 for murder case; it was in the prison that I met a pastor who preached to me and what he told me changed my life for better. When I eventually came out I told my gangs that I am now a born again. “Since I came out of prison, I have been assisting the police and local vigilante to arrest cultists in Ikorodu whenever they clash. On the recent clash that brought me here was because of my former member that was killed alongside with her girlfriend. I went to the scene with some of my friends to have firsthand information when police arrested me for being their leader.”
Explaining further, Omidele noted that it was the death of the couple that triggered the killings in Ikorodu by rival cult groups on Thursday and Friday. I don’t know anything about the clash; I still don’t understand why police arrested me.”
The recent onslaught in Ikorodu is among the many gang wars that have increase the level of insecurity in the state in the last few months. About two months ago, April 14, 2019, four cultists were beheaded during a clash between two rival cult groups of Aiye and Eiye in Ogonbo community and Abraham Adesanya Estate in Ajah area of Lagos. The cult groups which had been at loggerheads over supremacy in the Sangotedo area of Ajah used machetes and other dangerous weapons in the fight and inflicted fatal wounds on themselves.
Few days after the onslaught at Ajah, operatives of the Lagos State Police Command arrested six suspected cultists in connection with the incident. The suspects identified as Babatunde Wasiu (30), Bolaji Elijah (25), Joseph Timothy, (32), Bolaji Olayiwola (22), Saheed Lateef (22) and Julius Augele (20) were arrested for their involvement.
Later, the Police at the Langbasa Division, Langbasa, Ajah, Lagos arrested nine suspected members of a secret cult confraternity and dragged them before a Lagos Magistrate Court over alleged unlawful assembly with intent to cause breach of peace.
Regrettably, since their arrest nothing has been heard about the issue.
Like Ajah, the Lagos State Police Command arrested several suspected cultists over their involvement in the death of two persons at Fadeyi, Onipanu, along Ikorodu road on Wednesday April 10, 2019. The two persons met their death when members of rival cult groups from Alakara, Mushin and Onipanu, Shomolu, armed with dangerous weapons, engaged themselves in a fierce war of supremacy.
The police seem to be reactive when it comes to the issue of cultism; the arrest is usually after they have unleashed terror.
Those who get arrested and charged to court, somehow find their way back to the society as they are released for lack of evidence.
Many undergraduates have lost their lives to cultism
So many undergraduates in different tertiary institutions have lost their lives in needless deaths. Last week two students of Enugu State University of Science and Technology were killed in Agbani, Enugu State in a rival cult clash.
One was from the department of Physiology and the other was from the department of Estate management.
Both lived in the same lodge, Sabina Lodge
In October 2018, at least ten suspected cultists were killed at separate cult clashes in Sagamu and Iperu area of Ogun State during cult clashes between rival groups which started Monday night.
While about Nine of them were reportedly killed between Monday and Tuesday in Sagamu, one other member of Eiye was reportedly killed in his shop in Iperu allegedly by the Aiye group.
According to police, the crisis broke out in Sagamu between the cult rival groups during a night party tagged ‘Easter Mega Night show’ and six years anniversary of a group called ‘Infinity Base’, organised by a man identified as Basogun.
In October 25, 2016 at Abesan Federal Housing Estate, Ipaja in the Alimosho axis of Lagos, suspected cultists wreaked havoc in the area. During the attack, a man identified simply as Bebo, was butchered in cold blood leading to his death on the spot. Shops in the area were locked for days for fear of a reprisal attack in the community.
Bebo who was formerly a student of the University of Lagos before he dropped out, was a member of the Eiye Confraternity before he was killed. He was the second in command while at UNILAG and also held the same position in Abesan before he was killed.
Apart from killing rival gang members, a handful of young persons have lost their lives while being initiated into cultism. On December, 27th, 2018, a new convert, named, Miracle lost his life during his cult initiation in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Residents in Sankwala community woke up in the early hours of December, 28th to a gory picture of Miracle, a native of Bayanung, Basang Clan, had died in the course of his initiation rites of the fraternity. According to the police he died as a result of severe cuts to his body and head.
Exporting cultism to foreign countries
cultists in Nigeria now export cultism to other countries like Ghana, South Africa, Benin Republic, Malaysia, Italy and Spain. Two months ago, some Nigerians were seriously injured and rushed to the hospital following a cult clash in Malaysia. According to reports, a violent fracas broke out on Sunday, April 7th, between Black Axxe confraternity members (Aiye) and Vikings cult group in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The injured victims were rushed to the hospital after being attacked with machetes and other dangerous weapons. While those involved in the cult clash were arrested.
In November 2018, security operatives arrested a group of Nigerian cultists believed to be part of a drug and criminal syndicate near Cagliari area of Italy.
The suspects who were said to be members of Supreme Eiye Confraternity, were apprehended following months of investigations by the police who raided their apartments.
Drugs, money and other items including their cult materials were recovered from the suspects’ houses after a search operation was conducted by the officers.
The group was also accused of trafficking women and others across Europe.
Another Nigerian, a member of Aiye cult otherwise known as Black Axxe cult group a.k.a Egede was brutally murdered by rival gang in South Africa. The deceased nicknamed Romeo – was attacked and shot dead by suspected cultists.
A Nigerian Cultist simply identified as Bruno was stabbed to death by a rival cult member in Benin Republic. The young man who belonged to Buccaneer confraternity was reportedly killed few weeks to his graduation.
Also a Nigerian identified as Oluwa Success popularly known as Gbaja Marine was killed by rival cultists in Ghana. The young man who reportedly belonged to Eiye confraternity was stabbed to death by members of the Vikings confraternity in Accra, Ghana capital.
Effort of police to curb menace cultism
In Lagos State, the former Commissioner of Police Imohimi Edgar gave cultist a fight for their lives, and made the state too hot for them that they had to go into hibernation. With town hall meetings, Edgal engaged community leaders, religious leaders and traditional rulers within the state.
However immediately Edgar was redeployed, these cultists crawled out of their holes and have since continued to unleash mayhem on residents.
In a renewed effort to curb the scourge of cultism, which has become a nightmare, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, CP Zubairu Muazu, last week launched operation crush.
Flagging off operation crush at Igbogbo Police Station Ikorodu, the Commissioner of Police noted that the new operation was aimed at ending cultism and gangsterism in Lagos State.
Zubairu said that “Operation Crush will be directly under his command. Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers will lead the various operations in their area of jurisdiction.”
Explaining further, he said that “Tackling cultism requires a holistic approach, we intend to adopt community policing approach. We will soon embark on sensitization programs in collaboration with the police relations committe and other stakeholders in schools, neighbourhoods, media etc.”
Zubairu’s Command has so far arrested 202 notorious cult members and they have been charged to court and are at different stages of prosecution.
Sounding a stern warning, the CP asked members of cult groups to renounce membership of such cults and gang or be prepared to face the full weight of the law.
Zubairu charged parents and guardians to monitor the activities and movements of their children and wards as well as ensure that their mission on public space are legitimate.
He also called on everyone, both rich and poor to join in the noble fight. “We must cleanse our communities of those few criminal elements who have threatened our social and economic well-being. Together we can subdue them”.
Early this week, the Ebonyi State Police Command paraded 11 suspected cultists. Seven of them according to the Commissioner of Police, Awoshola Awotunde, murdered one Friday Irem, 30, in the Umuezali-Orizor community, Ezza North Local Government Area of the state. The cultist inflicted several machete cuts on him before abandoning him in a pool of blood. Unfortunately the victim was confirmed dead at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, where he was rushed to.
The seven suspected cultists were identified as Ituma Henry, Akoshi Chidera, Anthony Nwite, Onyebuchi Nwokporo, Usulor Sunday, Samuel Ngwuta and Abah Peter, aka Swagger.
In a similar situation, during a reprisal attack by a rival cult, one Alegu Ifeanyi, aka Bruno, was traced and murdered at the Onueke community in the Ezza South Local Government Area of the state. The perpetrators, who were later identified as Igwe Uchenna, Chukwu Eusebius, Usulor Augustine and Ugama Sunday, are members of the Aye/Vikings Confraternity.”
Every week various police command across the country arrest and parade cultists, most of them are charged to court where they spend three to six months after which most of these miscreants crawl back into the society and continue to cause havoc.
The raging scourge of cultism within the nation no doubt, is an offshoot of a huge disconnect between the government and the governed. With the current architecture where there is no meaningful social development program tailored to engage the teeming unemployed youths, winning the war against cultism will therefore mean defeating all heinous crimes in the country, as virtually every major crime recorded in different part of the country have a link to cultism.
Beyond these arrests, it is high time the government and relevant authorities put in more efforts towards redirecting the youths who have chosen the path of crime by engaging in various cult activities,
on the path to greatness.