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Fear, panic in Ikorodu as Badoo cult unleash reign of terror on residents

Residents during a protest

Number 9 Aliu Adesanya Street, Olopomeji, Odogunyan, Ikorodu was heavy with fear, tears, despair and sorrow as a family of five were discovered in a pool of their own blood, mutilated almost beyond recognition.

The victims were the latest in a long reign of terror spearheaded and executed by a cult group- Badoo, which has been wrecking havoc in Ikorodu for over two years now as the residents, police and traditional leaders look on helplessly.

David Ikehi rode commercial motorcycle, popularly called ‘okada’ for a living. His wife, Priscilla, sold fruits and corn at Odogunyan bus stop. They had three boys. When they went to bed on Tuesday, June 27, little did they know that it would be their last day on earth.

The father and first son were murdered in the sitting room with a grinding stone and their blood drained, while the mother and the other two children were brutally attacked in the bedroom as they slept.

Priscilla was raped, her private part mutilated and a cloth stuffed in her mouth. She and the two boys were equally hit with the grinding stone as they slept beside their mother. There was blood everywhere on the wall, bed and the floor.

The landlord of the house who was visibly agitated, said the Ikehis were the only tenants in the house. Narrating the incident to The Guardian, he said: “Members of the cult must have accessed the compound through the fence on the undeveloped plot of land beside our house. But the strange and shocking thing is that we didn’t hear anything, not a sound.

“It was when I woke up the following morning that I discovered I couldn’t open the door and I wondered who had locked me in. After calling Ikehi severally with no response, I called my neighbors who assisted in breaking the door down.

“On getting to their apartment, I immediately noticed that his okada was still packed at the back, which means he hasn’t gone out yet. I called and called with no response and I started getting worried.

“Eventually, we broke the door to discover the horror. In all my years on earth, I have never seen something like this. Now, some people are saying they’re going to burn my house down. Why? What did I do? I never imagined something like this can happen to me or anyone I know talk less of having a hand in it.”

He revealed that the cult group had written to residents of the Sir K area of Odogunyan a couple of weeks ago, warning them of their impending arrival. Several other residents confirmed this and they claimed to have reported to the police but had no idea if any action was taken. Four houses were targeted that night, sadly, the Ikehis were the only ones the criminals were able to access their home.

A male neighbour identified as Baba Chukwuemeka, first raised the alarm, saying he escaped being struck with a grinding stone by an unknown person who was stark naked and covered with oil from head to toe.

He claimed that his assailant, who was armed with a grinding stone accessed his apartment through one of the windows but said he was lucky to be awake and was able to escape being struck as he wrestled with his assailant who escaped the scene leaving the grinding stone behind.

“I was just praying and calling on Jesus to help me. Nobody woke in my house despite the fact that I was really screaming. The man was stark naked and I thought initially that he was a robber until I saw the grinding stone and it hit me that this was no ordinary robber. The police have since taken away the grinding stone,” he said.

The Ikehis neighbours gathered outside a few feet from the scene of horror, holding an emergency meeting on what to do. The victims’ bodies have since been deposited at Ikorodu General Hospital mortuary while the last born, almost two years old is still battling to stay alive in the intensive care unit. Reporters were turned away at the hospital as the staff declined comments.

A younger brother to the victim who could hardly hold back his tears told The Guardian that: “I was living with my brother and his wife when I came to Ikorodu and it’s not long I moved away to get my own place. The two of them are good, peace-loving people. Why would anyone want to do this to them?

“I haven’t been able to call our relatives back home to tell them what happened because I don’t know how they would take this news. This is a terrible thing, I can’t talk again.”
Shortly after the neighbours and the police moved their bodies away, residents of Odogunyan and other surrounding communities took to the streets in anger. They protested the incessant killings and lamented that nothing was being done as they passed a vote of no confidence on the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Adewale Shotobi.

In a strange twist, the protesters were allegedly offered money, which they promptly turned down but rather demanded improved security of lives and property in the community. However, When The Guardian reporter tried to gain access to the palace and ask questions about the alleged bribe money, the reporter was turned away as the palace guards and officials declined comments.

A visit to the Ikorodu Police Headquarters on Sagamu Road did not yield much result either as the reporter was told that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) wasn’t around to give an official statement on the incident.

The deputy said the DPO was the only one who could speak to the press and told this reporter to come back. On getting there later in the evening, he said the DPO was still not available and to try again the following day. The police station serves almost all the communities, in Ikorodu.

Meanwhile, the community remains in a state of limbo. Shops remained locked as residents wore long faces, gathered in groups, whispering about the abomination they had witnessed. Some residents were seen moving their belongings away quickly as the landlord of the house confirmed that he had moved his family away to an undisclosed location.

Another resident, Basira Adelaja said: “Immediately the children vacate from school, I’m relocating to Ibadan. I cannot continue like this. For the last three years, these cultists have not allowed us to rest. They attack us day and night and my business and health suffered.

“Now, this is happening and I don’t think I can cope again. If their father likes, he can follow us or remain behind, I’m moving us out of here.” Other residents echoed the same sentiments while others regretted that they were stuck in the area due to lack of money.

In a related development, an emergency meeting of all the traditional priests in the town was convened at the Oba’s palace the following day, at the end of which they declared total war on the cult group. Residents are however, not impressed. According to Sola, “This is not the first time they are declaring war on these people.

“The group has been operating for over two years now, raping, killing and maiming and they have been declaring war, what has been the result? I strongly believe they are the ones sponsoring these boys and that is why they have been operating without restraint. These criminals are not spirits, why have they not been caught?”

This gang seems to have overwhelmed the police, killing and maiming residents in their sleep. Several residents that spoke to The Guardian, went as far as accusing the police and local chiefs of collusion and complicity, a claim the police promptly denied, saying they were working as hard as they can.

However, the police seem to be fighting a losing battle and look overwhelmed, as organised crimes continue unabated in Ikorodu and its environs. From incessant cult clashes to militants’ ruthlessness, petty and sophisticated armed robbery in the waterways, ritual killings and kidnappings and violent land grabbing, crime seems to be the very air and currency being consumed in Ikorodu.

This reporter spoke with a member of the Onyabo group under the condition of anonymity. Some members of the ruthless vigilante group were called to the scene of the attack and he revealed that when the letter was shown to them then, he advised that they engage extra security and not take the threat lightly.

“Unsurprisingly, they told us, “What do we have in our houses? We don’t have anything to attract robbers. Now, see what is happening today,” he said. He pointed out that when the group started in the Ibeshe area, they went to lonely houses and attacked people living in uncompleted buildings.

However, the sect has become more audacious, going into densely populated areas, breaking down doors, windows and roofs to get to their victims. How this group overwhelms the intelligence and technical know-how of the police remains a mystery. With different tales of woe and dastardly attacks in the last one month in particular, hapless and helpless residents have been living in fear, with several others fleeing and abandoning their property and homes for safety to other places.

Two weekends ago, the Gberigbe Community, near Ijede, also experienced this ugly incident when the gang forcefully entered a home, killing six persons including a two-year old child, after raping the women among them. The occupants were members of the same family.

This seems to be their modus operandi as they attack families and sexually assault any woman within. Several areas already resemble ghost towns with Ibeshe being the worst hit. Businesses close early and residents rush home, locking their doors and windows, their hearts in their mouth, praying not to fall victims. Those that can afford it have fled the area, as many houses look abandoned, their occupants seeking shelter elsewhere.

Recently, a house was attacked in Aleke, Adamo by the same group, killing a family of four after raping the mother and her two daughters. While residents were still in shock, a similar attack was launched at Isiu, along Adamo-Imota road a few days ago where a family of three was also attacked, raped and killed.

As residents who can afford it continue to flee, those who remain embark on vigil to defend themselves. However, the gang does not strike in the same place twice. Sadly enough, the residents claim that one or two Badoo members that have been caught and handed over to the police were released and have vowed to lynch any member caught again.

Just last week, the Ikorodu Police Headquarters was almost set ablaze by angry residents who wanted to lynch two suspects that were rescued by the police and promptly whisked away. The residents claim that the police release the criminals who come back to ‘punish’ the community for daring to arrest them as they insist that instant lynching was the only way to get justice.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Steve Ayorinde said the Lagos State government was confronting headlong the current security challenge in Ikorodu in collaboration with the Police and other security agencies.

He pointed out that military intervention was sought to dislodge the gang of criminals terrorising the area in 2015, adding that a similar operation was also carried out last year, which extended to some parts of Arepo.

“The so-called Badoo is not so. It is not an issue of an individual or a specific cult, but an evil facade under which perpetrators of dastardly acts have found it convenient to hide.

“But this criminal run will not endure. The Lagos State government is doing everything within its powers to ensure that normalcy returns to every part of Ikorodu, that lives and property are secure and to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice,” he added.

Also, the Lagos State Police Command said it has identified black spots and hideouts of Badoo gang and assured that the days of the killer group were numbered.

Spokesman of the Command, Olarinde Famous-Cole said: “There are already series of operations going to ascertain areas that are prone to attacks in Ikorodu and environs environs. Hideouts and criminal black spots have been identified and moves to hit the criminals are being conducted.

“Based on reliable and useful intelligence we have gotten from meetings with community leaders, security groups, such as the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and others at a close-door meeting with other senior Police officers with the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), we would tackle this criminals headlong and put a stop to their activities.

But as things stand, Ikorodu is presently on edge, as criminals and criminality have besieged it, a development that is taking a hard toll on the residents.

The residents are, therefore, calling on government at al levels to urgently come to their aid and put an end to crime in the area before they are all exterminated.



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