The Lagos State Police Command has identified cultism as the new veil under which suspects carry out robbery operations across the state
The state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, told newsmen that the command was not taking the issue of cultism lightly in the state as criminals now hide behind that veil to perpetrate heinous crimes in the society.
Oti said members of the various cult groups, including Eiye, Aiye, Black Axe and others, rob innocent citizens of cash and other valuables during their frequent inter-cult fights.
The police spokesman said several robbery suspects arrested had always claimed that they were just members of cult groups fighting their rivals.
“Cults are illegal. The activities of cultists are also illegal. Whether it is Aiye, Eiye, Black Axe, among others, they are illegal. That’s why we have been arresting them. We have anti- cultism unit of the command. They will hide under the guise of cultism and use guns and other weapons to dispossess people of their valuables. Yes. Cultism is the new face of armed robbery. But once you are armed and you rob, you are an armed robber. You will be arrested and prosecuted for armed robbery and not cultism,” Oti said.
According to the police, many armed robbery gangs started as cult groups.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal recently paraded 55 suspected cult members, who he said were arrested during inter-cult violence and initiation.
A victim, Seyi Ogunkoya, who was recently attacked by some members of the Awawa Boys cult group, said the cultists pounced on him while he was trying to escape as they launched attack on people.
Ogunkoya said, “I was running for my dear life unknown to me I was only running towards danger. As I ran into them, they raised their cutlasses and I immediately pleaded that I would cooperate with them. I gave them my two mobile phones and the N35, 000. 00 from the proceeds of my sales that day. I have two shops in Agege. I was attacked in the night around 8.30 pm. They injured me in the head with their machete.
“I don’t know why police are not shooting this criminals that called themselves Awawa cult group. What are the policemen holding guns for? Are those guns bought for games? Are they not for armed robbers? Why can’t they shoot them? Even the policemen are running for their lives when they are not with guns. You will hear them saying, keep moving, police cannot shoot us. What is wrong with our youths? What is wrong with Nigeria? Those in power don’t care about what is happening today. “Anyway, they are not living among us. Their own areas are usually well secure. They don’t care about poor people. No one cares about the moon when the sun shines. One day these cult boys will face them with the problem and that would be the time they will be serious about Nigerian masses.”
In Ajegunle, Olodi-Apapa, a woman, Mama Ifeoma, said that while she was running during a violence unleashed on residents by some of the cultists, she fell, they caught up with her and dealt her some machete blows, which left her seriously injured. She said that they took her mobile phone and the N13,000 cash she had on her.
Recounting her experience, she said, “I was running home with my daughter when we heard that the cult boys had begun their trouble. Their interest is to steal money and phones. They don’t have job. They don’t want to work. As they said they were fighting at Layinka Street, I told my daughter, Ifeoma that we should quickly walk through Agungun Street and pass through Amechi Street to our residence at Ugbonwankwo Street. Unknown to us, the devils were almost everywhere. We walked into them.
“Ifeoma, my daughter, and I started running. I fell. The devils caught up with me. Ifeoma abandoned me with them and escaped. They cut my hand. They collected my money and phone. They stole my N13, 000.00. I had to go and treat myself. A patent medicine dealer treated me. The other time they fought, they were breaking into people’s apartment, looting people’s property under the guise of cultism. They are armed robbers. If police arrest them, they will come back again and do the worst.”