Upon his deployment to Ogun State, the new Commissioner of Police, Abdulmajid Ali declared war on cultism in Ogun State, he specifically gave a shoot-at-sight order to officers of the command, though many tongues wagged against the order, recent activities of the groups are pointers to the need for the state to act fast. SULAIMAN FASASI of our Abeokuta Bureau writes.
Cultists in Ogun State may have dared the newly appointed Commissioner of Police, Abdulmajid Ali, by the renewed surge in their activities, which led to the death of three persons in addition to a number of bank robberies.
Ogun State has been very peaceful, especially since the outset of the current administration in the state. Incidences of bank robbery, which nearly marred the immediate past administration in the state has, obviously been put under check while political crimes have also been a thing of the past, but one thing that remains a nightmare to the people of the state is the resurgence of cult activities in the state.
Upon his deployment to the state, the new Commissioner of Police, Abdulmajid Ali, was quick to identify the menace as an emergency and gave a shoot-at-sight order on cultist in the state. Many people, especially the human rights activists called for the removal of the commissioner, but the recent resurgence of the group has shown that the commissioner might be right.
It will be recalled that recently, no fewer than four students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ojeere, Abeokuta were gruesomely murdered around Oluwo and Adigbe areas of Obafemi Owode Local Government area of Ogun State when members of Aiye and Eiye Confraternities engaged themselves on bloodbath.
Many people were arrested and paraded by the Ogun State Police in connection with the killings but that seems not to be an enough lesson for members of the cult groups.
No fewer than 84 students of an Ogun State Information Communication Technology, ICT in Igbesa were also arrested few days ago in a think bush during a initiation process. But one thing is is now very obvious, not only have the activities of the cult members spread beyond the walls of Higher Institutions, none students have also found ‘solace’ in the groups.
It was supposed to be a beautiful Monday this week, the people of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital woke up in the morning but many were forced back to their rooms and houses because Cultists have taken over much parts of Abeokuta North local Government especially in Ago-Odo, Elega, Itoko and by extension many other areas of the state capital.
Three people suspected to be members of rival Cult groups were slaughtered in Elega and Ago-Odo following a fracas, which started at a pub house inside the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta penultimate Friday and climaxed into the killing of the three victims.
It was further gathered that member of Aiye Confraternity shot at the first victim who was said to be the leader of Eiye Confraternity and identified as Ibrahim Babatunde Alamutu, but that the bullet didn’t penetrate.
Sources who preferred anonymity confirmed to our Correspondent who visited the scene that Alamutu, 32, popularly referred to as Emir was attacked immediately after his marriage introduction held at Elega Junction in the area. The sources also said that Alamutu’s throat was slashed while his esophagus and his left palm was removed from his body and taken away.
In what appeared to be a reprisal attack, members of Eiye Confraternity reportedly stormed Ago-Odo around 7:30 a.m. where another two victims were also killed in the same manners with emir while one the corpses was dragged to a nearby Ogun river.
When our reporter visited the scene, shops were closed, buildings were shutdown while many people stayed indoor because security operatives had taken over the major roads and streets in the area while people were afraid of likely reprisal attacks from the groups.
Security operatives including men of the Department of State Security, DSS, men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS and scores of Police officers were led to the scene by the Abeokuta Area Commander, Presley Dode and the Divisional Police Officer of Adatan, Ogunjobi Tolani.
The operatives who drove into the scene in fourteen Hilux Vans in company of an Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC, later raided a house belonging to a kingpin of Aiye, and a member of Oodua People’s Congress, Najimu Sodolamu where a vehicle was completely razed, two other houses were also razed.
Najimu’s aged father, an herbalist, Musibau Sodolamu, his fourth wife identified as Iya Azeez and an unidentified senior sister were also arrested in the process.
A resident who identified himself as Lateef Koleoso whose Nissan, a commercial vehicle, was also damaged told our correspondent that about 200 Cult members had earlier stormed the area in the late hours of Sunday damaging properties including vehicles.
Koleoso further explained that the ‘boys’ later came back in the early hours of yesterday in about 20 vehicles and okada shooting sporadically.
Speaking on the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Muyiwa Adejobi confirmed that over 30 suspects have been arrested in connection with the killings.
He said, “Today around 0700hrs the command was aware of a clash between some suspected groups of cultists, we moved to the place, when we got there, we found a lifeless body of one Alamutu, 32-year-old that was killed and found in his pool of blood.
“The Corpse has been taken to the Mortuary, the Command immediately swung into action when the Commissioner gave a directive that every police outfit on Ogun State should be on its toe including the PRO’s office.
“As I am talking to you in Abeokuta, particularly in Ago-Odo, Elega, Iberekodo towards Adatan Axis, the team I led arrested almost 13 suspects while the team led by the Area Commander and the DPO arrested almost 20.
“We are having almost 30 suspected cultists, we are still going to screen them, we are not saying all of them are cultists and we are not saying they were the ones responsible for the killing of Alamutu we have just commenced our investigation, it is too early for us to jump into conclusion.
Meanwhile, the PPRO, a Deputy Superintendent of Police said 84 suspected cultists were arrested in a tick bush in Igbesa in Ado-Odo/Ota during initiation.
In a separate raid, Adejobi also explained that seven others were also arrested in Ilaro in Yewa South Local Government area of the state in the early hours of yesterday.
He said, “In addition, the command was able to arrest, yesterday Sunday, 84 suspected cultists, we met them near a tick bush in Igbesa, we got the information and were cut in the act inside the tick forest and 84 of them were arrested.
“We also have almost seven of them arrested again just this morning, if you remember, the Commissioner of Police has declared war against them, we don’t have problem with armed robbers, we don’t have problems with people in violent crimes but cultists and land grabbers and that is why we have declared war against them in the state.”
Meanwhile, the Command has restricted the operation of Okada Riders, pub houses, joints and clubhouses in the state in order to police the state effectively. Pub houses are expected to close by 10pm; Okada Riders are restricted till 8:30 p.m. while club houses have the opportunity till 12:00 a.m.
A statement issued in Abeokuta by the PPRO indicated that the state’s Commissioner of Police gave the directive in order not to jeopardise the peaceful security arrangement being enjoyed across the state.
Adejobi further explained that the order became necessary in view of the police’s investigation, which has proven that patrons of liquor centers tend to have lost sense of decency and prone to commit security breaches after 10:00 p.m. He also said that their attitudes are likely to be influenced by “an overdose” of liquor intake.
PPRO, who stated that the command would treat any proprietor of joints and liquor centres caught violating the order as aiding and abetting criminals in the state.
It is no doubt that, unlike before, the present administration in the state is not a promoter of cultism but efforts at curtailing the activities goes beyond not being a promoter but must be channeled in a way that cultism would be made unattractive to the youths.
The government of the day must also look for a way of engaging the youths positively and constructively while the religious houses must also be up and doing towards mobilising youths towards godliness and makes cultism unattractive to them.
It is also noteworthy to commend the police having arrested almost 200 of various cult members within the week and to encourage them to further step up their vigilance, as cultism seems to have become attractive to not only students, past and present, but other citizens across the state.

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