By Sanni Lekan
In Ikorodu, a fast developing part of Lagos State, the fear of the Badoo is the beginning of wisdom. The name sends jitters down the spine of even hard men. A visit to any locale by the gang always left with it sorrows and weeping, severe limbs, heads, torso and other body parts. Many families have been wiped out by the dreaded group.
The group is not really into armed robbery or kidnapping. It’s a secrete cult. Its modus operandi is still a mystery to people. What is generally known about the group however is that its members are involved mainly in ritualistic killings going by the way they dismembered their victims. And they strike with precision. In one instance, they wiped out a family of six in cold blood.
Their recent act was an attack on a church at Owode-Ajegunle last week, during which a woman and two kids were killed.
The cultists attacked the church , Crystal Church of Christ (C&S) Aladura, at no 4, Victor Anibaba Street, Owode Weighbridge, along Ikorodu Road.
Wife of the church founder, Mrs. Ajidara, her two-year old daughter and another woman who lived in the church with her daughter were attacked. While three persons were killed during the attack, others escaped with injuries.
Many others have met their untimely death in the hands of these horrendous killers; men, women, husbands, wives, children, babies. No one is too young or too old to escape the rampaging bloodhound.
The killings have defied every measures put in place by security agencies and residents, who are living in palpable fear and tension. The failure of security agents to unravel the Badoo gangs prompted the setting up of a Joint Taskforce comprising the Police, the Department of State Service, DSS and personnel of the new Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency, LSNA, led by its chairman, Mr. Israel Ajao, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, and members of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC.
The Task Force was a collaborative effort by the police, OPC, local vigilantes like Onyabo and traditional rulers to bringing to an end series of killings by the gang.
Before this, there was another meeting by Mr. Fatai Owoseni, the state police commissioner with all traditional rulers in Ikorodu, to express the concerns of the Command on the spate of kidnapping and excesses of cult groups in Ikorodu. This was sometimes in May.
Since swinging into action, the Task Force has arrested more than 100 suspects. The suspects are currently undergoing interrogation to determine their individual culpability. But while the raids were being carried out, news filtered in that an unnamed leader of the cult group was already recruiting fresh members. Indeed, the attack on the church took place in the midst of the massive manhunt for members of the gang.
“We are already investigating the incident so that we will be able to know if this recent attack was perpetrated by the same Badoo boys we raided and arrested about 100 members on Saturday that have shifted base towards the metropolis,” a police source said.
But the effort by the authority may have come rather late as residents now look for any possible means of protecting themselves from the dreaded gang; a situation has resulted in loss of lives.
Many people have been extra-judicially killed by angry residents, who even at times said they decided to take the laws into their hands because some suspected members of the gang had been arrested before, only to be released by the police.
One of such extra judicial killings was that of a comedian with the state name MC ThinkTwice, who was killed alongside two of his friends by members of a vigilante group who mistook them for members of the cult gang.
MC Think Twice and his two friends were set ablaze at Odogunyan, Ikorodu, after they were apprehended by the vigilance group along Oju-Emuren Street. They were stopped around 1.am in a jeep. They told the vigilante members that they were on their way to tow a broken-down vehicle, but their accusers were not convinced. They were lynched after three heavy stones, engine oil and handkerchiefs were allegedly found in their SUV. DAILY ASSET learnt that the crowd became suspicious of the three because Badoo gangs use stones to break the head of their victims, while handkerchiefs are used to mop their blood.
While a section of Nigerians, especially on the social media, have continued to condemn the killing of the fast rising entertainer, some residents of the area believe that he and the others must have had links with the gang because of the incriminating items found in their SUV which have become synonymous with the deadly gang.
A coordinator of the Ikorodu Ambassadors Group, Rasheed Fatuga, who condemned the killing of the suspects, urged residents to be law abiding while acknowledging that security agencies have failed residents of Ikorodu and appealed to the people not to allow bitterness and the thirst for vengeance rob them of their humanity.
“Are we going to just fold our arms and do absolutely nothing about the security challenges we are facing in Ikorodu? No, we cannot let that happen. But we cannot turn ourselves into killers and murderers like them. We cannot let them take away our humanity. We cannot let them fill our consciences with regret. Let us say no to setting people ablaze, beating people to death and use of tyres to burn people. It is a crime. Let’s do the right thing by handing criminals to the police, and make sure we follow it up,” he said.
However, some residents insisted that the lynched victims were Badoo gang members because they could not identify themselves before they were taken to the palace of the community leader, where the angry residents insisted on jungle justice.
A resident, Asaolu Adetunji Paul, said the victims were found with items synonymous with the cult group, which provoked the mob action.
“All of you supporting the deceased don’t know what really happened. I live and work very close to the venue where this happened. The area is very hot these days. People are no longer sleeping anymore. When they were stopped by the vigilant group, they asked them where they were coming from and they replied Delsam Hotel, which is located off Shagamu Road at the back of Access Bank.
“They were asked where they were going to and they said their car was had a fault and they were going to move it. They were taken to the Baale for more interrogation. On getting to the palace, the man asked them to take them to the venue where their car broke down, but they could not, which means they were lying. That was when they now suggested checking their truck and later found out that the guys were carrying oil and stones.
“The community leader even suggested that they should be kept till day break but the people were angry just because of the many families the gang has wiped out. They were also asked if they know anybody around Ikorodu that can identify them but the answer was no,” Paul said.
The tense situation has led to many non-residents being wary of any foray into Ikorodu.
The State Police Command has also directed that residents and visitors of Ikorodu and environs should go about with a form of identification.
The Police said the directive became necessary because of the series of police operations lined up in the area.
“The order takes immediate effect from 4th of July, 2017” a statement signed by Police Spokesperson, Olarinde Famous-Cole read.
At the weekend, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode added another dimension to the Badoo saga when, at an occasion in Epe, said the cult group has the backing of some powerful interest. Ambode said: “This is a good opportunity for me to say this, since the majority of our traditional rulers are here. We just want to pass a message to say that we need to come together and ensure that we speak to all our Baales in the communities that we are having issues and also in Ikorodu to say that we must speak to ourselves.
“We have intelligence here that some of these things are coming from within and our Kabiyesis and Obas need to do something as quickly as possible to arrest this decadence that we have here. As far as the Badoo case is concerned, I don’t believe that it has anything to do with a disappearing ghost. I don’t also believe that the rituals can be taking place, without some people not being behind it.
“So, I challenge all our Kabiyesis and all our traditional rulers and Baales, we must arrest this situation as quickly as possible and show that traditional value that we have always been known for and then we would continue to support you.”
For now, residents of Ikorodu are sleeping with one eye open. Only a more proactive measure”So, I challenge all our Kabiyesis and all our traditional rulers and Baales, we must arrest this situation as quickly as possible and show that traditional value that we have always been known for and then we would continue to support you.”