…as Police threaten to prosecute traditional rulers over lynching of suspects
By Evelyn Usman & Ifeanyi Okolie
A total of 131 suspected members of dreaded badoo boys and cultists were yesterday , arrested in Ikorodu area of Lagos ,by a joint security task force, in continuation of the clampdown on criminals who have snuffed life out of several families in the area.
The raid as gathered, started at the early hours of yesterday , with the joint task force comprising operatives of the Lagos State Police Command, the Rapid Response Sqaud, RRS, the Department of State Services,DSS, Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps , LNSC, O’dua Peoples Congress,OPC Onyabo and local vigilantes, combing hideouts of suspected cult members.
This is just as the Lagos State Police Command has threatened to prosecute any traditional ruler within Ikorodu , who allows any suspected member of badoo gang or robbery suspect to be lynched within his community.
The nine hour raid in Ikorodu , which was led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, DCP Edgal Imohimi; RRS Commander, ACP Olatunji Disu and the LNSC Chairman, Mr Isreal Ajao, a retired Deputy Inspector of Police, were carried out at hideouts in Ikorodu main town, Igbogbo, Majidun and Bayekun, where suspected badoo members and cultists were said to converge before and after operation.
RRS commander, Disu, who informed that the arrests were based on intelligence, with the support of local vigilantes , said that the suspects were being screened at the Taskforce office , at the end of which the innocent would be set free and others charged to court.
Also, the command’s Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole confirmed the arrest .
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command, has threatened to prosecute any traditional ruler in Ikorodu who allows any arrested badoo suspect to be lynched within his community .
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said this during a stakeholders meeting, held recently at Sabo Junction, in Ojokoro area of Ikorodu, between security agencies comprising the Nigerian Army, Navy, Department of State Security Service, DSS, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, traditional rulers, various vigilante groups, and the Oodua Progressive Congress, OPC.
Noting that continuous lynching of suspected Badoo member had resulted in the death of several innocent persons, Imohimi, therefore, advised that any suspect arrested should be handed over to security agencies, warning that members of any group who made an arrest would not be exempted , in the event of any jungle justice on arrested suspect.
He explained that the resolve of the police to embark on a partnership with other security agencies and local vigilante groups within Ikorodu, was to ensure that the menace of the Badoo cult, was brought to an end , as well as to build confidence between the populace and security agencies within the area.
He stressed that: ” If the vigilante group or members of the community are not comfortable in handing over any arrested suspects to the police, they should hand over such suspects to other security agencies working with the police. The police, Army, Navy, DSS, NDLEA, OPC, Onyabo group and the Neighborhood Safety Corps, are currently carrying our joints patrol around Ikorodu. ”
“We are making sure that the Badoo group finds it difficult to operate and we want to encourage those who are coming out to volunteer to protect their community, they’ve done well but any suspect arrested should be handed over to security agents on patrol. I have warned traditional rulers, including Baales who allow suspects to be lynched within their domains, that the police would come after them if we receive report of any lynching.”