By Evelyn Usman, Bose Adelaja, Ifeanyi Okolie & Ebun Sessou
LAGOS — Indications emerged, yesterday, that the dreaded Badoo cult group has extended its gruesome killings of defenceless Nigerians to Ogun State, following the arrest of suspected members in Ogijo area of the state, weekend.
Vanguard was informed that the cult members resumed their gruesome killings in the state three weeks ago and had so far operated at Ogijo and Ipetero areas of Ogun.
One of their victims was a six-year-old boy, whose head was reportedly smashed with a grinding stone. A second case was an attack on a family of five.
This came as another suspected member of the cult was arrested in Ikorodu area of Lagos yesterday, but for the swift arrival of security agents, angry residents would have applied jungle justice on him.
Badoo moves to Ogun State
A resident of Ogijo, who simply gave his name as Chiogor, disclosed that a member of the cult was arrested last Saturday at Itasoni area of Ogijo, Shagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State by a vigilante group.
He stated that the suspect owned up during investigation to be a member of the cult group.
He said: “We took him to the Police station, where he confessed that they had 10 new hideouts along the Ogijo axis.
‘’He also confessed that they were behind the massacre of a family of five at Eskoba, another community in Ogijo.
Their tongues, breasts and other parts of the body were cut off. For three weeks now, Ogijo has become a den of ritual killings, aside from the killing of the six-year-old boy at Itasoni.
At the moment, residents of that part of Ogun State can’t sleep with their two eyes closed, since the invasion of the Badoo boys, and have joined members of the vigilante to watch over their environments, even as traditional rulers of the areas so far attacked have resorted to traditional means to tackle the problem.
Some residents, particularly non-indigenes of Ogun State, have started relocating because, so far, those attacked were non-indigenes in the community.
Police rescue suspect
Also, yesterday, a suspected member of the Badoo cult was arrested around Benson area of Ikorodu. The suspect, it was gathered, stormed a building where he attempted to unleash mayhem on a 65-year-old-woman at about 2a.m.
But he was said to have stumbled on an object which disturbing sound woke up his victim who subsequently raised the alarm upon sighting a stranger in her apartment. As a result, the suspect who attempted to escape was arrested.
Eye-witnesses said when the bag he came with was searched, black oil, four Automated Teller Machine cards, three handkerchiefs and an Army camouflage were reportedly discovered inside.
An eye-witness, who simply gave his name as Gbadamosi, said: “When he saw that the woman was awake, he hit her with a matchet. During interrogation, he disclosed that he lives in Ikorodu.
“A woman, who claimed to be his mother later came to confirm that the suspect was the black sheep of the family and had once attacked her with a cutlass. He was beaten to a pulp until some soldiers came and took him to the Police.”
Police sources hinted that the suspect was taken to the State Criminal Investigations Department, Yaba, where investigation had begun.
Police screen 38 more suspects
Meanwhile, the Police yesterday, said they were still screening suspected members of the cult who were arrested in a raid at Ikorodu, weekend.
As at yesterday, additional 38 suspects had been arrested, bringing the total number of suspects to 138.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the screening started at about 9.30am and was still ongoing at about 7.30pm.
Sources revealed that some of them owned up to being members of the cult, while others claimed to be innocent.
Police sources said: “At the end of the screening, if any one is found to be innocent, he will definitely be released while those culpable will be charged to court.”
It was also gathered that the raid on some hideouts of the Badoo Boys will continue until they were totally flushed out of the country.
A resident of Ikorodu, Abioye , who described the raid as a welcome development towards checkmating activities of the cult, said such should continue.
Controversy over killing of three in Ikorodu
However, controversy is currently trailing the killing of three persons suspected to be members of the Badoo cult in Ikorodu, last weekend, as one of those burnt to death by a mob has been identified as Chinedu Paul, a stand-up comedian with the stage name, ‘’MC-Think-Twice.
The suspects were accosted in an SUV at Odogunyan and subsequently lynched by a mob when they could not explain their mission in the area around 1:00am on Sunday.
Vanguard gathered that the comedian had attended an event and was on his way home, when his car broke down.
He was said to have called one of his friends who came with his SUV to help tow the car.
They were said to be on their way to where the car broke down when they were accosted by the vigilante who accused them of being members of the Badoo cult group.
Paul and his friends were said to have identified themselves to the vigilante men and also pleaded that they should call the Police who could verify their identity properly.
Vanguard gathered that their pleas fell on deaf ears as the vigilante searched the vehicle and found a stone.
A police source disclosed that when Paul and his friends were asked why they had the stone in their vehicle, they couldn’t give a convincing reason.
This was said to have angered the vigilante and a mob who had gathered around the victims set them on fire, after which their bodies were dismembered.
When news of Paul’s gruesome murder filtered into his neighborhood in Igbogbo area of Ikorodu, residents were said to have been dismayed, wondering why the vigilante were in a hurry to kill the men when they weren’t convinced that they are members of the Badoo cult.
Some also wondered why the vigilante didn’t hand over the victims to the Police when they suspected them to be members of the cult group, considering the fact that Lagos State Police Command had just entered into partnership with members of Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, and other local security outfit within Ikorodu to flush out the Badoo cult group.
Paul’s friends, mainly entertainers, have since taken to social media to express their sadness over his gruesome murder.
They urged the police to bring his killers to book.
One of his friends, identified as Richie, who spoke with Vanguard on phone, said he had known him for more than 15 years.
He said: “I have known Paul for a long time; he was a church boy. We both started at Redeemed Christian Church of God in Ikorodu. We were both dancing in the church then and that was about 15 years ago.
“Paul later became an MC and comedian, while I continued dancing and I later started singing. We meet usually at shows and events and I saw him two weeks ago at Ikorodu Bus Stop and we greeted. I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see him.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. I wish those who did this to my friend would be made to account for it.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole, when asked for his reaction, stated that the command would go after the killers of the young men. He didn’t, however, confirm if the vigilante members had been arrested.
“We got information that three individuals suspected to be cult members were arrested at Odogunyan bus stop inside a car with a millstone. The suspects, unfortunately before the arrival of Police operatives, were lynched by a mob in their burnt car. Efforts are now on to arrest those involved in the barbaric act,’’ the police spokesman said.