By Evelyn Usman & Dapo Akinrefon
Suspect names herbalists, prominent Nigerians as patrons, adds ritual handkerchiefs cost N.5m
LAGOS — No less than 100 suspected members of the dreaded Badoo Boys cult were arrested weekend, during a joint raid on the group’s hideouts by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of Lagos State Police Command, Anti-Robbery operatives, members of the Oodua peoples Congress, OPC, and members of vigilante groups in Ikorodu.
Members of the cult had laid siege to Ikorodu and environs, unleashing an orgy of killings, during which they used heavy stones to crush the skulls of their victims.
Reliable Police sources yesterday, quoted a suspected member of the dreaded Badoo cult group as saying that each ritual handkerchief used to clean victims’ blood after operation was sold for N500,000 to herbalists and some prominent Nigerians for money rituals.
According to the source, the suspects are still being quizzed to determine their level of involvement and those who patronize them.
Yesterday’s raid followed a meeting between the National Co-ordinator of Oodua Peoples’ Congress, Chief Gani Adams, and Onyabo leaders, with security chiefs in the state last Friday.
Areas where the joint raid, led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Edgar Imohimi, were made included Ibeshe, Ita-Maga, Ijede, Ipakodo, Igbogbo/Bayeku and Imota, among others.
Sources told Vanguard that some of the suspects confessed to be mere errand boys, adding that their use of grinding stones in killing victims was to ensure efficacy of the money rituals.
At the last count, over 30 persons, among them, family members, including toddlers, have had life snuffed out of them by the dreaded Badoo boys.
Their modus operandi included storming victims’ residences while they are asleep. It is suspected that they usually hypnotized their victims, as none of them, except during last week’s operation at Odogunyan, had ever been conscious of their presence.
They would, thereafter, smash victims’ heads with a grinding stone and use a handkerchief to clean the blood and brain before leaving the scene. They usually left without taking any valuables.
Police confirm arrest, warn against jungle justice
Spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, Olarinde Famous-Cole who confirmed the arrest, said: “We can confirm the arrest of 100 suspected members of the dreaded cult group, Badoo, and they are helping with on-going investigations into the activities of the gang.
Famous-Cole, who added that over 40 vehicles were used for the operation, also assured residents of their safety.
“Residents should go about their activities without fear, as the Police and other security agencies in the state are poised to make the state uncomfortable and hot for criminal elements to perpetrate their nefarious activities.
“The state government has cautioned residents to desist from carrying out jungle justice on suspected members of the gang, as government will leave no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators of any dastardly act to justice.
“For some time now, members of the Badoo cult group have been fingered in violent killings in Ikorodu axis, a development which had prompted some suspected members of the group to be lynched through mob action.
“Government is on top of the situation and we like to use this medium to caution the people to desist from jungle justice,’’ the PPRO said in a statement.
OPC’s role, by Gani Adams
Reacting to the arrest, National Coordinator of the OPC, Otunba Gani Adams, explained how his group was drafted to assist in arresting some members of the Badoo gang, describing the joint operation as a welcome development.
Adams, who commended the Commissioner of Police and his team, said the OPC was ready to complement the efforts of the Police in reducing crime to the barest minimum.
His words: “We have to thank the Nigeria Police for summoning the courage in calling us to compliment their efforts. We were invited to a meeting by the Police last Wednesday and we discussed at length how the menace of the Badoo cult and other crimes perpetuated in Ikorodu can be curbed.
“This is a welcome development because there is a lot of pressure from Nigerians, Yoruba people and the media on our group to step in and assist the Police. In 2016, we had informed Nigerians that if we were not invited by the Police to assist them in combating crime, we would not get ourselves involved.
“We commend the efforts of the Commissioner of Police in Lagos and his team for summoning the courage. The meeting we held last week showed that the Police Command is eager and determined to reduce crime rate in Lagos State.
“The discussion led to us to convening a larger meeting of OPC coordinators in Ikorodu on Friday and it was concluded that there was need for us to move to Ikorodu to assist the Police in arresting the Badoo gang. Saturday’s joint operation was a successful one and it was led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Lagos.
“In the process of the joint operation, about 65 to 75 suspected persons were arrested. With the joint operation and arrest, I know more information will come to our leaders in Ikorodu because of the confidence people have in them.
“It is believed that because of the confidence, information will be passed by our leaders to the Police. We are ready to cooperate with security agencies although the OPC is not a security group; we are purely a socio-cultural group.
“As a group, we are ready to assist the public when it is needful and we can do more to complement the efforts of the Police and security agencies. So, what happened over the weekend is a welcome development.”
Ibeshe, worst hit community
A resident of Ibeshe community, Afariogun Taofeek, who confirmed the arrest of some members in the community on Saturday, revealed that at least 10 persons had been killed by Badoo boys in the community .
He said: “The first time they struck was last year at Oke-Ota community, where they raped a woman, and killed her Ghanaian husband . A month after, they struck again. This time around, their target was a 60-year-old woman, Madam Francisca. Her daughter, Marvelous, who escaped death by the whiskers lost her sight. She said they poured a substance into her eyes.
“The gang members are so daring that they also stormed the Celestial Church of Christ at Itesiwaju area of Ibeshe, during a vigil. They lured an eight-year-old girl outside and abducted her. They took her away from the church’s vicinity and gang-raped her until she passed out. Thereafter, they cleaned her private parts with a handkerchief . Unfortunately, one of them with the handkerchief was caught by some members of a vigilante group .
“During the brief interrogation, he took members of the vigilante group to where they abandoned the little girl. He was roasted alive before Police arrived the scene.”
Continuing, he said “at the initial stage, women were their victims, as they usually raped them and cleaned them with handkerchiefs which were taken away. It was towards the end of last year that they introduced the use of grinding stone.
“At this point, they went for families. They never spared even children, no matter how old they were.
“One of the pathetic cases occurred at Owode Ibeshe last November, after the cultists invaded the home of a widow. The woman and her three children were attacked . Fortunately for them, we found them unconscious and rushed them to the hospital where they regained consciousness after three days.
‘’When the family returned from the hospital, they could not stay in their home anymore. We also recorded two other incidents where a family of four was killed in a building and another four in another operation.”
Another resident of Oluwoye community, Mrs Rukayat Ogendegbe, also narrated how the gang struck at the home of a family of four. She said “a pregnant woman was not only killed, they removed the foetus and used their handkerchiefs to clean the blood. Her husband, Yusuf Kazeem, and two children narrowly escaped death as they were revived in the hospital.
“They have wreaked havoc on people of Ikorodu. I don’t know why their concentration is on Ikorodu. They have so far struck at Lasunwon, Odogunyan, Ogijo, Ibeshe Tutun, Eruwen, and Olopomeji areas in Ikorodu.”
The latest attack was last Wednesday at Odogunyan, where a family of five — Mr David Ike (50), his wife, Margaret and their three children, ages five, four and two respectively, were wiped out.
But another resident who simply gave his name as Ojo, said some owners of buildings in affected areas were forced to move out in order not to fall victim .
He added: “If the Police and government had risen to the challenge before now, perhaps, others who lost their lives would have been saved. But they waited too long before taking action.”
Worried by the spate of attacks, traditional rulers and herbalists in Ikorodu decided last week to address the worrisome trend the traditional way. As first step, propitiation rituals were performed last Thursday and Friday.
Since the ritual was performed, Vanguard gathered that at least eight suspected members of the cult group had been arrested, but a mob set them ablaze before the arrival of security operatives.
Reports had it that four suspected members of the gang who were arrested Friday immediately after the ritual rites were also set ablaze.
Three other suspected members were reportedly lynched yesterday. The men, said to be wearing black suits, were reportedly found in a Sports Utility Vehicle, SUV parked on Oju-Emuren street in Ikorodu in the wee hours of the day.
When the vehicle was searched, three grinding stones, charms and an oily substance were reportedly found..
The recovered items led people to conclude they were members of Badoo cult, apparently on an operation. A mob quickly rose and set them and their vehicle on fire.
Dog helps stop Badoo
Another resident informed that a dog prevented the suspects from operating earlier at Ojogbe community yesterday.
He said: “ We were alerted by the barking of a dog at our community at Ojogbe at about 1am today (yesterday). Immediately, people started blowing whistles because that was what we were instructed to do any time we suspect they are around.