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Lagos Police arrests 137 cultists, couple

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…including couple returning from festival

By Evelyn Usman & Esther Onyegbula

Following warning last week that cultists should desist from gathering for their sacred day, 777, in Lagos, the Police have arrested 120 cultists in Ikorodu area of Lagos, while 17 were arrested at Ibeshe, Ele-Epo, Ogombo, Ajah and other part of the state.

The suspects, including 35 females, with ages ranging from 14 to 42, according to the Police, were arrested based on credible intelligence available to the Command and was communicated to the Officer-in-Charge of Anti-Cultism.

According to Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, who paraded the suspects at the Command headquarters yesterday, “they were arrested at Ikorodu, where they were observing 777, undergoing initiation in preparation to unleash mayhem on the larger society.”

Couple cries foul

One of the suspects, Mrs. Ebele Joseph, 30, said she and her husband were arrested on their way home from the Oba’s palace where there was a festival.

She said: “My husband and I went to the palace to watch Egunu festival. On the way, as we wanted to take a bike, Task Force vehicle stopped and the policemen took us to one hotel where there was a party.”

While she cried profusely for help, she claimed that she is an ordinary noodles seller.

She said: “I sell noodles and egg, morning and night, in front of my house at Igbe Road, Ifeoma Junction.”

Meanwhile, her husband, Mr. Gabriel Aligbe, 33, who pleaded for help, corroborated his wife’s story: “We went to watch masquerade at the Oba’s palace. On our way back to get a bike at past 9p.m., task force vehicle stopped and ordered us to enter.

“They didn’t tell us what we did. They took us to a hotel and brought some boys out. Some of the boys were stained with blood. Because they packed us together, the sleeve of my shirt got stained too. They have not allowed me make any call.

“I am a simple motorcyclist. Nobody knows I’m here. I have family, but my phone is not with me,” he added and started crying.

This Command had, on Thursday, called on the cultists not to converge on any part of the state on July 7.

Meanwhile, Police boss, Edgal, assured the suspects that he would send for their families to let them know of the arrests.

The suspects

Some of the suspected cultists arrested are Emmanuel Jerry, 26; Ibrahim Mustapha, 29; Monday James, 30; Ebube Ebuka, 24, and Chidi Eric, 29.

For Jerry, “my friend introduced me to cultism. He threatened to kill me if I did not join them and because I don’t want to die young, I opted to be part of them.

“We were in hotel at Ile-Epo area, celebrating our annual 7/7 when policemen swooped on us, while some escaped.”

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