•Sweet talked into it, harassed, threatened thereafter
•We are trapped, can’t come out
•Aiye hit-man accused of killing 15 persons opens up
By Evelyn Usman
Cultism is one major social ill that the Police are battling to curtail in Lagos State. This is because a good percentage of robbers so far arrested have been discovered to belong to one confraternity or the other.
Areas like Oworoshoki in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos, Ifako in Gbagada and Bariga, are major places where rival cult battles have lingered for several years.
Some arrests have been made by the Lagos State Police Command. But one of the suspects that has been on the command’s wanted list was arrested last week. He is 21-year-old Tomiwa Adebore, a self-confessed member of Aiye confraternity.
He was alleged to have participated in about 15 killings in Oworoshoki and other areas. His group, as gathered, had seven guns, among which are an AK 47 and a pump-action rifle, suspected to have been stolen during the EndSARS protest that went violent last year.
One of the group’s victims was an elderly man identified as Shola, who was killed two weeks ago, right in front of his family members. His offence was that he revealed identities of some cultists who were also robbers terrorizing Oworoshoki and its environs, to members of the Amotekun group.
In this interview with Crime Guard, the self-confessed Aiye confraternity member revealed how Shola was killed, as well as other members of rival groups.
He and other arrested members of Aiye confraternity, in this interview, expressed regrets over their decision to join cultism, as they disclosed that life as a cultist was that of a man in bondage because there was no going out once initiated.
Adebore, a barber, told Crime Guard that his woes began shortly after he was forcefully initiated into the Aiye cult group two years ago, by a friend he identified simply as Edgar.
He said: “Edgar, invited me and some other youths in Oworo to a party. But when we got there we discovered it was an initiation party.
“They blindfolded us and started beating us. They piqued our thumbs with a sharp object and ordered us to lick the blood. They called that blood oath.
“They used cutlass to inflict injuries on our heads which they called axe marks and said we had blended into the Aiye system.
“They warned us never to tell anyone and that if we failed to participate in the cult’s activities, its members would come for us and kill us”.
“Immediately, one is initiated, the new intakes are expected to give themselves new names by which they would be identified. This is part of measures to hide our true identities during operation. My nickname is small police because I am gentle and like making peace.
”Before I joined cultism, I was a barber. But after initiation, members would come to my shop to demand for money and if I told them I had no money, they would destroy my things. I was forced to lock my shop when it got to a point I could not pay the rent.
“I have participated in the killing of five persons, not 15 as alleged. Four of them were Eiye members who were marked for death. The first one was killed at Car Wash bus-stop during a reprisal attack by our members.
“He could not escape like his mates and he was shot. The second person was axed to death at Car Wash too. The third person was killed at Saw Mill, while the fourth was killed at Ifako.
“The fifth person was an elderly man who usually collected money from Amotekun members after giving them information about cultists. I was not the one that killed him, it was Swagger.
“Five of us walked up to his house around 7.30 pm on Sunday, March 11,2021, where he sat with his wife and children. Swagger dragged him out of their midst and shot him.
“Three other members used cutlass to cut him so that he won’t survive the attack. While that was going on, I was on guard, looking out for intruders”
To raise funds for the group, five other self-confessed members of Aiye confraternity alleged to have been terrorizing Ijeshatedo and Ikotun areas of Lagos, lamented that members were tasked financially.
One of them, Adewale Sadiq, whose confessional statement led to the arrest of Lekan Baruwa, Mattew Majemu, Ope Ajayi and Isa Balogun, said he had made several attempts to leave the confraternity without luck.
He disclosed that he was initiated in 2008 but that after his wedding in 2015, his wife threatened to walk out of the marriage if he did not renounce his membership.
According to him, “ I stopped attending their meetings after I got a job as a private guard. I also relocated from Ijesha to Ikotun, so as to dissociate myself from them completely.
“I was not even involved in the fight that broke out between Aiye and Eiye groups in Ikotun during which one Tunde Alado, leader of Eiye was shot dead, in January, 2021.
“Eiye members staged a reprisal attack on January 24, 2021, on our members at Governor road and killed our leader, Munero.
“At that point, all axe men (Aiye) were directed to assemble at Ijesha, to wage war against Eiye members, at Pako bus-stop, close to a canal.
“I could not decline the order because members would come after me. I wanted to leave but I was scared of the repercussion”.
On his part, Baruwa said he had also made several attempts to leave the group but that he was warned never to, else, he would be killed.
He said, “had I known, I would not have joined cultism. Every time we would be asked to pay money. For instance, members contribute N2000 to our leader, Munero (who was killed three months ago), to buy guns for the group’s armory.
“These guns are released whenever there was crisis. In the time of peace, he leased them out to members who paid as much as N2,500, depending on the number of days they would return them.
“There are other levies needed to keep the confraternity going”.
Other means of raising money for the group according to the suspects were through intimidation and harassment of members of the public, especially internet fraudsters commonly called yahoo boys.
“They will never tell you the problem inherent at the point of entry. By the time one gets in, it will be too late to leave except the person’s parents take him outside that particular state”, Baruwa said
For Majemu, a graduate of Political Science from the Moshood Abiola University, he said he was a cultist while in school but decided to come out of it after graduation.
He blamed his arrest on his association with Baruwa, whom he said he made friends with when he moved to Ikotun.
He said , “Twice, my mother warned me to dissociate myself from them. Unfortunately, I disclosed my identity to other members of Aiye I met through Baruwa. That was my greatest undoing”, he expressed regrets.
In this interaction with other members of Aiye, they revealed that members of the same cult could stage reprisal attacks in any part of the state.
For instance, they said Aiye members from Ikotun where he resides were reinforced to fight in Ilasamaja, Yaba and any other part of the state.
Asked how they were able to differentiate their members from other confraternities, they said “We identify our members through handshakes. The era of initiation marks as identification is past.
“For Aiye, the Agede sign is used as a mode of greeting. That is, the thumb and index finger will be positioned as a pistol sign during handshake.
“For the Eiye, members use a clock sign (placing the right wrist on the left to form an X sign) to greet a member”.