In the past, residents go to bed with both eyes closed, relying mainly on the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Onyabo and other local vigilante groups for protection.
The free reign of the dreaded Badoo cult group, which has been terrorising Ikorodu Division of Lagos State in recent times, has taught the residents how to apply many self-defence strategies, both night and day.
In the past, residents go to bed with both eyes closed, relying mainly on the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Onyabo and other local vigilante groups for protection. But the activities of the killer group, which has brought much sorrow upon the people, has birthed a new style of living in virtually every home in Ikorodu.
The Badoo gang has been using stones and big sticks to kill their victims, after which they would remove their body parts. They also use white handkerchiefs to take the victims’ blood, which they allegedly deliver to their godfathers for ritual purposes.
They were practically “above the law” as they murdered victim after victim with the police appearing helpless most of time, until residents decided to adopt new strategies.
Investigations by The Guardian in Odogunyan, Ogijo, Odola, First Gate, where most students of the Lagos State Polytechnic reside, down to Ikorodu garage, Agbowa, Agric, Ishawo, Ogolonto, General Hospital Road and Majidun among other areas, revealed that part of the strategies now adopted by the residents include total shut down of their streets/avenues from 10.00pm till 6.00am.
“During this period, the men (both young and old) engage in street-to-street patrol,” one of the residents, who simply gave his identify as Muyiwa told The Guardian.
“Since the Badoo group killed a family of five at Odogunyan, it has been very terrible and scary. The people became so afraid to the extent that even young children were affected. Once darkness comes and you send a child of three years old to bring water from the house, they will refuse except if someone is around to escort them.
“So, what the people now resorted to was to embark on street-to-street parade all night. Sometimes, the women and young children who are afraid to sleep in the house do join in the street-to-street parades. They move with whistles, cutlasses, sticks and flashes of torchlight everywhere.”
Another resident named Kunle said: “We’ve had to resort to self-imposed restrictions as a way of dealing with the situation. Everyone that lives in Ikorodu is expected to be back home before 9:00 pm. And once it is past that time, we advise people to sleep wherever they are because it is dangerous to walk at night in every part of Ikorodu for now. Everyone is extra cautious and we have to be on the alert.”
In some areas, the people have resorted to a weekly security roaster to avoid a situation whereby everyone would have become exhausted. “After the initial two weeks of daily street-by-street parade by everybody, we discovered that people were falling sick. So, what we resolved was for each street to have a security roaster, whereby people will have some time to sleep and refresh themselves before it gets to their turn,” Kunle stated.
Apart from the issue of Badoo, the people of Ikorodu, particularly those residing along the Odogunyan/Ogijo/Sagamu Road also have to deal with the unbearable situation of the road on a daily basis. “One thing Governor Akinwunmi Ambode should do for us is to fix this bad road. We do not feel the impact of the state government at all. Odugunyan is a big industrial estate, which is generation huge revenue for the government on a monthly basis. In places like Rofo Estate to Edira, the people are suffering from erosion, bad road and now the fear of Badoo,” one of the residents, Besola said.
“Look at First Gate for instance, the students of LASPOTECH have no good road into the Lambo Lasunwon community. It calls for urgent attention from the government,” he added.
Meanwhile, peace is gradually returning to the Ikorodu Division and its suburbs, following the three- week devastating attacks masterminded by the ritualists on the residents.
Investigations by The Guardian revealed that the three-week tension created due to Badoo attacks has reduced drastically since the police, in collaboration with local security outfits, Onyabo and members of the Otunba Gani Adams-led Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) stepped into the matter while the traditionalists were reported to have carried out several sacrifices including the use of Oro vigil to douse the situation.
According to the Provost Marshall of Onyabo, Mr. Olabinto Olarenwaju, the situation is now under control and the residents have also stopped the acts of jungle justice.
Olanrewaju disclosed that other forms of spiritual approach were also introduced like the use of Oro, an all-night kind of ritual outings aimed at sending away the Badoo boys and their sponsors from the land.
He said a locally arranged form of curfew is in force in all affected communities. Said he: “Apart from the spiritual approach since it was a ritual crime, Onyabo is also carrying out a form of constant monitor of the communities all through the day in the last three weeks.”
Olanrewaju, however, condemned the raid being carried out by the OPC and police, saying, “Traditional rulers are not aware of the raid and I can confirm that those arrested during the raids are innocent.”
The Onyabo leader, however, said “Ikorodu is currently at peace as the menace of Badoo has gone down in the last few weeks since we started what we are doing at present.”In his reaction, the OPC national coordinator concurred with Olarenwaju that normalcy has returned to Ikorodu, but disagreed with him over the comment that the joint OPC and police raid is unnecessary.
According to Adams: “Many members of the gang were arrested by the police in collaboration with the OPC and members of Onyabo. An investigation team was set up immediately and more than 85 suspects were released. We have about 50 remaining whose cases the police authority is looking into.”
He disclosed that Ikorodu has the largest number of cults in the country and, unfortunately, most of the younger people initiated in those cults are stark illiterates, which made the matter worse. One of the results of the raid was the declaration of 20 people wanted in association to various crimes by the police. Our operation has sent a serious signal to the criminals in Ikorodu, therefore, I do not see a reason why anyone would speak against it.”