Sunday, February 28, 2016 5:27 pm
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
No fewer than 46 members of dreaded cultists popularly known as “Awawa” confraternity in Agege and its environs were arrested by the operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command, at the weekend, along Agindigbi Road, Ikeja and Agege areas of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
The operation, which lasted three hours at the early hours of Saturday, was led by the Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP Timothy Ojetunde with other policemen after RRS received reports from members of the public of cultists snatching belongings and maiming innocent people in Agidingbi, Agege and Ogba.
The RRS had for sometimes after receiving series of reports put surveillance teams in place to monitor the activities of the group in Agege, Ogba, Ifako Ijaiye, Iyana Ipaja and Abule Egba.
The information gathered by the police revealed that the Awawa confraternity members are fearless cult group terrorizing people living in Agege and Ikeja axis. Investigations further showed that they move in hundreds, committing all manners of atrocities on their way.
It was gathered that the operatives responded swiftly to the tip-off from two of their victims (names withheld) whom they had dispossessed of his valuables in Agidingbi towards Omole and Akilo Roads.
According to police source, “apart from incessant complaints from the residents which we received on daily basis in our office alleging that some group of young boys and girls with ages ranging between 15 and 22 years, were making lives difficult for residents and disrupting the peaceful atmosphere in Agege and its environs, they were equally did rape, loot, snatch and dispossess law-abiding citizens of their belongings. During their recent attack along Agindigbi Road, we were able to arrest 46 of them including 6 female while others manage to escape the dragnet of the police.”
“Having studied their black spots and based camps around Agege and its environs, and several petitions received by the policemen from the residents of the area, we carried out a special operations on the areas identified as their hide outs. Before we could make arrest of these suspects, they engaged us in a fight, stoning us with pebbles and broken bottles but our men remained unshaken, and eventually led to the arrest of these suspected cultists,” the Police source added.
On arrival at the RRS Headquarters in Alausa, the suspects were still threatening to make life unbearable for policemen, shouting vociferously that “no one can arrest them and go scot free.”
“The suspects as were obstinately still raging that no one can arrest them and go scot free. They still have the guts to be threatening us that if we don’t let them go, their colleagues who are yet to be arrested, would besiege our base the following day and set them free. But we are more than ready for them”, the source said.
Some of them, who confessed to the crime, said that they were lured into the dreaded cult group through the peer group influence.
“I was forced to join them on the account that I would be very powerful among my peers. They promised me that I would have free access to girls who are members of the group. One thing is certain, once you join the group, it would be very difficult to dissociate yourself again. And you must also be part of their proceedings and operations anytime they are set to go out. We loot, rape and rob innocent members of public each and every time we were at operation. We don’t fear anybody even police because we are always in hundreds,” Lukmon Arowoseni, one of the suspects arrested revealed.
While confirming the arrest of the suspected cultists, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in Lagos State, Dolapo Badmus, said that Awawa cult group was a violent group whose activities were under the close watch of the police, adding that the state would not condone activities threatening the peace in the city.
“We are after them. There financiers and leaders are our targets, with those in our dragnet, the tide is against them,” she said.
The suspected cultists were 40 male and six female, including, Mufutau Boboye, Yekinni Oluwatobi, Emmanuel Oluwatosin, Mutaru Watara, Kazeem Bello, Musiliu Adebisi, Semiu Ayedun, Daniel Oliyide, Adeyemi Adekanbi, Bello Ahmed, Owoseni Ahmed, Qudus Lawal, Saheed Badmus, Taofik Saliu and Adeyemo Jamiu. Others were Anthony Samuel, Femi Olayiwola, Elijah Kingsley, Jamiu Ogungbemi, Otapo Sule and Araba Adekunle.
There were also Lukman Arowoseni, Shina Aliu, Livinus Akorbar, Ezekiel Udoh, Shina Rasheed and Ibrahim Adarijo. Oniyide Samuel, Fatai Kareem, Fatai Ramoni, Kamoru Jimoh, Korede Adisa, Segun Oderinde, Akeem Habeeb, Samson Olufemi, Ayobami Oderinde, Uche Obasi, Tobi Adenni, Toheeb Olayeni and Aransiola Olumide.
The young girls among them were, Iyabo Ibitayo, Toyin Kafilat, Oladipupo Mariam, Eniola Oyedele, Rukayat Akeem and Kabirat Akeem.
The suspects have been handed over to Environmental Task Force, Alausa for prosecution.
It would be recalled that the RRS a week ago arrested 15 Awawa cult members were arrested from their hideouts in Agege.