Ego clashes involving members of the Aiye and the Eiye confraternities at Ijanikin, in the Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, have led to the deaths of two persons. The two victims include: an undergraduate of the Lagos State University, Kamoru Lasisi, and a tiler, Lateef Atanda.
Members of the cult groups had been engaging one another in a series of clashes for over two months, a situation that had been creating tension in the community.
During the clashes, the cultists usually engaged themselves with weapons including guns, cutlasses, and machetes, among others, and had created strongholds that had been threatening the lives and property of residents and business owners plying their trades in the community.
A resident in the area, who refused to mention his name for security reasons, said aside from the cultists killing one another, the tension induced by their activities had degenerated to the point of them killing innocent members of the community.
The resident said, “The cultists’ attacks in my area are a major concern; initially, they usually go after one another, but now, what they do is go after people that are not cultists in the community. The clashes involve members of the Aiye and Eiye cult groups and each of the groups has a territory in the community that they control.
“In Ijanikin, Aiye cultists are in charge of Alasia down to Adio, Ayetoro, and Ketu areas, but Oto, Cele and Ile Oba Bus Stops, and some parts of Adio are controlled by the Eiye cult groups. Two weeks ago, Aiye cultists stormed the Cele Bus Stop area and shot a 400-level undergraduate of LASU, Kamoru Lasisi. He was shot dead in front of his father’s house despite not being a cultist.
“About two months ago, around 7.50pm, Aiye cultists came to the territory of Eiye cultists to attack a rival and did not meet their target. What they did next was to attack and kill an innocent boy, Lateef Atanda, who just finished writing his WAEC and does tiling business.
“The boy was shot dead on Ago-Idosa Street, Vespa Bus Stop, in the presence of his father, who was pleading with the cultists not to kill him. He was not a cultist and people in the area testified to it. There is always a reprisal for these attacks and it causes unconfirmed killings in the community.”
Another resident in the community lamenting over the development, said the cultists usually assume that anyone found around their targets were cultists and go after them when they could not get their main targets.
The resident said, “The Aiye and Eiye cultists are hunting one another in the community, and when they are doing so, whoever they see with their targets, they don’t bother to do any fact findings to know if the person is a cultist or not, they just attack and kill the person.
“They operate with guns and other weapons. People are afraid of the Ijanikin community. The painful thing is that we know these cultists in the community as they are not strangers. So, whenever people see them appear in the community, they start running for their lives because they know that an attack can happen at any time.
“Initially, we usually face the cultists to chase them away but we stopped as we don’t have the necessary support. The cultists know the policemen at Ijanikin Police Station and get the information whenever they are coming for a raid and flee the community. We want the police command to bring in external policemen to work with us to do an underground operation to arrest these cultists as we are willing to lead them to their hideouts in Ijanikin.”
Contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said, “The Commissioner of Police, upon assumption of duty in Lagos State, identified cultism as a major problem in the state and that informed his decision to decentralise our tactical unit by deploying the unit out of the state command and stationed at different parts of the state including Badagry which covers Ijankin and they have started work.
“We are aware that cultism is on the high side in Ijanikin but in the coming days or weeks, there should be a sharp decline in the activities of cultists in that area.”
Meanwhile, unrest and killings occasioned by the activities of cultists had been sending shivers down the spines of residents and business owners in the state.
On Wednesday, the state Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, during a parade of 42 suspected cultists at the command headquarters in the Ikeja area of the state, said he created a special unit to frontally address the emerging threats posed by cultists in the state.
Noting that the 42 suspects were arrested during intelligence-led operations in Ijora, Orile, Ebute Meta, and Ikorodu areas, Owohunwa said the preliminary investigations revealed that the cultists’ supporters or networks had developed the capacity to locally fabricate semi-automatic and automatic shotguns.
“Our investigations are not only focused on identifying other members of these networks but to also get to the root of the fabricators of these dangerous weapons,” he added.