The Lagos State Police have arrested the leader of a notorious cult group in the Ikorodu area of the state along with 20 others.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, confirmed this in a statement issued on Friday.
According to him, the arrest was made after the Force received a distress call that some cultists from two rival groups engaged themselves in a supremacy battle along Isikalu Palace and Solomade area of Ikorodu.
Subsequently, the Command’s Anti Cultism Unit and patrol teams were promptly deployed to the scene where the leader of the gang, Yusuf Omidele, popularly known as General, who according to them had been on the wanted list, was arrested.
He was arrested alongside 20 other suspects, while four locally made pistols, eight machetes and three daggers were recovered.
According to the Police, General had been charged to court on several occasions and sentenced to prison.
He completed his last sentence in 2014 and has become an Elder-in- Council, in Eiye Confraternity, the statement said.
He led his gang in a reprisal attack on the members of Aye confratanity, whom they alleged to have killed the wife of one of their leaders some weeks ago.
The suspects arrested belong to both Aye and Eiye confraternity and have all confessed to belong to secret societies.
Elkana, however, noted that the suspects will be charged to court as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu (mni), later on met with traditional rulers, religious leaders, elder statesmen, parents, youths and other stakeholders in the area.
The meeting according to the police, was aimed at discussing lasting solutions to the cultism and other criminal activities by the youths, as the menace has been on the rise especially in the area.
He appealed to the French Ambassador to prevail on the authorities not to politicise the security of the country.
Governor Wike called on the French Embassy to take steps to ensure that Air France returns to Port Harcourt. He said the state government is prepared to support the airline through relevant policies.
He urged the management of Air France to reconsider their action and return to Port Harcourt.
The Governor said that his Administration will continue to work towards enhancing a fruitful relationship with the French Government.
Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Mr Jerome Pasquier noted that there is a major French Presence in Rivers State through the operations of Total and other professionals. He said that the embassy will continue to work towards greater French Presence in the State.
He said that the Embassy is working to persuade more French investors to come to Nigeria, especially Rivers State.
A notorious cultist, Ibrahim Abdullahi, popularly known as Tiny, who operates around the Satellite-Town area of Lagos, has been arrested.
He was arrested along with one of his accomplices, Obinna Kelvin Okey, 23, on Friday, March 23, at his hideout in the Ijegun-Egba area of the town during an operation led by the Divisional Police Officer of Satellite-Town Division, CSP Chike Oti.
During preliminary interrogation, the suspects confessed to being members of a cult group called the Aro-Bagger a.k.a. Vickings.
Subsequently, their arrest led to the arrest of three other cultists: Ismaila Adebayo, 21, Bode Akodo, 21 and Adefesun Abdulwahab, 25.
This was confirmed in a statement issued on Sunday by the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Zubairu Muazu (mni), had earlier in the week charged Area Commanders DPOs and Tactical Unit Commanders in the state to clamp down on the activities of members of unlawful societies and raid all identified criminal enclaves.
Based on the directive and credible intelligence received about the suspect, who had been on the run since he was linked to the murder of three residents of the community, Satelite division swung into action.
Following the arrest, CP Zubairu Muazu directed the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, to take over the case involving the key suspect.
The other suspects, on the other hand, were transferred to the Command’s Anti Cultism Squad for further investigation.
In a related development, one Stephen Egbe, a notorious traffic robber who specialises in robbing commuters along the Mile 12/Badagry Expressway, was caught in the act also on Friday.
He was caught around Mosalachi Bus Stop near maza- maza, by detectives of the Satellite Town Police Division.
The Command Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was, thereafter, directed to take over the investigation.
According to the Police spokesperson, all the suspects arrested will be charged to court.
The Lagos State Government says it is determined to rid the state of cultists’ activities following the arraignment of 70 suspects on Thursday.
A statement from the state Ministry of Justice revealed that the suspected cultists were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Olufunke Sule-Amzat of the Ogudu Magistrate Court, for conspiracy to commit a felony and for holding a meeting of an unlawful society suspected to be AIYE Confraternity.
The 70 suspects cultists, with ages ranging between 19 and 40 years, were charged with three counts by the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the ministry.
They were earlier arrested by officers of the State Police command who acted promptly on a tipoff given by members of the public on Friday last week, where the suspects were caught holding a meeting at Elemoro area in Ajah axis of the state.
In count one, the defendants were accused of conspiring to commit felony contrary to and punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Law, Cap CH. C17 Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
In count two, they were alleged to belong to an unlawful society suspected to be AIYE confraternity, an offence contrary to Section 42(a) and punishable under Section 42 (b) of the Criminal Law, Cap. CH.17 Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015, while they were said to have attended the meeting of the said unlawful group, contrary to the laws of the state in the third count.
After the charges were read to them, the 70 defendants pleaded not guilty, while their lawyer urged the court to grant his clients bail on the ground that the offence for which they were charged are bailable.
In response, the prosecution team led by a director at the DPP, Mr Yakub Oshoala, did not oppose the bail application but urged the court to remand the defendants in prison pending the satisfaction of their bail conditions.
In her ruling, Chief Magistrate Sule-Amzat granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N100,000 each and two sureties in like sum.
The sureties, according to the Magistrate, must be responsible residents, in gainful employment with evidence of paying tax for three years in the state, and one of which must be a blood relation of each of the defendants.
The matter was adjourned for trial on dates starting from April 11.
Reacting to the development, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said the state government would not relent until cultism and other social vices are stamped out in the State.
“To this end, the arraignment of the 70 suspects will serve as a deterrent to those who may want to engage in the act of cultism,” he said.
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has re-echoed his warning to people of the state against engaging in criminal activities, especially cultism.
The governor gave the warning on Monday when he signed into law a bill prohibiting secret cults and terrorism, as well as proscribing death sentence on anyone caught in the act.
While appending his signature to the bill at the Government House in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, he said it was now death sentence for anyone caught in the act of cultism.
In a bid to strengthen security in Ekiti, Governor Fayose said his administration remained committed to combating terrorism across tertiary institutions in the state.
He also hinted that life imprisonment awaits anyone who encourages the setting up of secret cult meetings or activities, especially in places such nightclubs, hotels, and any other part of the state.
“Sponsoring cult activities; this Section (51) of the Principal Law is hereby amended by the deletion of the word ‘seven years without an option of fine’, and substituted with the word ‘life. We want to make it very clear that cultism in our state, in our tertiary institution, will not be tolerated.
“And we will fight it, by all means, to ensure that the lives and properties of other students, people and neighbours, and our state in general, is at peace,” the governor said.
The bill was enacted following the death of two students of the Ekiti State University who were reportedly murdered by suspected cultists in October.
The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) has denied reports that a young boy who was reportedly killed recently by suspected cultists in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital was one of its cadets.
The NDA said the deceased, Saviour Enoch, who was once a student of the institution, was expelled for absconding without permission in November 2016 and therefore, ceased to be their cadet before his death.
The deceased’s uncle, Ovieakini Enoch, had on behalf of the family, urged security agencies to apprehend Saviour’s killers and bring them to justice.
Ovieakini said that 20-year-old Saviour was shot dead on Saturday night along Gwegwe/Naval Road in Ovom, Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
A statement issued by the spokesman for the NDA, Musa Yahaya, said Cadet Izibeginwo Enoch Gbavieme had ceased to be the institution’s cadet with effect from November 18, 2016.
Part of the statement said: “The Academy has investigated the report and feels obligated to make the following clarifications: that from NDA records, there was a Cadet Izibeginiwo Enoch Gbavieme who was a second-year Army Cadet studying Mathematics at the Faculty of Science NDA; that the said Cadet Izibeginwo Enoch Gbavieme absented himself from the Academy with effect from 15 November 2016 and is still absent. His Next-of-Kin (NOK) was contacted and all efforts to ascertain his whereabouts and bring him back to the Nigerian Defence Academy proved abortive”.
“Cadet Izibeginwo Enoch Gbavieme was struck off strength from the Nigerian Defence Academy for being absent for a cumulative period of 72 hours in line with extant NDA Regulation on Discipline and General Administration with effect from 18 November 2016; that for the avoidance of doubt, the said Izibeginwo Enoch Gbavieme ceased to be an undergraduate of Nigerian Defence Academy with effect from 18 November 2016. While we sympathise with the family of the person said to be shot by cultists in this moment of their grief, we wish to state that the Academy has very stringent administrative and organisational procedure towards ensuring the safety and accountability of its officer cadets,” the statement added.
Troops of the Nigerian Army have carried out a raid on cultists around the boundary between Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
The raid was carried out by troops of 2 Brigade Nigerian Army, Uyo on Saturday, a statement by the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, for the brigade said.
According to the statement, the raid is line with the army’s constitutional mandate of providing aid to the civil authority.
The army said that during the raid “on identified armed cultists” around the Uku Iboku Itu Bridge, a pair of military camouflage uniform, a camouflage T-shirt, camouflage singlet, a cardigan, 10 mobile phones, a bag of charms, a bag of clothes, one wrap of Indian hemp, the sum of N29,700, two Rizzlers and three motorcycles were recovered from the cultists.
The Commander 2 Brigade Nigerian Army Brigadier General Abdu Ibrahim Hassan assured all law abiding citizens in the area that the Brigade is poised to protect them and will do everything within its powers to ensure peaceful coexistence between the people in the area. He also solicited their support and cooperation in reporting any form of crime to the appropriate security agencies.
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has called on the Nigeria Police to set up a motorcycle patrol unit in a bid to extend its dragnet to all nooks and crannies of the state.
Dickson suggested the new move in the fight against crime and criminality in the state, while receiving the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Asuquo Amba, and his entourage in Government House, Yenagoa.
While assuring Amba of his administration’s total support in his efforts to make Bayelsa state crime-free, the Governor called on the Police to “flush out criminals, kidnappers, pipeline vandals, cultists and their sponsors”.
“It is necessary to make Bayelsa State the safest state in the country,” he said.
He also cautioned against the politicisation of security-related issues in the state, stressing that the matters of security should be treated strictly without any political undertone.
The Governor urged the State Command of the Police to collaborate with other security agencies in the state towards sustaining the existing peace, as a peaceful and stable atmosphere is paramount to attracting investments and development.
“You have a crop of dedicated and well-meaning officers and men in this command and we are proud of the work they do, so you have our support.
“The only thing I always say when Police Commissioners come is that, in Bayelsa we don’t condone politicisation of crime.
“Crime is crime, crime has no colour, no creed and crime has no political affiliation and that is the golden rule we want to see observed,” he said.
The new CP in his response pointed out that the Bayelsa government’s policy of zero tolerance for crime and violence was in sync with the Inspector General of Police directive to all the commands in the country.
While expressing preparedness to intensify policing in the state, the CP highlighted some of his achievements within two weeks of his posting to Bayelsa.
“The Police had apprehended a syndicate comprising two ex-soldiers specialised in stealing parked vehicles, using master keys and five persons suspected of vandalising the state-owned gas turbine,” Amba said.
The Police Commissioner also announced the arrest of a suspected kidnapper, and the recovery of 10 vehicles so far from the syndicate.
He added that investigations were ongoing in all the cases.