COMBATING THE SCOURGE OF MURDER IN IKORODU: ALL HANDS MUST BE ON DECK TO REDEEM OUR IMAGE

international media are daily awashed with ugly stories about Ikorodu division, portraying this Eastern gate way of Lagos State as a den of robbers, militants, cultists, ritualists, kidnappers, land grabbers and serial rapists and murderers.

In the past five years, Ikorodu has been in the news and on the internet for bad reasons, the latest being the emergence of a group called “Badoo”, a deadly gang, whose members have been invading mostly rural communities and wiping off entire families and killing their victims like vampires and monsters.

So much blood has been spilled in this division that residents are now afraid of everyone and suspicious of even the law enforcement agents, traditional rulers and cult groups. Allegations have been making the rounds that these wicked killings are sponsored by traditional leaders.

It is even sadden that many residents, who on daily basis bombard Oriwu Sun with phone calls and complaints, are now accusing the traditional institutions and their leaders as well as the various security agencies of doing nothing to stop the killings.

Concerned citizens argued that there are many layers of security agencies operating in this state and this division, including the military intelligence, DSS, SSS, police and CID’s NDLFA, Naval and Marine Intelligence, Onyabo, the Civil Denfence Corps and the recently launched Neigbourhood Safety Corps, expected to penetrate the nooks and crannies of the state to rake up intelligence. So, what are all these security arms doing? What are the vigilante groups, engaged by streets and community development associations, doing? People are asking.

Over thirty (30) people have been killed in the past one year, including about five or six families wiped out entirely. The serial rapes, hacking to death, draining of blood and removal of vital organs, including the foetus of a pregnant woman in one of the latest account, are horrendous and cannibalistic acts, unworthy of a seeing or believing in modern state of this century.

The Inspector General of Police, the Lagos State Government and its citizens seems to be watching helplessly as these demonic acts take place almost on a daily basis by one group or more.

No wonder the provoked public are now reacting violently, lynching anyone suspected of involvement in these heinous acts. Jungle justice is now the ready answer available to a battered society, which had sought for help that is not forthcoming.

Every reasonable man or woman knows that lynching a suspect is not right because it will deny the extraction of vital information from such people. But do you blame the aggrieved mob, who argued that criminals whisked away by the police soon return to the community as free people to unleash vengeance on innocet citizens; hence, the resort to instant justice in place of protracted court process and backdoor release of suspects by corrupt and influential bad eggs.

The way out seems to be the injection of more competent security men into Ikorodu with adequate equipment and full commitment of all traditional leaders and their institutions in fighting this menace as well as the full involvement of the residents, all of whom will become vigilant watchers and informants.

In one area of Ebute recently, the local vigilante group wrote the residents that they had been alerted about a possible Badoo attack in their area. The whole landlords, tenants and their security operations began day and night watch. Observant residents raised an alarm one afternoon as they sighted an SUV car parked near a school and two men patrolled the area as if surveying the school and the pupils. A quick alarm brought out the residents and the SUV occupants fled.

The mysterious demolition of Sabo market by unknown person, the kidnap of six pupils of the Model College in Epe, the militant operation in Ishawo, cult activities all over Ikorodu and lately, the ritual killings, ought to make everyone in Ikorodu to be extra vigilant.

Oriwu Sun contacted the Ayagbunre of Ikorodu, Oba Kabir Shotobi on the happenings and the allegation that traditional leaders are the sponsors of these killers and that they are doing nothing to stop the wicked trend.

He denied being involved and said he had personally spent about half a million naira to perform rituals to halt these killings in his domain. He challenged anyone with facts on the sponsors to bring such to the public domain.

It will be recalled that some communities in the division have embarked on their own traditional ways of stopping the Badoo’s from invading their areas.

The time has come to seriously look into the allegation by Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni that the traditional leaders in Ikorodu know about these killings. In the past few weeks, Oriwu Sun has been receiving no less than ten complaints daily making different allegations and proffering different solutions. Some are calling on the review of Oro festival to make it less dreadful, restrictive on people and activities.

Others are urging genuine Muslims, Christians and traditional worshipers to pray more to God to halt these killings and expose those behind it (the benefactors/beneficiaries).

Yet, many are blaming the security agencies for inaction, arguing that if they are sincere, they are capable of investigating and fishing out the perpetrators of these crimes.

This medium will not take sides in the blame game. It is imperative that all hands must be on deck now to redeem the image of Ikorodu by purging the area of these evil elements. Every household, every street and every community must now team up with the government security agencies to fight off this monstrous threat. Until the sponsors and the messengers of these killings are exposed, the spectre will continue to haunt everyone in Ikorodu.

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