In Lagos, cults just won’t halt - 9IJA TALKS

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In Lagos, cults just won’t halt

On Lagos Island, the mention of Falapa sends chills down the spine. Falapa is actually Abdulrazak Kareem, recorded in the books of the Lagos State police command as a suspected killer, cultist and leader of the regular gang wars between the Okepopo and Onola boys in the heart of Lagos. During such wars, the hoodlums snuff out human lives with guns, machetes and axes as artlessly as just slapping a mosquito to death.
Falapa seems a reigning kingpin of cultists in Lagos State where cult gangsterism and the killings, robberies and destructions that attend it have become the norm. An ubiquitous signpost that defines Lagos now is young boys in groups of 4 to 20 of them milling at junctions, uncompleted buildings, alcohol joints and motor parks. Almost always, the boys are high on drugs like marijuana, codeine and tramadol, and eight of 10 occasions, they are wearing guns. And chances are eight of every 10 of the boys will be members of the Eiye or Eye confraternities, the two lead groups in the state.
Between them are the Buccaneers and Vikings cults, whose members are not really as visible as those of the Eiye and Aye. Then, there are the Awawa boys, whose presence and dominance is limited to the Agege area of Lagos. The Awawa boys, mostly teenagers, are not known to be dangerous killers as the Eiye and Aiye hoodlums, whose members the police arrested had confessed to be responsible for many deaths in the state. The Awawa boys are notorious for raping young girls in the Agege area and its environs and looting shops.
Another group in Lagos State is the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), whose leaders enforce toll collections that go beyond road transport so ruthlessly that the line between members and hooligans by the other violent cult groups is so blurred. Most members of the Eiye and Aye cults are actually NURTW enforcers. It is a known fact in the state that many NURTW, Eiye and Aye leaders are strong arms for politicians for jobs as dirty as disrupting voting during elections and pressing the Control D, a term in the underworld for assassinating  (deleting) a political opponent.
Strongholds of cultists in Lagos State include Lagos Island, Ebute-Meta, Bariga, Shomolu, Agege, Mushin, Ajah, Ikorodu, Ijanikin, Iyano-Sashi, Ajegunle, Fadeyi, Isale Eko, Ijesha-Tedo, Ojuelegba, Oshodi, Mile 2, Oto, Ketu, Ijora, Apapa Road, Oworonsoki and Ijegun.
On Lagos Island, it needs no telling to identify them. Right from the descent from the Carter Bridge into the busy Idumota terminus and Balogun market to the inner areas like Onola, Okepopo, Oju’na, Oshodi-Tapa, Adeniji-Adele and Campos, wild-looking, loosely-dressed boys and men, many of them with tattoos, ear-rings and rough hair hang about publicly smoking Indian hemp and holding plastic bottles containing a liquid substance that looks like Coca-Cola, Fanta or even ordinary water. But no, the content is actually a cocktail of psychotropic substances that keep the consumers high all the time.
Most of the boys at Idumota up to the Balogun market are enforcers for Alhaji Azeez Kunle Lawal, famously known in NURTW and cult circles, and indeed, by the police and in the entire state as Kunle Poly. The enforcers collect dues from commercial bus/motorcycle operators and traders and woe betide he or she who fails to pay, and on time, too. Kunle Poly is the NURTW chief on the Lagos Island and is held in awe by the commercial bus/motorcycle operators and traders at Idumota, as well as residents of Lagos Island generally.
An NURTW source told Daily Trust that a zonal boss of the union in the state can go home with as high as N10 million daily from all sorts of tolls and forced dues. With such a prize, it is not uncommon to see violent clashes for leadership which claim lives at motor parks.  Kunle Poly escaped death in one of such clashes at the Idumota terminus on January 21, 2018 this year when gunmen believed to have been sent by rival NURTW bosses rained bullets on his car. It was his personal assistant, Ganiu Ayinla, alias Piero, who copped the bullet and died while Kunle Poly jumped barriers to escape.
Police investigations into the shooting led to the arrest of two men, Adeola Williams, alias Ade Lawyer and John Ibafo. The duo were widely known in Lagos as ruthless, psychopathic killers responsible for many deaths and were feared on the streets. Ade Lawyer, who was reported to have confessed to the police he had killed nothing less than 100 persons, many of them for a former Lagos State chairman of the NURTW, Alhaji Rafiu Akanni Olohunwa. He alleged that it was Olohunwa who gave him the hit job on Kunle Poly’s life. After a few weeks of investigation, the police released Oluhunwa, while the police have been mute on the fate of Ade Lawyer and John Ibafo. But reliable police sources confided in our correspondent there were strong indications the two men had died during interrogation.
In Lagos Island’s Hall of Infamy, there is also Rafiu Bashorun, 48, alias Abija, who was also arrested and charged before an Ebute Meta magistrate court with alleged conspiracy, attempted murder and the murder of Piero. Though the police requested that Abija be remanded in prison custody while the trial lasted, Magistrate Mrs O. Kusanu refused that application, holding that the accused was not the one who pulled the trigger at the deceased.
Kusanu admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum who must be tax payers. Our correspondent watched a video last week of Abija in Ireland with his smiling wife,
On October 16, 2014, the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Joe Igbokwe, in a release, had fingered Abija as being responsible for the murder of an APC Leader, Alhaji Azeez Asake. Igbokwe was furious that the police released Abija, whom he described as the main suspect in the gruesome murder.
On the matter, a national newspaper had reported the arrest by the Lagos State police command, of three suspected political thugs who it said had confessed to committing of five murders during the 2015 general elections.
The suspects were reportedly linked to four deaths that occurred on Sunday, September 21, 2014 when thugs of the APC and PDP engaged in a violent clash. During the arrest, one pump action rifle, one single barrel rifle, four rounds of cartridges, two cutlasses and one axe were said to have been recovered from the suspect.
The report read, “According to the police, the suspects claimed to be working for one Mr Rafiu Abija and had confessed to banditry and killing on the Lagos Island. They also added that there were ongoing efforts to apprehend Abija, their supposed ring leader who is currently at large.”
The report quoted one of the suspects, 21-year-old Kofi Olumede, a Ghanaian, as saying, “We belong to the Abija group. If we count those who have been killed, they are about six. After a political rally in Lagos, some of our boys shot dead Otun, who brought his boys to engage us in a fight. It was one Layi, our gang member, who shot him. On the following day, the APC faction came to Enuwa area to engage us. We killed four of their members. We are loyal to Abija. It was Abija who brought all these guns. Abija had so many boys. I was a meat pie seller before I joined the group on the Lagos Island.”
Another suspect, Adebayo Dipo, was also quoted to have said, “It was only Ashake that we killed. The others died during clashes with our gang. We also lost some of our members during the clashes.”
Besides Kunle Poly and Abija, other feared NURTW bosses on Lagos Island include Mustapha Adekunle, alias Sagoe, Abu Ismaila, alias Abu Stainless; and Michael Kaizer, alias Jagger. A former enforcer for Kunle Poly at Idumota, Alhaji Bawahala, now calls the shots at Oko-Afo, near Badagry.
Killings and NURTW/cultism in Lagos State are siamese twins, so it is not unusual that Sagoe, Abu Stainless and Jagger have a court record of murder charges. The police had dragged them, with some others to court in 2012 for conspiracy and murder of one Damola Dosunmu and another Jamiu Adebara on Lagos Island between October 2005 and February 2012. But, as with all cases in which top NURTW and cult leaders in Lagos State had been involved, nothing punitive came out of the case.
In Oshodi, which boasts of big inter and intra motor parks and markets, all cultists, NURTW enforcers and traders bow before Musiliu Oluomo, hailed widely as MC Oluomo. Oluomo’s power, influence and wealth in Oshodi and environs are legendary. He has working for him with many enforcers who collect tolls from the numerous drivers in the area, and dues from traders.
Like Kunle Poly, MC Oluomo has also had his close shaves with death as rival union leaders and cult leaders made attempts to rub him out and seize his lucrative position as the Oshodi NURTW capo. On May 29, 2017, assassins gunned down Alhaji Aro Rasaq Bello, a close aide of MC Oluomo at Sogunle, near Oshodi. Bello, famously known as Hamburger, was a key member of the Oshodi unit of the NURTW and Chairman, Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State. He was shot dead during a councillorship primary of the APC at Shogunle-Oshodi.
In Fadeyi area, near Yaba, enforcers can be seen at the bus stop on the Ikorodu Road collecting from commercial bus drivers dues they call “Owo Fadeyi”. A driver dares not pay immediately he is stopped, or an enforcer will smash his windscreen or even beat him. The Onipanu police station is just about 50 metres away from the Fadeyi den of the cultists and enforcers but the illegalities the boys perpetrate go on unhindered.
This illegal due is mainly for the cult leaders in the area, different from what goes to the state and zonal chapters of the NURTW. The area is controlled by Femi Jpron, the precursor of Ibrahim Balogun, alias Small Jpron, who his fellow cultists killed on October 17, 2018 in the Obanikoro-Palm Grove area of the state. At Fadeyi, the hoodlums, apart from collecting dues from drivers, spill to the streets at will, at least once a month, smashing vehicle windscreens, and robbing shops and homes.
Apart from Femi Jpron, there is also a cult leader at Fadeyi called Amala. Daily Trust learnt Amala collects the sum of N250,000 every month from owners of some petrol stations in the Fadeyi area to offer them protection from the Fadeyi hoodlums and armed robbers.
In Akala and Idioro areas of Mushin, there is always present a group of cultists selling and taking dangerous drugs. The NURTW and cult lord of the area is known as Toba Ajiboye, Chairman of the NURTW unit in Mushin widely known in cult circles in Lagos simply as Toba. He has always been a guest of the police many times over criminal activities but, like others of his ilk, remains as free as air.
Even young girls have been identified as actively engaged in the killing pastime in Lagos. This year, the Lagos police command arrested a 20-year-old cultist, Maryam Abiola, who confessed to killing, at least, four persons.
Abiola, a member of the Eiye confraternity, who was even laughing while chatting with newsmen, said she always wore her flowing robe whenever she wanted to kill for the cult group. “I do help the cult group to kill people. I just killed four persons for them. I kill with a gun because Sodiq’s group used to give me a gun when I was going for any mission. They taught me how to shoot the gun. They do give me N10,000 for each killing mission I carried out for them. After the killing, I will go away from the place into hiding for some time.”
The Shomolu-Bariga area of the state may currently be enjoying relative peace after the killing of the dreaded Ibrahim Balogun on October 17, 2018 but cult practices are far from over there. Before his fellow cultists killed him, Balogun was widely regarded as the invincible leader of the Eye confraternity in the area. Despite confessing to ruthlessly killing many people, Balogun was always released each time the police arrested him.
“I had a lot of boys working for me. I have killed three persons, among whom were Femi Wiper and Lekan Akon. I cut them with knives. I shot some other victims,” he had said.
Role of parents in cultism
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, identified poor parenting for the proliferation of cult groups in Lagos. In one chat with journalists, Edgal had said, “Some of the children we arrested for cultism were between the ages of 15 and 20. Tell me how a child of 15 will leave the parent’s house at unholy hours without their parents’ knowledge.
“I want to appeal to parents to understand that our children are the future hope of our country. If we allow them to miss it, we will have no hope and no future leaders to take over from us. What legacy are we leaving behind for our children?”
Confessions by cultists
Cultists Nasiru Bashiru, Kenneth Dike and Power Michael of the Black Axe confraternity (also known as Aiye) killed hacked one Walter to death at the entrance of a popular hotel at Iyano-Sashi on July 21, 2018.
The suspects confessed to killing 11 persons and injuring scores in the Ajegunle, Magbon and Ijanikin areas of Lagos.
Bashiru, 30, said; “as a trailer driver, I was always beaten up by some cultists and my money taken from me. Those boys used to extort me and called me a jew, meaning I was a nobody. When a member of our group, Destiny, was killed by members of Eiye confraternity, I was part of the group that retaliated. We killed three members of Eye at Magbon area.
“I held one of our victims as we shot all of them. They died on the spot before we left. After those killings, I ran to Ghana and learned internet fraud. When I returned to Nigeria, I also carried out three more killings.
“But on the night Walter was killed, I was at the hotel. I tried to warn him that members of our cult were laying ambush for him, but he did not listen. Walter was a member of Vikings cult and had killed several Black Axe members in the past.”
Another cultist, Power, 28, said; “I joined Aye while in university. But I was expelled from the school over cult-related activities. When I came back home, I regrouped with members of my confraternity in Ojo and have carried out five different killings. My first mission was at the Oko-Afo area of Badagry. I do not know the name of the person because I was invited to do the job. The second person was at Ijanikin, known as Badmos. He was a member of a rival cult group and I was assigned to kill him.
“The third person was at the Kasidi area of Okokomiko. I was also invited to kill him. The fourth person I killed was one Asumo living in my area at Ketu. Asumo was a member of a rival cult group and had once attempted to kill me. The last person I killed was one Yusuf, who was also a friend to Asumo. After they attacked me, Yusuf ran to Ibadan to hide. I trailed him to Ibadan and I killed him. I didn’t take part in the killing of Walter, but I knew that he was going to be killed.
“Walter was the head of Arobaga, also known as Vikings operating at the Alaba International Market. He killed one Theophilus two months ago who was a member of our group. The killing made us declare war against Arobaga.
“When he came to that hotel, which is in our area, I went to him and warned him to leave because there was a plan to kill him. He also bought me a bottle of beer. But he was killed by one Bobo and some others whose name I don’t know. If Walter had listened to me he wouldn’t have been killed.”

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