By The Punch
One of the five Badoo cult suspects paraded on Thursday at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja, 18-year-old Chibuzor Igwe, says he was tricked into joining Badoo cult.
Igwe explained that he had approached one of the alleged leaders of the cult, Obamoyegun Omotayo, for a driving job, but was lured into the gang.
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Chibuzor said, “I am a Badoo member. Around November, I told Obamoyegun (Omotayo) that I wanted to be his driver because I saw him with new cars. He told me that it would take some time before he would give me the job. During that time, he called me….”
But what could have been a full-blown revelation from the teenager, who has injuries on his hands, was aborted by the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, who stopped the interview and ordered that Chibuzor and the other suspects be taken away.
Imohimi claimed that the suspects’ confession would jeopardise police investigations and efforts to arrest other members of the gang.
Earlier, while briefing journalists on the arrests, the CP identified other Badoo suspects as Chibuzor’s elder brother, Uche Igwe; a welder, Samuel Akaeze, aka Samito; his wife, Gift Akaeze; and a herbalist, Fatai Adebayo, aka Adaripon.
According to Imohimi, Gift provides information on the targets whom the assailants consequently attack.
He said Chibuzor was apprehended while he wanted to escape from Alabo Street, Abule Osorun, Ibeshe, Ikorodu, where the gang smashed the heads of a couple and their five-month-old baby on December 30, 2017.
Imohimi explained that Chibuzor, Samuel and Omotayo carried out the attack, adding that by the time a joint team of policemen and a vigilance group responded to a distress call, Samuel and Omotayo had fled.
He said, “The gang of three murderers comprises Chibuzor Igwe, Samuel Akaeze, aka Samito and Obamoyegun Omotayo. Omotayo usually sprays a powdery substance into victims’ dwelling places that would make them to fall into deep sleep before they end their lives by smashing their skulls with grinding stones.
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“Omotayo, having satisfied that the victims are dead, will use white handkerchiefs to mop their blood for ritual purposes. However, luck ran out on them when one of the victims raised the alarm which attracted the local vigilance group. The group in turn alerted the police in that area and the compound was cordoned off, leading to the arrest of Chibuzor Igwe at the scene.
“Also arrested is one Gift Akaeze, wife of Samuel, who provides information about where to strike for the group.”
Imohimi said Chibuzor confessed to being a member of the ritual gang and gave the police information that led to the arrest of Samuel and Omotayo.
He said a bloodstained grinding stone, suspected to have been used by the suspects, had been taken to a laboratory for forensic analysis.
“Recall that during my last press briefing on December 11, 2017, I mentioned that a blue Nokia Asha phone belonging to the murdered pastor of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Ikorodu, Victor Kanayo, who was killed on November 25, 2017, was recovered from Uche Igwe. He confessed that his younger brother, Chibuzor Igwe, gave him the phone.
“The said Chibuzor was the one arrested on Alajo Street, where he and his gang members murdered Shakiru Yekini and inflicted grievous bodily harm on his wife and six-month-old baby,” he added.
The CP stated further that Chibuzor told the police that Omotayo usually took them to Adebayo, the herbalist, in Imosan-Ijebu, Ogun State, where he (Adebayo) administered oaths on them in his shrine before they went on operations.
He said the herbalist also fortified them with charms and blessed the grinding stones with which they smashed people’s skulls.
Imohimi said the command would not relent until all members of the gang were rounded up, adding that the suspected kingpin, Alhaji Abayomi Alaka, remained wanted by the police.
He said, “I am aware that some sections of the press have opened communication with him. In his own interest, he should report at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, to answer the charges against him. He will have his day in court.
“I don’t place bounties on criminals. I have asked him to report. He has been declared wanted. If he believes he is innocent, wherever he is, he should report to the police. They will bring him to the right place to answer the charges against him. The police in Nigeria are one.”
Alaka, in a telephone interview with PUNCH Metro on Wednesday, had said he was ready to submit himself to the police for investigation.
He, however, insisted that he would not go to the Lagos State Police Command, alleging that investigations under Imohimi’s supervision would be compromised.
Our correspondent, who visited Alaka’s residence on PSSDC Road, Magodo GRA Phase II, on Thursday, saw four men at the frontage, chatting.
When asked about his whereabouts, his security guard said he had travelled out of Lagos.
The guard, Usman Zibo, said, “He travelled this morning (Thursday). A wanted notice was pasted at the entrance gate of the Magodo GRA Phase II, but nothing was pasted here. No policeman has come to ask for him from me.”