CITIZENS COMPASS —Eight persons have been sent to their early graves while nine others were arrested during a clash by two rival cultists in Sagamu, Ogun State.
Ogun State Police Command in collaboration with the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), on Sunday, September 17, 2023, arrested the suspects in connection with the clash.
Speaking at a news conference in Abeokuta, on Monday, the State’s Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, said the remote cause of the clashes was a land transaction that took place in the town.
He said a land was sold and some form of commission or settlement was paid to a cult group by the owner of the land.
“”A rival cult group got to know about the payment and went after members of the other group in a bid to get a share of the commission.
“The situation degenerated into an attack and counter attack situation which started from Wednesday and continued till Sunday, leading to the death of 8 persons,” Alamutu said.
The police boss revealed the arrest of some of the kingpins of the rival cult groups.
He stated that nine suspects had been arrested with evidence of their involvement in the killings.
He added that two guns and some rounds of cartridges with evidence that they were recently fired, were recovered from the suspects.
Investigation, according to the Police boss, is still ongoing into the killings.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Local Government Area, Jubril Odulate, has imposed a restriction on the use of motorcycles in the area between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. daily as authorities battle to restore peace to the troubled town.
Earlier, Spokesperson of the Command, Omolola Odutola in a statement on Monday,, said the arrest was made during a successful raid by the security operatives.
She said some of the arrested suspects were Asaiye Omolaja, Azeez Nofiu, Mathew Adewale, and Bolaji Ogunkemaya.
Omolola said this wss sequel to a report of a clash between two rival cult groups, Aiye and Eiye, resulting in the death of four individuals at Ewu Iya Sunday in Sakura.
According to the spokesperson, “On September 17th, 2023, the Ogun State Police Command in Sagamu conducted a successful raid led by ACP Shehu Alao in collaboration with the VGN (Vigilante Group of Nigeria).
” This operation was carried out in response to a report of a clash between two rival cult groups, namely Aiye and Eiye, resulting in the death of four individuals at Ewu Iya Sunday in Sakura.
” Upon receiving the information, the Area Commander swiftly mobilized more personnel to the scene in order to prevent the clash from escalating and to apprehend the cultists involved.
” As a result, seven suspected cultists were arrested, and further investigations led to the recovery of a firearm, three live cartridges, and a criminal charm.
” The individuals apprehended were Asaiye Omolaja, Azeez Nofiu, Mathew Adewale, and Bolaji Ogunkemaya. It is worth noting that Bolaji Ogunkemaya was found with the four deceased persons in the same room where the killings occurred. One individual, Wasiu, managed to escape before the authorities arrived.
“During the raid, Bolaji Ogunkemaya provided critical information, stating that their leader, known as Azubuike aka BETTER, had been arrested by the Area Commander a fortnight ago. This information underscores the commitment of the police to dismantle these criminal networks.
“To address the alarming rise in cult-related violence, the Commissioner of Police, CP Alamutu Abiodun, personally visited Sagamu on September 18 to assess the situation firsthand and profile all the suspects apprehended. CP Mustapha sternly warns all cultists in Ogun State that their activities will no longer be tolerated.
“He has declared a zero-tolerance policy towards senseless killings and vows that none of these cultists will go unpunished.
” With the restoration of normalcy in Sagamu and the diligent efforts of law enforcement agencies, it is evident that the authorities are committed to maintaining peace and security in Ogun State.”
Government imposes curfew
Meanwhile, the Ogun State government has announced restriction of movement from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m daily in Sagamu in wake of the ceaseless clashes by rival cult groups.
The government, therefore, urged residents of the town to abide by the restriction order pending the time the security of the area will improve, as police and other security agencies are on top of the situation to restore normalcy.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Lekan Adeniran, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Abeokuta.
The statement assured residents of the town of their security and property.
“This is to notify residents of Sagamu and its environs of total restriction of human and vehicular movement as a way of taking firm control of the security architecture of the area and protect the lives of the people and their property.
“We, therefore, implore the residents of the area to abide strictly by this restriction order and cooperate with security agencies to restore normalcy and bring perpetrators of these dastardly acts to book immediately,” the statement read.
About 20 youths were reportedly killed in the cult war between Friday and Sunday, but the Police in the state confirmed eight deaths.