Operatives of the police units from the Lagos Police Command stormed Ayegbami Quarters, Imosan-Ijebu, Ogun State, on Tuesday, and arrested a herbalist allegedly behind Badoo attacks, Fatai Adebayo.
The team, which included men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Rapid Response Squad and Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, was led by the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi.
Panic-stricken residents watched as the police laid siege to Adebayo’s shrine enclosed in a wooden structure.
According to the police, Badoo members usually meet at the shrine to swear an oath of secrecy before going on deadly operations in the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
Within the shrine, our correspondent observed ritual paraphernalia, including grinding stones, small gourds, rosaries, and bottles of different sizes housing ground substances.
Imohimi told journalists that one of the Badoosuspects arrested last week mentioned Adebayo as an accomplice and led the team to the shrine. He said the unnamed kingpin of the group had also been arrested.
He said, “Over the weekend, we had far-reaching achievements in the fight against these killers in Ikorodu, who some people call Badoo. The head of the group has been arrested. We arrested him on waterways as he was escaping. All the suspects are with us.
“One of them confessed that before they go for any killing, the head of the group would take them to the herbalist to swear an oath and get the stones they use for their killings. According to him, they don’t go for any killing without taking the oaths in the shrine. The herbalist is an accomplice.
“I can assure the people of Ikorodu and Lagosians at large that we will not rest until this evil is completely rooted out of Lagos State.”
However, Imohimi stopped reporters from interviewing Adebayo, saying it would be allowed during a press briefing on Thursday.
In a dramatic turn of events, the suspect flashed a smile as he was asked to hold one of the grinding stones recovered from the shrine.
He protested that he was not involved in ritual killings, saying, “I don’t understand English, but the stones are used for grinding peppers and herbs.”
His wife and mother burst into tears as the herbalist was taken away by the police
The mother, Toyin Ogunyemi, who spoke to PUNCH Metro in Yoruba, said, “He (Adebayo) is my first child. He is a herbalist. He is not a thief and he does not kill. He prepares charms for ailing people, those seeking jobs and traders. He uses the stones to grind herbs for his customers. His wife also helps him to grind.”
Another mild drama unfolded when the CP, Imohimi, visited the Imosan traditional ruler, Chief Tajudeen Muili, to inform him of Adebayo’s arrest.
Muili, the Ija Oloko of Imosan, said he frowned on crime.
However, when he requested that he be allowed to speak to the suspect on the alleged offence that he was arrested for, Imohimi cleverly turned down the request, saying investigations were ongoing.
He collected the monarch’s phone number and promised to update him as the investigations progressed.
The team consequently returned to Adebayo’s residence and destroyed the shrine.
It will be recalled that Badoo had been unleashing terror on residents of Ikorodu and environs, wiping out families.
The activities of the gang were curtailed a few months ago while peace returned to the troubled communities.
However, the gang renewed its attacks recently in communities around Ikorodu.
In one of the recent strikes, the ritual cult killed a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Fingers of God Parish, Victor Kanayo, in the Igbogbo area of Ikorodu.
Kanayo’s wife and child were said to be unconscious and were admitted to the Ikorodu General Hospital.
On December 22, PUNCH Metro also reported that the assailants attacked a family in Itesiwaju Community Development Area, Ibeshe, Ikorodu, killing a man, his son and sister-in-law and injuring his wife.
The latest attack happened on December 30, on Alajo Street, Abule Osorun, Ibeshe, where the gang smashed the heads of a couple and injured their five-month-old baby.
The husband, Sakiru Yekini, popularly known as Shako, gave up the ghost the following day at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, while his wife and the baby are still undergoing treatment. Read more on Punch