New Telegraph

2023, the Year Criminals Held Ogun to Ransom

Cult War Claims 50 Lives

Ritualists on Killing Spree

The year 2023 would be remembered by many residents of Ogun State as the year criminals and men of the underworld held the State in “captive”. Criminal activities such as armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism, ritual killing, highway robbery and sexual offenses, among others rose to the highest crescendo during the year. 2023 would be remembered as the year cultists held sway, armed robbers reigned with terror, ritualists went on killing spree and kidnappers became the king of highways.

Hardly did a week go by without Ogun State being in the news for one form of criminal activity or the other. The state also recorded one of the most violent elections in its history during the March 18 Governorship election. The election was characterised by killings, gunshots, ballot box snatching, vote buying and arson.

Bizarre murder of family of three

The most shocking of the crimes committed in the year was the gruesome murder of an entire family at their residence in Abeokuta, the State capital on January 1st. The entire family of three – Kehinde Fatinoye (the father), Bukola Fatinoye (the wife) and Oreoluwa Fatinoye (the son) were completely wiped out from the surface of the earth. Kehinde Fatinoye, 56, Bukola Fati- noye, 50 and Oreoluwa Fatinoye, 25 met their untimely death in the hands of their assailants in their home, located within the Ibara Government Reservation Area (GRA) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The couple was reportedly hacked to death and their corpses set ablaze while their son and one other, an adopted son were abducted and later thrown into the Ogun river along Adigbe – Obada road in Abeokuta. The husband was a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while the wife was said to be a confidential secretary at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNNAB). Prior to their death, the couple had earlier last year lost one of their sons. The family who were yet to recover from the death of their younger son have now been completely wiped out of surface of the earth.

Lekan Adekanbi, the driver of the couple was later arrested by the police as mastermind of the killing. Adekanbi, who had been the couple’s driver since 2010 explained that he killed the family because the couple denied his request for salary increment. Narrating how he carried out the gruesome murder, Adekanbi said he invited two others, Ahmed Odetola a.k.a Akamo, and Waheed Adeniyi a.k.a Koffi to join him in robbing the couple. Explaining how the deadly act was carried out, Adekanbi siad he and his two accomplices waited for the couple to come back from crossover service since he had access to the house and they pounced on them immediately after they entered the house.

Ritual killers on the rampage

Suspected ritualists in their reign of terror during the year put the state on the edge with their and criminal activities. Missing persons, human parts trading and exhuming of corpses from their graves were common stories that emanated from the state during this year. Many families, especially that of victims were been thrown into untold anguish through the wicked acts of these men of the underworld. According to available data, no fewer than 15 cases ritual killings were recorded in different parts of the State in 2023.

Most recent is the killing of an 100 level student of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Quadri Salami for money ritual by an herbalist, Ifadowo Niyi and Akeem Usman. The duo of Akeem and Ifadowo allegedly slaughtered 18-year-old Salami and dismembered his body parts and buried his remains in a shallow grave. According to the police, “Ifadowo went away with Quadri’s head and his two wrists after paying the sum of N100,00 into Akeem Usman’s account as proceeds from the sale of the human body parts.

“The suspects thereafter continued to sell the victim’s other body parts on demand to Internet fraudsters and buried the heart, two legs, and flesh inside a plastic rubber for rituals and used the remaining parts for ‘Awure’ (money ritual).” In November, the corpse of a 12-year-old boy, John Soyinka was discovered in Abeokuta after being murdered by suspected ritualists. The corpse of the boy was discovered at Kotogbo community inside Asero Estate, Abeokuta with his eyes removed while his wrists were also cut off.

Soyinka, who was living with her mother was declared missing for about a week before his corpse was later discovered. Ritualists in their reign of terror did not spare the dead. Early this year, suspected ritualists went on the rampage, invading burial grounds and exhuming corpses. Our correspondent gathered that, no fewer than 50 graves were dug and corpses exhumed by the perpetrators who chopped off their heads for ritual purposes. The incident occurred in Ipokia community, the headquarters of Ipokia Local Government Area of the State.

The incident went on unabated for almost three months with the perpetrators operating in the cover of the night. While residents were asleep, the hood- lums stormed graveyards and in many cases, compounds where people buried their loved ones to carry out their heinous crimes. “They (suspected ritualists) sneak into people’s compounds, dig the grave and remove the skull and any other parts they need. They will do it in a manner residents won’t wake up to know there is anything going on around them.

“You will just wake up in the morning to see that the grave in your compound has been dug and the skull removed. But nobody has been arrested since two months ago when this aberration started”, a resident told our correspondent. “This crime is being committed every day in the town where we have DSS, police and other security outfits. No one has been arrested. Definitely, the perpetrators of this crime are indigenes, they are not strangers, another resident, Ade Ashade said.

Cult war claims 50 lives

Residents of the state lived in fear and danger following renewed cult clash between members of the Eiye and Aiye confraternity groups. Members of the cult groups went on killing spree turning the state into a battle field and unleashing terror on residents. Like targets on the battlefield, members of the cult group hunt one another down, killing with impunity in show of supremacy. Most worrisome is the fact that, the cultists no longer choose the cover of the night to carry out their attacks as most of the recent attacks were carried in broad daylight. In July, suspected cultists engaged operatives of the State Police Command in a gun battle in broad daylight in Ijaye area of Abeokuta, the state capital.

Investigation by New Telegraph revealed that, no fewer than 50 persons lost their lives in various cult clashes across the state. In March, 16 persons were reported dead, while six were killed in April, five persons were killed in May and three died in November. The month of September saw the highest cult killing in the State with 20 persons, including five students of secondary school dying in a cult clash that lasted for almost a week in Sagamu area of the state. Governor Dapo Abiodun expressed shock at the incessant cult killings going on in the state. Governor Abiodun identified cultism as the biggest security challenge in the state.

He noted that, it was worrisome that cultism has now become prevalent, wondering what has suddenly gone wrong with primary school children, vulcanizers, welders, artisans, undergraduates, and graduates all getting involved in cultism. “In the last few weeks, some of the things that we’ve experienced in Ogun State, which I am not sure you have experienced in your various states, are the issues of cultism. “Why are they killing each other, is there something they are earning, is there some kind of reward? What is the incentive? I think these are posers and questions for you to look into. We cannot be focused on the symptom.

Let’s try and drill down to find out what exactly is the root cause. Perhaps, if we do that, we can nip it in the bud. Then, we can begin to see a reduction in this incidences,” the Governor said.

2023, challenging year for police – CP

The State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, admitted that 2023 had been a challenging year for the police following the wave of crime across the state. Alamutu in an interview with Saturday Telegraph says the police will engage members of the public in more advocacy and enlightenment to combat crime in the coming year. However, despite the security challenges across the state, Alamutu insisted that Ogun State remained one of the safest states in the country.

Alamutu said: “It has been a challenging year because of wave of crime across the country but I still insist based on available records that Ogun State remains one of the safest States in the country as at today. “We have our own peculiar challenges and we are trying to level up, we are trying to be at least a step ahead of them (criminals). “But, the most disturbing trend now is the issue of ritual killings which by its nature is never done in the open except through credible intelligence before the act is committed and we are trying to catch up with them, but unfortunately, the trend has continue to rise.

“In the coming year, we are going to concentrate more on advocacy, so that people will be aware of the fact that there is really nothing like money ritual. You cannot make money by killing people, it is an aged-long myth that has been proved to be a total fallacy. “Our efforts in the coming year will be more on sensitisation of members of the public and for parents to be conscious of the category of persons their kids relate with because the trend is becoming disturbing, but we are not going to fold our hands in despair, we will continue to hit them hard and place more emphasis on advocacy, all that people will be conscious of fact that it is a total myth and it is never a reality.

“Cultism too is actually a serious men- ace and you can recollect the terrible experience we had in Sagamu and some other places, but the truth is that on daily basis we keep arresting these people. ‘I think the way forward is to make a stiffer punishment for these people and I am happy the government is looking towards that direction too because cultism is fast becoming a pass time and everybody wants to belong to one cult group or the other. “The most disturbing part of it is that most of these people are either students or artisans, they are just out to take advantage innocent and law abiding citizens, but we are on top of the situation.

“The youths must know that involving in cultism is like delving into a dangerous voyage, nothing good can come out of it. “Amnesty for cultists is a consistent pro- gramme. People are coming out on their own because we cannot grant everybody amnesty. If anyone has genuine interest in renouncing cultism, such person would have come before he is arrested. We are being careful about granting amnesty to cultists because some people will want to use that as a way of evading prosecution.”

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