LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Two people identified as Kamoru Lasisi, a student of Lagos State University and Lateef Atanda, a tiler, have died as a result of a clash among members of the Aiye and the Eiye fraternities at Ijanikin in the Lagos State local Government Aea of Ojo.
Members of the cult groups have been engaging one another in a series of clashes for over two months, creating tension in the community, Punch reports.
It was gathered that, during the clashes, the cultists usually engage themselves with weapons including guns, cutlasses, machetes, among others, and create strongholds that threaten the lives and properties of residents and business owners plying their trades in the community.
Speaking with journalists, a resident in the area, who pleaded anonymity for security reasons, said aside from the cultists killing one another, the threats induced by their activities have increased to a level of killing innocent members of the community.
The resident said: “The cultists’ attacks in my area are a major concern; initially, they usually go after one another, but now, what they do is go after people that are not cultists in the community. The clashes involve members of the Aiye and Eiye cult groups and each of the groups has a territory in the community that they control.
“In Ijanikin, Aiye cultists are in charge of Alasia down to Adio, Ayetoro, and Ketu areas, but Oto, Cele and Ile Oba Bus Stops, and some parts of Adio are controlled by the Eiye cult groups. Two weeks ago, Aiye cultists stormed the Cele Bus Stop area and shot a 400-level undergraduate of LASU, Kamoru Lasisi. He was shot dead in front of his father’s house despite not being a cultist.
“About two months ago, around 7.50pm, Aiye cultists came to the territory of Eiye cultists to attack a rival and did not meet their target. What they did next was to attack and kill an innocent boy, Lateef Atanda, who just finished writing his WAEC and does tiling business.
“The boy was shot dead on Ago-Idosa Street, Vespa Bus Stop, in the presence of his father, who was pleading with the cultists not to kill him. He was not a cultist and people in the area testified to it. There is always a reprisal for these attacks and it causes unconfirmed killings in the community.”
Another resident, while lamenting the development, said the cultists usually assume that anyone found around their targets were cultists and go after them when they could not get their main targets.
The resident said: “The Aiye and Eiye cultists are hunting one another in the community, and when they are doing so, whoever they see with their targets, they don’t bother to do any fact findings to know if the person is a cultist or not, they just attack and kill the person.
“They operate with guns and other weapons. People are afraid in the Ijanikin community. The painful thing is that we know these cultists in the community as they are not strangers. So, whenever people see them appear in the community, they start running for their lives because they know that an attack can happen at any time.
“Initially, we usually face the cultists to chase them away but we stopped as we don’t have the necessary support. The cultists know the policemen at Ijanikin Police Station and get the information whenever they are coming for a raid and flee the community. We want the police command to bring in external policemen to work with us to do an underground operation to arrest these cultists as we are willing to lead them to their hideouts in Ijanikin.”
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, when contacted, decried the threatening activities of the groups involved.
He said: “The Commissioner of Police, upon assumption of duty in Lagos State, identified cultism as a major problem in the state which informed his decision to decentralize tactical unit by deploying the unit out of the state command and stationed at different parts of the state including Badagry which covers Ijankin and they have started work.
“We are aware that cultism is on the high side in Ijanikin but in the coming days or weeks, there should be a sharp decline in the activities of cultists in that area.”