Ogun Cult War- The Way Out By Adekunle Ayoola

The ongoing cult war in Ogun State has caused a lot of havoc on lives and properties amongst residents of some part of the state. Cases of Cult clashes has disrupted the peaceful coexistence among the people and without an aggressive intervention of the state government, more lives and properties would be lost.

Ogun, the once peaceful state, has turned into the epicenter of insecurity with cultism, kidnapping and ritual killings topping the chart. Hardly a day would pass without a report of crime from the Gateway State. Crimes ranging from ritual killing, kidnapping, rape, highway robbery, internet crimes, murder and cultism, have put the state on the edge.

On April 1, 2021, Governor Dapo Abiodun inaugurated the state security outfit, the Amotekun Corps, as part of efforts to stem the tide of insecurity in the state. And in January this year, he re-launched the state joint security outfit, code-named  OP-MESA, where he threatened to make Ogun “inhabitable for all criminals.” Also in February, Abiodun signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, in Abeokuta, where he declared that criminals were after his life because “I am making life unbearable for them”. The governor had also donated 55 patrol vehicles and equipment to the police. The governor presented the vehicles and other equipment to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, in Abeokuta, last year. The equipment are: 200 bullet proof vests, 20 helmets and communication gadgets.

However, criminals appeared to have defied the governor’s rhetoric and security measures put in place, by consistently disrupting the peace in the state. Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu and other metropolises are gradually becoming ‘battlefields’ where cultists carry out their nefarious activities with no holds barred. This is contrary to days when cultists carried out their deadly clashes at night.

On a Tuesday in November last year, a group of cultists chased a victim on a motorcycle until he was hacked to death at the popular Kuto in Abeokuta around 2:30pm. Some of the hoodlums got hold of the victim at the Kuto junction while navigating the garage route and matcheted him on the head, leading to pandemonium in the area. Some traders, okada riders and cab drivers reportedly scampered for safety, just as the suspected cultists were said to have hopped on their bikes and disappeared into thin air. That same day, another young man, simply identified as Alagbole, was killed by the same gang at Elite road, Abeokuta, in the full glare of traders and passers-by. The cultists threw a section of Abeokuta into confusion by parading the metropolis on about three motorcycles with weapons without any regard for security agents.

Investigations revealed that no fewer than 64 persons were killed in various clashes between cult groups in different parts of the state between 2019 and 2022. In December 2020, about 20 people were killed in bloody clashes between two rival cultists groups in some parts of Ijebu – Ode in Ogun State.

According to the Police, of 2,735 suspects arrested between July and December 2020 in the state, 227 are “cultists.” In the latest onslaught, 16 people have been killed. The cult war claimed the lives of Tommy, the popular ‘area boy’ and about seven others in Abeokuta.

Meanwhile,  Governor Abiodun had ordered the State Commissioner of Police, Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade and the Director, State Security Service (DSS) to relocate their operations to Sagamu and fish out those involved in the recent cult activities in the town.

Abiodun, in a statement, said: “Our youths must resist the temptation to go into cultism and similar vices. This administration has invested heavily in programmes and activities designed to equip our youths with the necessary skills and education that could make their future better, as part of our Building Our Future Together agenda. They should not endanger that future by getting involved in crime. “Parents and guardians must also ensure that their children and wards stay away from criminality,” the governor said.

The State government has to work hand in hand with security operatives and bring a lasting solution to this menace. The security  of every locality promotes progress and also attracts foreign investors. The state government should create more jobs and empower the youth so as to reduce the high rate of crime in the state. The commissioner for Youth and Sport should be tasked with the responsibility of maintaining peace and tranquility amongst the Youth, their enablers should also be tracked and made to face the wrath of the law.

Adekunle AYOOLA

Ijebu Ode , Concerned Father

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