About 150 suspected cultists and robbers have been paraded by the operatives of the Ogun State Police Command for allegedly sacking about 12 communities in Ogun and Lagos States.
Their arrest and parade of the suspects came on the heels of complaints and distress calls lodged at the police command headquarters in Ogun by residents and landlords from two local government areas of Ifo and Ado-Odo/Ota local government areas.
The victims had complained of robberies and unrest as a result of cult activities in Owode, Ilepa, Ifo, Arigbajo, Itori, Dalemo, Ijoko, Joju, Sango, Ota in Ifo, Agbado-Ijaiye and others in Ifo and Ado-Odo/Ota local government areas of Ogun State.
The commissioner of police, Kenneth Ebrimson, who conducted journalists round the troubled areas yesterday, after the parade of the suspects at Ifo Divisional Police Station, refuted the media reports that armed robbers had taken over some parts of Ifo and Ado-Odo/Ota local councils.
The CP said that there was no report of robbery to the command by anyone in the troubled areas, stressing that what happened in the area were cases of cult clashes among seven rival groups resulting in the killing of one of them.
Ebrimson said that upon the information about the clashes, the command swung into action and made some arrests.
He added that the command deployed men from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Anti-Cultism Unit, Anti-Kidnapping Unit, Special Forces and conventional policemen who were drawn from the area command in Ifo and Ota to the troubled areas.
Ebrimson explained that his men smoked the suspected criminals out of their hideouts and recovered various weapons from them.
According to him, eight locally-made guns, 52 live cartridges, eight knives, 12 handsets, two scissors, large quantity of weeds, several cutlasses, one axe and saw, were recovered from them.
The Police boss said that the unrest was caused by seven cult groups which included the “Ilena Boys”, “Federal Boys”, “Lemon Boys”, “Base Boys”, “Sahara Boys”, “Gbese Boys”, and “Marindoti Boys”.
He said: “The genesis of this was from some criminal gangs that engaged in supremacy battle in Ifo and spread to Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of the state.
“It started on April 4 and the command’s tactical operation arrested some hoodlums and seized ammunition. I want to say that there was no single case of armed robbery, no case of kidnapping has been reported. Nobody has been killed.
“The basic issue is cultism that emanated from the killing of one of them in Ifo and spread to Sango, Ijoko and Agbado,” he said.