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Badoo: Survivors narrate close shave with death

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Badoo: Survivors narrate close shave with death

Badoo ritual killings started at Ibeshe, Ikorodu, Lagos State on June 12, 2016. This was after a suspect was arrested and his name given as ‘Badoo.’ Residents of Ikorodu claimed that after every attack, the group would write and paste on walls, “I am Badoo.” Some claimed that the writings were done in blood. The group members were perceived to be invisible. The Badoo killer group spread panic through Lagos State, sending shivers down the spines of even the bravest.

The Badoo groups are believed to be ritual killers. It is also believed that the ritual killings are carried out to catapult the killers into sudden wealth. The groups mainly operated in Ikorodu, but in 2017, they moved closer to Mile 12 and Ketu. Their modus operandi was to attack and wipe out a whole family. Before they operate, the men would bathe their bodies with engine oil.

They were also alleged to have a signature tool of grinding stone and white handkerchief. They have been known to rip out babies from wombs of pregnant women. Most often than not, they raped their female victims. Female survivors claimed that after raping them, the Badoo members would use the white handkerchiefs to wipe clean their private parts.

These handkerchiefs are carefully kept. They are also known for smashing heads of their victims with the grinding stone. They target families that live in isolated areas and also seem to have a particular fondness for infiltrating churches to attack people. Traditional rulers and their cohorts had been accused of being the hidden faces of Badoo groups. In 2017, Badoo killings became too many. Residents took the matter into their hands and formed local vigilance groups.

These vigilance groups embarked on jungle justice; in the process murdering innocent people, until the Lagos State government had to step in to stop the killings. Perturbed, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode paid a visit to Ikorodu, where he addressed traditional rulers and members of the communities. He urged them to work with security agents so that the Badoo group could be stopped. A Joint Task Force, comprising police, soldiers, traditional rulers and Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) was created.

The year also ushered into the Lagos State Police Command, a new Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal. It is believed that Edgal was specially brought in to stem the escalating tide of the Badoo group activities. Immediately he assumed office, Edgal embarked on destruction of some shrines, believed to be some of the operational centres of Badoo.

The destruction of shrines, arrests and declaration of some rich and influential men wanted in connection with Badoo killings, appeared to have done the trick, where many methodologies had failed. The killings abruptly stopped. Our correspondent, however, visited some of the communities, which the Badoo group targeted and unleashed horror.

It was discovered that the communities and residents may never be the same again. Fear and suspicion still pervade the communities. Many residents lived on the edge, fearful that the group might regrouped and start the ritual killings again. Others, who allowed their fears to spin out of control, bolted from the communities.

Pastor Rotimi Ajidara, the shepherd in charge of a Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Ayomi Parish, located at Owode Onirin area of Lagos State, where some suspected Badoo group members killed worshippers who came for vigil on July 4, 2017, said that since the incident, his church had crashed. Ajidara, sad, said that he still vividly recollected the incident like it was yesterday. He said: “I was not in church on that fateful day when the killers struck. We were already through with our vigil for that day. I left the church after the all an all-night vigil service.

The woman and her daughter that were killed were on seclusion when the Badoo group struck. “I heard that the killers scaled the church’s fence, and gained access into the premises. I was sleeping when I received a phone call. Before I reached the church, a crowd had gathered, already mourning the victims. That day was a very dark one in my life.

I will never forget in a hurry how the woman and her daughter were killed. Unfortunately, after the Badoo killers had left my church, they went to another church, adjacent to mine, to strike.” Ajidara said that immediately the suspects left his church, they went to a Cherubim and Seraphim Church adjacent his church; fortunately they didn’t kill anyone there.

They only unplugged some phones that were being charged and went away. Ajidara lauded Edgal for flushing the killers out of the state. He said: “Since those killings, things have never been the same for me again. The majority of my congregation are still traumatised by the attack. Most of my church members have stopped coming to church.” Another victim, Abiodun Kokoroaiye (28), whose mother, son and housemaid were brutally murdered on March 1, 2017, said that the incident occurred on their church premises, Imole Ayo Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Mosafejo Street, Agbowa area of Lagos State. She said: “On that fateful day, the killers stormed our church and immediately went straight to where my mother and my son and housemaid were sleeping.

They smashed their heads with grinding stones. The killers came to the church about 3a.m. They were killed in cold blood.” Abiodun, who identified the victims as Christiana Kokoroaiye (mother), four-year-old Yusuf and the housemaid, 11-year-old Deborah, said: “After they were killed, the killers used a machete to dismember them and then escaped.

They were all butchered in the most heartless manner. She added: “At another street, Olay-inka Street, close to our church, the Badoo group went into a building and murdered three other persons; a father and his two sons in a similar manner. It happened the same night they killed my mom, son and housemaid. It was the same gang that carried out both attacks. Since the incident, my father had not been himself.

“Immediately after the attacks, the police were informed, but they didn’t respond to our distress call until about 6a.m. The bodies of my mother and two other victims were discovered by my Dad who came out to urinate. My dad decided to check on them at where they were sleeping, which was the prayer house. He found them in a pool of blood. When the victims were discovered, my mom was still breathing. She was rushed to the hospital, where she later died.”

There is also the heart-breaking killing of the Ebhodaghes. The Ebhodaghes had only one child, Lucky. He was sitting for his West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCE), when he was killed at Ibeshe Tuntun, in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State by the Badoo group. Lucky’s parents were also killed. They were all murdered in their sleep.

The couple and their only son were killed on April 10, 2017, in their residence at Abakaliki Street, in Ibeshe Tuntun. After the victims were buried, their family members were said to have donated Ebhodaghes’ building to a church, but the church, to the shock of residents, had since abandoned the building and relocated to another area. When our correspondent visited the community, the Ebhodaghes’ building had been overtaken by weeds. It was also discovered that hundreds of residents in the community, had moved after the Badoo group killings. Mr. Rafiu Anifowoshe, a resident of Oke-Ota at Ibeshe area of Ikorodu, where the dreaded Badoo group started their killings, said that the killings all started like a child’s play and before they knew it, it had snowballed into an everyday horror.

Anifowoshe said: “The Badoo groups started their killings around January, 2015. They started like armed robbers, but suddenly, they started raping women and wiping their private parts with white handkerchief, and then escape. Later, they started killing people. Back then, they used to enter our communities through the swamps. They graduated into killing of people and introduced spraying of substances.

The substances are sprayed before they entered into the homes of their targets. The substance will make victims to sleep on, while the Badoo members would smash their heads with their grinding stones. “We were battling with the situation until Edgal became the Lagos State Commissioner of Police. The incident, which led to the arrest of the Badoo in our community, also put an end to their activities. It all started after one of our brothers, Shakiru, and his wife were attacked. Shakiru and his wife were in bed when the Badoo group attacked them. We discovered that after the attack, the Badoo member made away with Shakiru’s clothes. Immediately, we mobilised, organised and went into the bush to search for the fleeing killer. We eventually caught him in a building where he ran to around Abakaliki Street.

He had oil on his body. He confessed to us that the attack on Shakiru and his wife was his second operation. He further confessed that the person that sent him paid him N20,000. “It was because Edgal had warned every community against carrying out jungle justice that we handed him over to the police.

The police commissioner had warned that the chiefs of communities would bear the consequences if any person carried out jungle justice. It was his arrest that also led to the arrest of the producer of the spray, which they used on their victims. The producer was arrested at Abuja area of Ibeshe. He was also handed over to the police and since then, we had been living in peace.” But according to Anifowoshe, the major problem in Ibeshe right now is that many people moved out of the community when the attacks started.

He added: “The image of Ibeshe in particular was tarnished. People don’t want to hear Ibeshe again; the mention of Ibeshe is synonymous with Badoo. Even after the killings stopped, most people still sell their properties at cheaper rates in order to quickly move out of the community.” Anifowoshe, who said that the situation in most of the communities was depressing, disclosed that his building had been vacant since 2017, with nobody coming to ask to let it. He said: “We are making efforts to launder our image.

We have put in place security to prevent future occurrences in the community. Some of those who are the indigenes are also assisting the vigilantes and the OPC, who are guarding our community. When the killings were too much, women in the community marched in protest to the palace of the Oba of Ibeshe. Our Oba also consulted Ifa Priest, who told to him to carry out sacrifice in the afternoon to appease the gods.

It was because the monarch wanted peace that he came out in the afternoon and carried out the rites. Since then, we’ve had peace.” Baale Oke-Awori Ibeshe, Chief Muhedeen, praised the Almighty because of the arrest of one of the Badoo members. He said: “After that arrest, the killing stopped drastically.

Things are gradually changing. Three guards and I caught the Badoo member who killed one of our sons. It was when they were about to start inflicting machete cuts on the Badoo member that someone mistakenly got my leg with a machete. I couldn’t walk for almost six months. We don’t know where those Badoo members came from. Initially, I thought the Badoo was a spirit until we arrested the one who killed one of our sons.

“Badoo issue has affected our community negatively, but majorly economically. People no longer come here to seek for accommodation. Our security is good now with the assistance of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Ipakodo Police Station, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mr Adigun Salami.

He is working day and night, in synergy with our local vigilante men in patrolling our area. I want to use this opportunity to call on those who have left Ibeshe to return; the killings have stopped.” Another victim, who survived the attack, said he would speak with our correspondent, but only on the condition that his name wouldn’t be mentioned. The man said that although it had been months now that the Badoo killings occurred, many of them were still living in fear. According to him, he heard recently that the Badoo group has written a letter to members of Abuja Street in Ibeshe, threatening to resurface soon. He further claimed that the letter was sent to one of the Baales. He said: “As the people heard the news that the Badoo group members were planning to return, they immediately embarked on preparation, waiting for the Badoo gang. I believe that they would not be able to attack any house again in this area. People are prepared to defend themselves. “The last attacks of the Badoo were too sudden.

The communities never expected or suspected such a thing would happen in the area. Since then, we all have become vigilant, waiting for them. Even, the cult boys in our communities have been dealt with; before now, they had been disturbing our community. These cult boys used to go from shop to shop and house to house, to rob people of their money and goods. “I even heard that something happened recently in the area.

The cult guys were holding their meetings in the bush, close to the barracks, when soldiers stormed the venue. I learnt that the soldiers only wanted to pick them, but the boys suddenly started shooting when they sighted the military men. The soldiers had to return fire for fire. They are young boys between 18 and 25 years old. The communities have employed the services of local security men, who are already at alert. Moreover, police presence is everywhere now.”

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