Lust for blood money responsible for Badoo, kidnapping – Oba Mudashiru Ajibade Bakare
In the lexicon of cultism in Nigeria, Badoo seems to be a new rage. For some time now, activities of the deadly cult group have thrown Ikorodu residents, a suburb of Lagos, into perpetual apprehension and mourning, forcing the inhabitants to take up responsibility for their security.
Recently, the deadly gang visited Aliu Adesanya Street in Odogunyan, Ikorodu, killing a man, his wife and child, according to residents. About 26 people are said to have been killed in 15 different attacks since June 2016, when the cult began unleashing terror on the town
Due to the horrendous nature of their acts, Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State, on July 6, publicly vowed to stamp out Badoo cultism in Lagos State, saying, “they are not spirits.” The governor had assured Lagos residents that his administration would curtail the activities of the notorious group known in Ikorodu and environs as ‘Badoo boys.’
He said: “Government has intelligence reports that some of these ugly incidents are coming from within and our Kabiyesis and Obas need to do something, as quickly as possible, to arrest the decadence. As far as the Badoo case is concerned, I do not believe it has anything to do with a disappearing ghost. I don’t also believe the rituals can be taking place without some people not being behind it. So, I challenge all our Kabiyesis and all our traditional rulers and Baales that we must arrest this situation as quickly as possible and show that traditional value we have always been known for continues, to support government.”
Imota is carved out of the Ikorodu Division of Lagos State. The Randu Of Imota, Oba Mudashiru Ajibade Bakare-Agoro, recently spoke with Palace Watch on the these ugly incidents.
He said: “Activities of the Badoo cult members and kidnappers in Ikorodu and its environs are not only an embarrassment, but also senseless, which no sane person can tolerate. It is a taboo against our culture and norms, directed at desecrating our land. And in an attempt to forestall these ugly incidents in our areas, we have thrice embarked on spiritual cleansing of our land, crying to our ancestors to intervene in these matters.
“Although, I thank God Almighty and our ancestors for my people’s protection in the entire Imota Kingdom against activities of Badoo boys and kidnappers, as they have not yet got to my kingdom, even though we are neighbours to Ikorodu, we have had cause to appease our ancestors because we are on the same axis, where this rubbish happens daily. This is how seriously we view this matter. And without any prompting, we have gone ahead to set up vigilante groups in the nine areas that make up Imota to help monitor and curtail activities of the deadly cult group and kidnappers.
“The appeal by Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode to traditional rulers, especially Obas and Baales from these areas of the state to assist in the fight against this cult group and kidnappers is not only timely and proper, but most welcomed. On their parts, both state and federal governments, without any further delay, must deploy all security apparatus in their possession not only to curtail, but to also stop the activities of this group and kidnappers across the country once and for all.
“Mind you, this was how activities of Boko Haram, which later grew out of proportion began. And to stop them later, the Nigerian Government not only had to deploy men and money, but lots of material, as well to put them under control.
“It will be exactly 24 years now, since I ascended the throne of my ancestors as the Randu of Imota. I must confess that I have never seen or witnessed a thing like this. First, as an indigene of Imota and now that I have been an Oba for 24 years, we have never witnessed a thing like this. It is a strange phenomenon that nobody knows what exactly is responsible for it and the extent it will reach, if not stopped now. So, if Lagos State governor now sees reason to call on all traditional rulers in the state, especially those from this axis to help ward off this evil, I must say it is a call that is most welcomed. I must say we are not relenting, as we are doing all within our powers as traditional rulers in these areas of Lagos State to ensure that these twins evil of cultism, or ritualism and kidnapping are stopped forthwith. It can never be allowed to continue.
“What has become very clear for all to see is that the people involved in this Badoo cult activities are not only a syndicate, but a group of heartless people looking for blood money by all means. This cannot be pinned on herbalists in any way, because we have always had herbalists around us all these years. They have never been associated with such ugly incidents as these. For emphasis, my opinion is that the people involved in all these damnable acts of kidnapping and cultism are people looking for blood money by all means possible.”
Commenting on the intelligence reports by the Police concerning activities of the cult members, Oba Bakare-Agoro said: “When we met with the Nigeria Police, I told them pointblank that no traditional ruler, even if he is out of his mind, would deliberately habour killers like the Badoo cult members and kidnappers in his domain. I honestly can’t fathom such a thing happening anywhere in Lagos State.
“A point that must also not be ignored is that we are in a democracy. Even if a traditional ruler has any reason(s) to suspect any person resident in his domain, there is an extent to what he can do, before people begin to accuse him of violating the fundamental human rights of another person. This is part of our dilemma. If the Nigeria Police have any intelligence report pointing to traditional rulers as being behind these unfortunate acts, they should make such report public without much ado. The people from whom such intelligence report is collected are enough leads for police to work upon. The Police should not come to the traditional rulers; rather, they should go to the root or source(s) of such information and unravel it. This is what we all expect as Nigerians.”
On why ritualists and kidnappers see Ikorodu/Imota axis as a convenient area to operate, the Randu Of Imota said, “people doing this damage are not only operating in Imota/Ikorodu areas, they are all over the places. It is very pronounced in this area only because to a great extent, we are still rural though close to the metropolis. What I am saying in effect is that, in the hinterland around here, tradition is still very strong. For example, when I became the Oba of Imota 24 years ago, this place was still very rural. I inherited one rural Imota village, but which has since grown from a village to a very big busy town. We now have eight other Imota suburbs added to the main Imota town.
“When a group of Muslims and Christians came to pay Salah homage in my palace on Eid-Mubarak, I told them as much, that I only inherited a village called Imota 24 years ago and this village has grown to be what we now know as the big Imota town. As we speak, we now have Imota one to nine. These areas were farmlands when I was growing up. Seventy percent of the people presently occupying these areas are non-indigenes. And while these places are expanding, we have all manner of people coming to build and live here. Unlike the Imota of old, where everybody is known to everybody else, it is no longer possible for us to have close affinity. Some of the new influxes are no doubt people with shady character and bad motives.
“Anyhow, in spite of the difficulties in monitoring everyone, we still do all within our powers to monitor some of them, and when we discover that what they are doing is against the law, we promptly report them to the Nigeria Police. But whatsoever efforts we make, it is absolutely impossible for us to know what everyone here is doing.”