Ogun cultists spread tentacles of killings, residents panic as politicians cash in on violence

Source: https://punchng.com/ogun-cultists-spread-tentacles-of-killings-residents-panic-as-politicians-cash-in-on-violence/

Many residents of Ogun State now live in constant fear as more youths with the encouragement of politicians take to cultism and cause panic in major cities, writes DAUD OLATUNJI

While it trying to permanently end kidnappings, Ogun State is also being  confronted with  violence caused by cultists.

Recently, violence ensued  between two rival cult groups: Eiye and Aiye confraternities. One of the violent incidents  occurred   not far  from  the Government House, Isale-Igbein, Abeokuta in the Ogun Central

The killings  spread to Sagamu in the Ogun East Senatorial  District  and later  to Sango-Ota in the Ogun West  Senatorial District claiming  many lives.

No fewer than 60  persons have been gruesomely killed in various clashes between cult groups in different parts of the state between 2019 and 2022.

Areas which have been turned into battlefields  for cultists are  Abeokuta, Ifo, Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode, Sango-Ota  and Ijebu-Igbo.

The immediate past Commissioner of Police in the state, Edward Ajogun in  January 2021,  confirmed that at least 25 persons were killed in cult clashes in different parts of Ijebu-Ode.

Also in November 2020, about 20 people were killed in various cult clashes between members of the two  groups also  in Ijebu-Ode.

The killings, however, subsided for a while before it recently reared its ugly head with the latest killing  of 15 people.

Sources told our correspondent that the  recent  killings had been going on almost on a  daily basis   before the latest one that happened a few weeks ago,  claiming the life of a notorious cult leader in the state capital.

Thursday, March 24 would  continue to linger in the memories of the  traders and passers-by at Panseke market,  who were caught in the web of the killing  of  a cult leader,  Tommy Boy.

The ever  bubbling Panseke market became a ghost of itself shortly after some gun-wielding  young men invaded the market and went straight for their target.

The traders and passers-by scampered for safety as gunshots rented the air while the assailants were  hacking Tommy Boy to death . He was  hacked to death  by suspected members of the Aiye cult group.

It was further  gathered that Tommy Boy was a  suspected leader of the Eiye confraternity group,  a notorious cult  well known to many people in Panseke, Onikolobo, Oluwo, Adigbe and Onikoko communities, mostly populated by students of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Abeokuta.

Prior to his death, ,six others had been hacked to killed in the same manner by the two  groups in reprisals.

The killings took place  in different parts of Abeokuta such as  a relaxation centre at Asero,  Kugba, Ikereku, Panseke, Adigbe, Oke- Ijeun and Isale-Abetu. Tommy boy’s death sparked off the killings of  eight  persons residing in Sagamu. Seven persons were reportedly killed in Abeokuta within one week.

Sharing their feelings with our correspondent on why the clashes lingered in the state, some of the residents of the state blamed the government  and politicians for the violence .

Some of the people, who spoke  on  condition of anonymity, cited the case of late ‘Tommy Boy whom they said had become  terror in the state capital while the government looked  the other way.

Tommy boy was  reported to have installed himself as a transport union leader collecting levies from commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as okada riders in Oluwo, where  he resided.

Some   non-governmental organisations,  community leaders and residents  attributed the thriving of cultism to politicians’ action during  elections

The  Executive Director, Women For Peace, a gender equality initiative, Mojisola Akinsanya said the solution to the problem could only be discovered after getting to the root  of the menace .

Akinsanya said, “Politicians are driving cultism whether we like it or not. It is when politicians can take that bold step that during this election, we are not going to use thugs nor fraternity to mobilise or intimidate people.”

For Adesina Adefolahan, Executive Director, Community Education, Advancement of Peace and Development Initiatives, the need to talk to politicians to stop encouraging cultism  is imperative.

On his part,  Tola Adenekan, the Chief Executive Officer for Center for  Grassroots Education, Healthcare and Empowerment, said,   “The  government in the state needs to be more serious and focused in  tackling the issue of cultism.”

A resident of Sagamu where eight persons were killed in one day, who preferred  to be simply identified as Adesewa, said Sagamu had been turned into a slaughter slab by the cultists .

Speaking on the reasons for the recent killings  in some parts of the state, especially Sagamu, Adesewa said, “All we heard was that they killed  their leader in  Abeokuta and they were also retaliating.”

A community leader, the  Executive Chairman, Ilugun Community, Itesiwaju Ilugun Community Development Association, Adekunle Moses raised the alarm that a lot of young boys were involved in cultism .

The state Chairman of Police Community Relations Committee,  Dr. Samson  Popoola attributed the incessant menace of cultism to the proliferation of tertiary institutions in the state.

Popoola said the case of cultism in the state was not worse compared to other states, claiming that media publicity had the perception of a bad situation.

Speaking on the extent of damage of the menace,  Commandant National School Crime Prevention Corps , Dr Ige Folayinka,  said the clashes had claimed many  lives in the last six months  in the state .

He said the situation was so bad that the  killings had   been extended to secondary schools in the state.

The Special Adviser to the governor on Communications, Remmy Hazzan said prior to the moment it reared its ugly head,  the government had nipped it in the bud .

He said the recent killings showed that the government needed to go back to the drawing board to reassess the situation.

Hazzan said,  “For some times now, it actually subsided and we thought that the step we took especially when the Ijebu saga happened, we thought that, the step would subsume it  until the unfortunate recurrence that took place in Abeokuta for which the attacks now began to bring out their ugly heads especially the Sagamu area.

“We need  to  come up with a solution;  more encompassing and sustainable and that means every single stakeholder in this matter is of importance; the parents of these people that are involved, influential people in the society who  have access to those who have been fingered in  all of these involvement in cult-related issue, the security agency, community leaders, everybody matters in this particular case so that we can have peace because without peace every effort and progress will just be completely useless.”

When asked to react to the general   belief  that the body language of the state government allowed cultism  to thrive, Hazzan faulted the submission .

He denied that the government was pampering the hoodlums, challenging anyone with such a belief to be specific on what he meant .

Hazzan said, “That is not a fair way  to intervene and whoever says things like that too should be able to narrow it down to the specific because what you call body language may not be something that is true .

“The person also needs  to press it down.  What type of body language? Do we have suspects that are being condoned. Do we have members of our cabinet who are promoting cultism? Do we have people who are friends of the administration that are promoting cultism? What exactly is specific about the body language allegation?”

On the official adoption of yellow colour by the state government  which is believed  to be a subtle way to support a particular fraternity  among the cult groups,  Hazzan cleared the air, saying yellow was adopted for political reasons and not otherwise.

Hazzan said, “Now, the issue of yellow is more of a decision that came by our late commencement of  campaign in 2018 and 2019 and we were just looking at. If we are going to be able to have a branded shirt  because  we want to run a crash programme  about our campaign, can we have a uniformed  colour that is very bright and easily noticed in which we could be identified,

“Now that decision came, there’s no colour that you will use in any electioneering  that a particular group of fraternal fellows will not say it’s their colour, go for blue the Eiye  confraternity will say it’s their colour, go for yellow, the Buccaneers will say it’s their colour, go for red, the Aiye  will say it’s their colour, go for black, the black axe will say it’s their colour.”

Reacting to the development,  the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi said the command  had swung into action by setting up a special squad to tackle the menace of cultism.  

Financial crime: South African fraud gang dismantled

Nowhere for the NBM to hide…. in South Africa.

Source: https://www.interpol.int/en/News-and-Events/News/2022/Financial-crime-South-African-fraud-gang-dismantled

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – A fraud gang suspected of swindling a US-based company out of some EUR 455,000 has been taken down in raids across Johannesburg led by investigators from the Hawks Serious Commercial Crimes Unit and US Secret Service agents, and supported by INTERPOL.

With investigations on-going, the operation led to the arrest of seven people allegedly linked to a Nigerian organized crime syndicate that specializes in online fraud. The suspects allegedly bought luxury vehicles with the proceeds of their crimes.

The operation was part of a global initiative under the framework of INTERPOL’s Global Financial Crime Task Force (IGFCTF), where 14 countries including South Africa and the United States work closely together to tackle the global threat of cyber enabled financial crime.

The suspects – four men and three women aged between 25 and 42 – are believed to be key figures in a global crime syndicate involved in fraud and money laundering.

The gang is also believed to be behind romance scams, using fake online identities to lure vulnerable men and women to transfer money. Romance scams generate millions of US dollars worldwide.

Commending the collaborative work of the multi-disciplinary team which led to the arrests, Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya said: “Organized criminal groups should know law enforcement agencies are collaborating on an international level to dismantle criminal networks.”

The Johannesburg operation is one of several global operations under the framework of IGFCTF where law enforcement authorities are working together to crack down on West African fraud syndicates targeting individuals and businesses worldwide.  

The authorities involved are now working closely with INTERPOL to track the movements of the gang’s money worldwide, with investigations focusing on a worldwide criminal syndicate known as Black Axe, which allegedly used business email compromise (BEC) scams to defraud a US-based mental health institute.

BEC scams usually target third-party vendors to gain access to business email accounts after which payments are diverted to the bank accounts of money mules.

Michael K. Burgin of the US Secret Service said: “The fight against cyber-enabled crime knows no boundaries, and the collaborative efforts in this case show how vital it is to work collectively with our international partners to execute impactful takedowns of these highly organized transnational criminal syndicates.”

Eight suspected Black Axe leaders were arrested in Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2021, leading to a massive drop in the group’s activities and similar crimes. They face extradition to the US, where they are charged with stealing more than EUR 6.25 million from romance scam victims there.

“Taking advantage of globalization and digitization processes, criminals are able to commit financial crimes with increasing efficiency and sophistication,” said Rory Corcoran, Acting Director, INTERPOL Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC).

“The Johannesburg arrests highlight the importance of international cooperation between INTERPOL and its global law enforcement partners to target and disrupt the criminal syndicates involved in all forms of financial crimes and corruption,” added Mr Corcoran.

Since its creation in January, the Centre has helped INTERPOL member countries intercept more than EUR 4.5 million tied to BEC and romance frauds.

Just In: Mass arrests of criminals in Anambra; guns recovered

Source: https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2022/04/10/just-in-mass-arrests-of-criminals-in-anambra-guns-recovered/

DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Anambra has confirmed that no fewer than 32 suspected cultists and criminals have been arrested in the state.

DSP Ikenga confirmed the development on Sunday.

He said that the operatives also recovered guns and other dangerous weapons from the suspects.

Ikenga said the raids that led to the arrests was part of the determined efforts to rid Anambra of all forms of criminality.

According to the PPRO, the suspects were involved in crimes including armed robbery, unlawful possession of firearms, and extortion.

“Acting on credible information, the Command operatives on March 30 arrested one Ozo Olie Ifeanyi, 43, in his residence at Odoje village, Onitsha and recovered one locally fabricated single barrel pistol and one live ammunition concealed in a bag.

“He has confessed to being a member of the Black Axe Cult Group and specializes in robbing unsuspecting members of the public of their valuables.

“Another suspect, one Ifeanyi Nwobu, 49, from Enugu-Ukwu was arrested on the same date.

“The command also recovered one locally-made Beretta pistol, one magnum pump-action and ammunition from the suspects who have made statements that are useful for investigation,” he said.

Ikenga also said 30 suspected touts, ranging from 17 years to 44 years, were arrested for flouting Anambra State Government’s ban on touting, extortion, and illegal revenue collection in the state.

He said they were nabbed on April 6 around Tarzan Junction, Owerri road, Upper Iweka, Ochanja Junction, Awada road, Head Bridge, Kara Junction, and Atani road.

The PPRO reiterated the resolve of the Commissioner of Police in Anambra, CP Echeng Echeng, to defend the people of the state from all criminality and insecurity.

“Protection of lives and property, maintenance of law and order will never be taken for granted, we call on residents to increase the level of information they give us,” he stated.

NBM, others slam N1 billion law suit against Linda Ikeji

EFFURUN- THE Neo Black Movement (NBM) of Africa and three others have slammed a N1 billion law suit against Linda Ikeji, a Nigerian foremost micro online blogger for defamation and libel at the Delta State High Court in Effurun Court 2.

   The suit with number EHC/210/2021 had the Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa, Olorogun Ese Kakor, Olorogun Felix Kupa and Mayor Onyebueke as Claimants with Linda Ikeji as the sole defendant.

The Claimants through their Counsel, Chief E.K. Agbroko Esq are praying the court for an award of N1 billion and an apology to be published in her blog and two national newspapers amongst others.

The Counsel avverred that Ikeji had on the 19th day of October 2019 published in her blog an article in which she defamed his Clients by referring to them as ‘Black Axe’, calling them name different from their organization.

  Agbroko added that that his clients’ organization is not known as such. 

According to him, “The name of the organization is NBM of Africa, she also called them criminals in the said publication.

  “When my clients got wind of the publication, they consulted me and we put up a demand letter of retraction and apology. But she neglected and refused to do the needful.

“After several reminders and upon expiration of the letters, the organization decided that a libel suit be filed against her.

   “This suit will be an eye opener to all bloggers who do not verify facts before publishing, when the trial start the whole details will be unfolded.

“The matter first came up on the 24th day of January 2022 and she has failed to put up appearances and a defence.

  “The matter has had three adjournments and it is now set for trial on the 13th day of May, 2022.” He added.

   The matter which is before Honourable Justice Roli Daibo- Harriman of High Court 2, High Court of Justice, Effurun, Delta State came up yesterday but the defendant was absent and no representation by Counsel.

The court then adjourned to 13th May for commencement of trial.

Fight to Finish, Buhari Tells Security Agencies 1 Major Thing To Do To Cultists in Ogun

Read more: https://www.legit.ng/nigeria/1463674-fight-finish-buhari-tells-security-agencies-1-major-thing-to-do-to-cultists-ogun/

  • Nigeria’s leader, President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted angrily to the killing of over 15 persons by cultists in the Abeokuta and Sagamu areas of Ogun state
  • The president while condemning the incident ordered the security agencies to put an end to the activities of cultists in the state
  • Earlier, the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun ordered the relocation of security agencies to Sagamu in other to fish out those involved in the recent cult activities

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on security agencies in Ogun to give a ‘fight to finish’ to stem the tide of cultism and cult-related activities in the state. The president made this call through a statement on Thursday, March 31, after cultists killed over 16 people in the state within 10 days.

Premium Times reports that a battle between the Eiye and Aiye cult groups in the state led to the killing of a popular area boy, known as Tommy, and 15 others.

Worried by the spate of killings, President Buhari, through his media aide, Garba Shehu, ordered security agencies to dismantle cultists or cult-related activities in the state. The president in a statement said: “What should frighten us is that the deadly cult groups are increasingly attracting lonely, anxious, troubled youth who they trap in unorthodox social practices.” In a related development, the Nigerian military has been urged to declare a full-scale war on terrorists operating across states of the country. The call was made by lawmakers of the Nigerian Senate after the attack on an Abuja-Kaduna-bound train on Monday, March 28. According to the Senate, the operations of the terrorists in Kaduna makes it imperative for the appropriate authorities to take decisive action.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported how a bloody clash between rival cult groups had left 8 dead. A source whose name was not revealed said the clash started at a friend’s night programme when some boys accosted a Vikings carrying bag in his hands at midnight at Etebi in Esit Eket According to the source, the Black Axe group searched the bag and discovered it contained locally made pistols that they seized, which later degenerated into violence.