Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, on Monday revealed that eight people were killed during cult clashes in the Sagamu area of the state.
Alamutu, who spoke in Abeokuta on the four-day rival bloodbath by rival cult groups in the area, also disclosed that nine suspects had been arrested.
However, the residents of Sagamu, who spoke with PUNCH Metro on condition of anonymity, begged to differ with the CP, saying that those who lost their lives to the mindless killings could not have been less than 20 with many of them being innocent and just victims of circumstances.
However, during the briefing, Alamutu also revealed the remote cause of the clashes to be a land transaction that took place in the town.
He said, “A land was sold and some form of commission or settlement was paid to a cult group by the owner of the land. A rival cult group got to know about the payment and went after members of the other group in a bid to get a share of the commission.
“The situation degenerated into an attack and counter-attack situation which started from Wednesday last week and continued till Sunday, leading to the death of eight persons,” the police boss said.
Speaking further, he restated that some of the kingpins of the rival cult groups had been arrested.
“About nine suspects have been arrested as we speak with evidence of their involvement in the killings. Two guns and some rounds of cartridges with evidence that they were recently fired were recovered from the suspects,” he added.
The investigation, according to the police boss, was still ongoing into the killings.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the local government area has imposed a restriction on the use of motorcycles in the area between 7pm and 6am daily as security agencies battle to restore peace to the troubled town.
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On her part, the spokesperson for the state Police Command, Omolola Odutola, in a statement listed those apprehended over the crisis to include Asaiye Omolaja, Azeez Nofiu, Mathew Adewale and Bolaji Ogunkemaya.
She added, “It is worth noting that Bolaji Ogunkemaya was found with four deceased persons in the same room where the killings occurred. One individual, Wasiu, managed to escape before the authorities arrived.
“During the raid, Bolaji Ogunkemaya provided critical information, stating that their leader, known as Azubuike aka Better, had been arrested by the Area Commander a fortnight ago. This information underscores the commitment of the police to dismantle these criminal networks.”
Those arrested were said to have been picked up on Sunday, September 17th around Shakura, old Aiyepe Road, Sagamu during a joint raid by the police and Vigilante Group of Nigeria led by ACP Shehu Alao.
Meanwhile, Governor Dapo Abiodun has directed security agencies in the state to rid Sagamu and its environs of the menace of cultists and cult-related activities in the state while also announcing restriction of movement from 7pm to 6am within Sagamu.
The directive, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Lekan Adeniran, came in the wake of renewed clashes among rival cult gangs in the town at the weekend, raising tension and panic among residents of the town.
Earlier, the Nigeria Police Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, reacted to the cult killings in Sagamu.
Adejobi, on his X handle, said the situation in Sagamu was beyond the deployment of an anti-cultism squad, saying all hands must be on deck.
“We will discuss this with the CP and take the necessary steps. In Sagamu, almost every young one is a cultist. Okada riders, artisans, etc. are into cultism even more than students, and I think the whole town and Remoland, in general, should take action on it.”