A 13-year-old member of a deadly cult and robbery gang has been arrested in Lagos alongside members of his gang.
The boy, Opeyemi Johnson, a Junior Secondary School student of a private secondary school in Sango area of Ogun State, narrated how he ran away from home and got initiated into the dreaded 'Awawa Boys' cult group and how he has been going with the other members on robbery sprees.
“I was initiated into the group about a year ago. It was one brother whom I only know as Ola, that introduced and forced me to join the group. Initially, I did not know it would turn out like this. Immediately I saw their ways of life, I wanted to quit but they threatened to kill me if I leave the group.
It was on a Sunday evening at Abattoir, Agege. Ola took me to a dark room and ordered me to kneel down. In that room, I met other six members of the group already waiting for my arrival.
The cult leader, ‘Ijaomode,’ blindfolded me with a black piece of cloth and all the six members descended on me. They gave me a thorough beating.
After that, they gave me alligator pepper to chew and alcoholic drink. One of them stood up, drew a tattoo on my forehead and below my eyes as a sign of being a bona fide member of the group.
Since then, I have been going out with them for operations. I stopped going back home and started sleeping in a shanty at Abattoir.
On the day I was arrested, we were returning from a carnival in at Power Line, Agbado Crossing, when our Capone, Ijaomode, instructed us to start robbing anybody we met on our way. We robbed not less than 10 individuals of their belongings before we got to Fagba Junction.
At this point, we saw a young girl, whom we immediately surrounded and collected all her belongings, including phones and jewelry. She later went to bring Rapid Response Squad (RRS) men who chased us and arrested me. My colleagues escaped.
I don't know my father. My mother just told me he is a Congolese. I had made frantic efforts to see him to the extent that I had to travel to Congo alone to look for him, but I didn’t see him.
Rather, I saw some of his family members who told me he had travelled out of the country. For now, I can only talk to him via phone.”
According to the police, the young boy was arrested arrested after he and other members of the gang attacked and robbed passers-by of bags, phones and other valuables.
A police source said:
“The suspect and 20 other members of the cult group were, early on Sunday morning, returning from a Street Carnival somewhere around Agbado Crossing, when they suddenly went on the rampage and started dispossessing passers-by of bags, phones and other valuable items.”
His mother who also spoke to newsmen, said she had tried to raise the boy well but that he chose to go the wrong way.
“He is my third child. Though I had remarried, that doesn’t stop me from playing my motherly roles for him. His two elder siblings are in higher institutions.
I have tried to ensure that he didn’t go astray. I enrolled him in a private school at Sango. I wondered how he got to Abattoir, Agege. I gave him and his siblings all my best.”