The Anti-Robbery Squad of the State Department of Criminal Investigation, Yaba, Lagos, has arrested a Lagos prince, Wale Jimoh, and seven others, for cultism.
The suspects were arrested during initiation rites of the Eiye Confraternity in the Jakande Roundabout, Small Kuramo, Lekki, Police says.
Jimoh’s father is said to be the traditional ruler of a community in the area.
Other suspected members of the confraternity group include; Frank Mafiana, 32, Robert Williams, 34, Koko Etim, 25, Ibrahim Ogunkoya, 21, Stephen Anoh, 27, Adekunle Mayegun, 25, and Moris Gordian, 27, Punch says.
It was gathered that the men had organised a party at a bar owned by their gang leader, Mafiana, and decided to use the occasion to initiate Ogunkoya.
It was at the last stage of initiation that the police stormed the bar following a tip-off.
A police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the suspects were “caught in the act.”
He said, “When we got there, we met the new member in their midst. He was blindfolded and stark naked. We recovered a gun, cutlass and a bottle of gin which contained ground pepper from the scene.”
The leader of the cult group, Mafiana, said he became a cultist while in a university in Enugu State.
“A girl had hugged me in public. That night, some guys came to my hostel and beat me up. They warned me never to go near the girl again.
I became angry and called my friend, who was a cultist. I told him I was ready to be one of them. That was how I joined and rose to be the number one.
I have gone for several missions and beaten up many rival cult members, but I never killed. When I came to Lagos, I stopped being a member and these guys only came to meet me that day to assist them with the initiation.”
However, another member of the group, Etim, countered Mafiana, saying he was the leader of the gang.
The Akwa Ibom indigene said the gang always met at his bar where they held their meetings.
“We are all members and he is the chief. I joined them recently and never knew there was going to be an initiation that night,” he said.
On the initiation of Ogunkoya, another member of the group, Williams, said they were called to the bar at the instance of Jimoh, the prince.
Williams said, “Wale (Jimoh) called Mafiana that Ogunkoya wanted to be a member. Our leader was initially reluctant, but when he saw Jimoh with a polythene bag containing a cutlass and a gun, he agreed.”
Jimoh on his part confessed that he brought the gun and cutlass, adding that he stole them from a shrine where Ogun worshippers in his community performed rites.
He said, “Although my mum is the present queen in the palace, I am not the real son of the king. The king married my mum and because he liked me, he adopted me.
“Ogunkoya is my friend. He has been noticing how we operate, and he told me that he was interested in being a member.
“I invited him for the party. It was when he was feeling tipsy that we removed his clothes to initiate him.”
He explained that torture during initiation was meant to harden the minds of members.
Ogunkoya, however, denied showing interest in the group, adding that he was threatened with a gun.
“I have never met them in my life until that day. I never knew they were cultists until they attacked and pushed me into a pit and started beating me around 9pm.
“They put a gun to my head and said I must join them or else they would kill me,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Patricia Amadin, when contacted, said she would get back to our correspondent. But she had yet to do so as of press time.