•’Most killings occur in churches’
•Curfew imposed on Ikorodu
•No tight security no vigil
To stem the Badoo menace, the police yesterday barred churches and mosques in Ikorodu and environs from holding vigil without tight security.
Acting Lagos State Police Commissioner Imohimi Edgal warned that he would arrest and charge with murder any pastor in whose church ritualists kill worshippers during vigil.
He spoke at a stakeholders’ meeting on how to ensure peace in Ikorodu hours before Badoo struck, killing a pastor and wounding his family members.
“Henceforth, no pastor should organise a vigil in Ikorodu without adequate security arrangement. Do not organise any vigil if you cannot protect the lives of the people who attend,” the police chief said.
Majority of the ritual killings, he said, took place on the church premises, adding that in most cases, the pastors would have concluded their prayers and left before the murderers would attack vulnerable women and children.
The meeting, which was held at the palace of the Ikorodu monarch, Oba Abdulrasheed Shotobi, started around 10:30pm on Saturday and ended around 1am yesterday. It followed resumed Badoo killings.
According to Edgal, the police were soliciting for the collaboration of all interest groups in Ikorodu to bring the gang to book.
He said: “All churches and mosques should not have vigil in isolated locations and pastors leave them to go home and they attack the women and children.
“If you must have night vigils, you must put in place, structures to protect your worshippers. If I hear that anybody is murdered in any church or mosque, I will arrest the pastor or the Imam and charge them to court for murder
“Three-quarter of the cases we have had in Ikorodu is related to relatives of a church member or pastor. They either occurred in the church premises or a building housing a church. We must protect the women and children.”
Decrying the bail granted five out of seven suspected key members of the ritual gang by the court last week, Edgal expressed worries that the suspects could wreak havoc if checks were not put in place.
To achieve that, Edgal announced curfew between 1am and 4am across the district, urging the traditional rulers to prevail on his chiefs and youth to commence patrols and ignite burn fires to ward off the killers.
He said: “I thank you all because the town is peaceful today. We achieved that peace because you partnered with us. But I have come with good news and bad news. The good news is that crime rate in Ikorodu is very low and my officers here are happy with the corporation they have received.
“The bad news is that out of the seven principal suspects charged to court in connection with the ritual killings, five of them have been granted bail by the court and they have gone underground.
“Recently a case of murder at Agbowa that resembles their style of ritual murder was recorded. Investigation had gone to advance stage and details would be given.
“We are tracking the five major suspects and I can assure you that we would get them soon. With their release, there is need for vigilance. We must immediately restore all security measures put in place that chased all hoodlums and criminals away from Ikorodu.
“This period of peace had made us relax and so, we have to wake up again because there is a possibility of those freed hoodlums to unite and trouble the peace in Ikorodu. We must not be taken for granted. It is time we began to enforce security strategies.
“Communities should set a particular time for search. These crimes usually happen between 1am and 4am. Any person moving around between those times must have a good reason.
“Vigilante groups should be strengthened and given mandate to question people moving around by that time. Anyone without a good reason should be arrested and handed over to security agents. I will not tolerate jungle justice.
“We have reached towards the end of the year and at this time, there are people who haven’t worked throughout the year but want to enjoy Christmas and New Year.
“They are the ones that take to crime. We must not allow them succeed in Ikorodu. You have my authority to come out and organise yourselves into street groups to patrol your neighbourhoods. I expect to see burn fires at inner neighbourhoods so that people know we are alert.”
Edgal appealed to the monarch to direct his chiefs and Community Development Associations (CDAs) to reach out to families living in isolated buildings so that they could join the patrols.
He said: “Ikorodu is fast developing area but there are still vast lands and you will see isolated buildings that are often uncompleted occupied by people.
“This is dangerous because they become ready targets to criminals. Reach out to people like that so that they come out at night and with other neighbours to keep watch.
“I recommend that everybody should be security conscious. Call an emergency meeting of your CDAs and charge them to take census of all those staying in your communities. Every life in Ikorodu is precious to me
“I have told my policemen that they must have a strong partnership with local hunters, local vigilantes, area boys and others.”[The Nature]