In Lagos, cults just won’t halt
On Lagos Island, the mention of Falapa sends chills down the spine. Falapa is actually Abdulrazak Kareem, recorded in the books of the Lagos State police command as a suspected killer, cultist and leader of the regular gang wars between the Okepopo and Onola boys in the heart of Lagos. During such wars, the hoodlums snuff out human lives with guns, machetes and axes as artlessly as just slapping a mosquito to death.
Falapa seems a reigning kingpin of cultists in Lagos State where cult gangsterism and the killings, robberies and destructions that attend it have become the norm. An ubiquitous signpost that defines Lagos now is young boys in groups of 4 to 20 of them milling at junctions, uncompleted buildings, alcohol joints and motor parks. Almost always, the boys are high on drugs like marijuana, codeine and tramadol, and eight of 10 occasions, they are wearing guns. And chances are eight of every 10 of the boys will be members of the Eiye or Eye confraternities, the two lead groups in the state.
Between them are the Buccaneers and Vikings cults, whose members are not really as visible as those of the Eiye and Aye. Then, there are the Awawa boys, whose presence and dominance is limited to the Agege area of Lagos. The Awawa boys, mostly teenagers, are not known to be dangerous killers as the Eiye and Aiye hoodlums, whose members the police arrested had confessed to be responsible for many deaths in the state. The Awawa boys are notorious for raping young girls in the Agege area and its environs and looting shops.
Another group in Lagos State is the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), whose leaders enforce toll collections that go beyond road transport so ruthlessly that the line between members and hooligans by the other violent cult groups is so blurred. Most members of the Eiye and Aye cults are actually NURTW enforcers. It is a known fact in the state that many NURTW, Eiye and Aye leaders are strong arms for politicians for jobs as dirty as disrupting voting during elections and pressing the Control D, a term in the underworld for assassinating (deleting) a political opponent.
Strongholds of cultists in Lagos State include Lagos Island, Ebute-Meta, Bariga, Shomolu, Agege, Mushin, Ajah, Ikorodu, Ijanikin, Iyano-Sashi, Ajegunle, Fadeyi, Isale Eko, Ijesha-Tedo, Ojuelegba, Oshodi, Mile 2, Oto, Ketu, Ijora, Apapa Road, Oworonsoki and Ijegun.
On Lagos Island, it needs no telling to identify them. Right from the descent from the Carter Bridge into the busy Idumota terminus and Balogun market to the inner areas like Onola, Okepopo, Oju’na, OshodiTapa, Adeniji-Adele and Campos, wildlooking, loosely-dressed boys and men, many of them with tattoos, ear-rings and rough hair hang about publicly smoking Indian hemp and holding plastic bottles containing a liquid substance that looks like Coca-Cola, Fanta or even ordinary water. But no, the content is actually a cocktail of psychotropic substances that keep the consumers high all the time.
Most of the boys at Idumota up to the Balogun market are enforcers for Alhaji Azeez Kunle Lawal, famously known in NURTW and cult circles, and indeed, by the police and in the entire state as Kunle Poly. The enforcers collect dues from commercial bus/motorcycle operators and traders and woe betide he or she who fails to pay, and on time, too. Kunle Poly is the NURTW chief on the Lagos Island and is held in awe by the commercial bus/motorcycle operators and traders at Idumota, as well as residents of Lagos Island generally.
An NURTW source told Daily Trust that a zonal boss of the union in the state can go home with as high as N10 million daily from all sorts of tolls and forced dues. With such a prize, it is not uncommon to see violent clashes for leadership which claim lives at motor parks. Kunle Poly escaped death in one of such clashes at the Idumota terminus on January 21, 2018 this year when gunmen believed to have been sent by rival NURTW bosses rained bullets on his car. It was his personal assistant, Ganiu Ayinla, alias Piero, who copped the bullet and died while Kunle Poly jumped barriers to escape.
Police investigations into the shooting led to the arrest of two men, Adeola Williams, alias Ade Lawyer and John Ibafo. The duo were widely known in Lagos as ruthless, psychopathic killers responsible for many deaths and were feared on the streets. Ade Lawyer, who was reported to have confessed to the police he had killed nothing less than 100 persons, many of them for a former Lagos State chairman of the NURTW, Alhaji Rafiu Akanni Olohunwa. He alleged that it was Olohunwa who gave him the hit job on Kunle Poly’s life. After a few weeks of investigation, the police released Oluhunwa, while the police have been mute on the fate of Ade Lawyer and John Ibafo. But reliable police sources confided in our correspondent there were strong indications the two men had died during interrogation.
In Lagos Island’s Hall of Infamy, there is also Rafiu Bashorun, 48, alias Abija, who was also arrested and charged before an Ebute Meta magistrate court with alleged conspiracy, attempted murder and the murder of Piero. Though the police requested that Abija be remanded in prison custody while the trial lasted, Magistrate Mrs O. Kusanu refused that application, holding that the accused was not the one who pulled the trigger at the deceased.
Kusanu admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum who must be tax payers. Our correspondent watched a video last week of Abija in Ireland with his smiling wife,
On October 16, 2014, the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Joe Igbokwe, in a release, had fingered Abija as being responsible for the murder of an APC Leader, Alhaji Azeez Asake. Igbokwe was furious that the police released Abija, whom he described as the main suspect in the gruesome murder.
On the matter, a national newspaper had reported the arrest by the Lagos State police