In La­gos, cults just won’t halt

Weekly Trust - - News - Ab­dul­razak Ka­reem pop­u­larly known as Falapa and his gangs

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

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