Following the weekend clashes among rival cult groups operating in Sagamu, which left at least eight dead and unspecified number of others with grave injuries, the government has imposed a dusk – to – dawn curfew on the troubled town.
The government on Monday announced the restriction of government from 7pm to 6am and urged residents to abide with the restriction order pending the time the security of the area improves.
It added that the police and other security agencies were on top of the situation to restore normalcy.
This was contained in a release by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Lekan Adeniran, a copy of it was made available to The Daily Crucible in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
It assured residents of Sagamu of their security and property.
“This is to notify residents of Sagamu and it’s environs of total restriction of human and vehicular movement as a way of taking firm control of the security architecture of the area and protect the lives of the people and their property.
“We, therefore, implore the residents of the area to abide strictly to this restriction order and cooperate with security agencies to restore normalcy and bring perpetrators of these dastardly acts to book immediately,” the statement read.
Earlier, Governor Abiodun had directed security agencies in the State to rid Sagamu and its environs of the menace of cultists and cult-related activities in the State.
The directive came in the wake of renewed clashes among rival cult gangs in the town at the weekend, raising tension and panic among residents of the town.
Meanwhile, security agents are already on ground in the troubled town to restore normalcy.
Abiodun through his Chief Press Secretary, Lekan Adeniran, regretted the avoidable loss of innocent lives and wanton destruction of properties by the hoodlums.
According to him, the police and sister security agencies have been given a matching order to deal ruthlessly and decisively with those disturbing the peace of the town.
Reiterating the state government’s zero tolerance to acts of brigandage and lawlessness, Prince Abiodun warned that those responsible for this current crisis will find themselves to blame.
He said: ” As a responsible and responsive government, we are very sad with the resurgence of activities of criminal elements under different outlawed groups, raising unnecessary tension in the sleepy town of Sagamu and it’s environs.
“Let me categorically state that we are more than determined to put an end quickly to these nefarious activities of these hoodlums and enemies of our people; who are hellbent to truncate the peace of our land.
“Let these urchins be rest assured that the State will be too hot for them to operate as we are reevaluating the security architecture for greater surveillance and tactical operation”.
The governor noted that the new security approach would be implemented in collaboration with the traditional institution, community and religious leaders, youth groups as well as other critical stakeholders.
Abiodun, therefore, appealed to the people to provide adequate and useful information to security agents for prompt response to prevent future occurrences.
The Daily Crucible reports that over a dozen of persons suspected to be cultists were feared dead in renewed rival cults clashes in Ewu Iya area of Sagamu, Ogun State.
But the Police confirmed that eight people were hacked to death during the deadly war over the weekend by rival cult gangs in Sagamu.
The clash which occured on Sunday involved members of two rival cult groups – Aiye and Eiye, who locked themselves in pitched battle with guns, axes and knives.
Four of the dead were said to have been gruesomely killed when the room they were staying in Sakura, Ewu Iya was stormed by one of the rival confraternities.
It was learnt that four other cultists were cut down in different locations in Sagamu.
Sagamu has been the epicentre of cultism and cult related violence with the attendant loss of lives, maiming and destruction in the last couple of years.
The Ogun State Police Command Spokesperson, SP Omolola Odutola, said four suspects were arrested after a raid carried out by the Police Command in Sagamu led by ACP Shehu Alao in collaboration with the VGN (Vigilante Group of Nigeria) in response to the clash.
She gave names of the suspects as Asaiye Omolaja, Azeez Nofiu, Mathew Adewale, and Bolaji Ogunkemaya, adding that Bolaji Ogunkemaya was specifically found with the four deceased persons in the same room where their killings occurred.
According to her, one suspect identified simply as Wasiu, managed to escape before the police arrived.
“Upon receiving the information, the Area Commander swiftly mobilized more personnel to the scene in order to prevent the clash from escalating and to apprehend the cultists involved. As a result, seven suspected cultists were arrested, and further investigations led to the recovery of a firearm, three live cartridges, and a criminal charm.
“During the raid, Bolaji Ogunkemaya provided critical information, stating that their leader, known as Azubuike aka BETTER, had been arrested by the Area Commander a fortnight ago. This information underscores the commitment of the police to dismantle these criminal networks.
“To address the alarming rise in cult-related violence, the Commissioner of Police, CP Alamutu Mustapha, personally visited Sagamu on the morning of September 18th to assess the situation firsthand and profiled all the suspects apprehended. CP Mustapha sternly warns all cultists in Ogun State that their activities will no longer be tolerated. He has declared a zero-tolerance policy towards senseless killings and vows that none of these cultists will go unpunished,” she stated.
She noted that normalcy had been restored in Sagamu through the diligent efforts of the law enforcement agencies.
But addressing the press later, the Police Command confirmed the killing of 8 persons over the weekend in Sagamu during the rival cult groups clash.
Speaking in Abeokuta, the state capital, CP Abiodun Alamutu revealed the remote cause of the clashes to be a land transaction that took place in Sagamu town.
“A land was sold and some form of commission or settlement was paid to a cult group by the owner of the land. A rival cult group got to know about the payment and went after members of the other group in a bid to get a share of the commission.
“The situation degenerated into an attack and counter attack situation which started from Wednesday las week and continued till Sunday, leading to the death of 8 persons,” the Police boss said.
Speaking further, he revealed the arrest of some of the kingpins of the rival cult groups. “About nine suspects have been arrested as we speak with evidences of their involvement in the killings. Two guns and some rounds of cartridges with evidences that they were recently fired, were recovered from the suspects,” he added.
Investigation, according to the Police boss, is still ongoing into the killings. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Local Government Area, has imposed a restriction on the use of motorcycles in the area between 7pm and 6am daily as authorities battle to restore peace to the troubled town.