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EDITORIAL

Badoo Cult Killings

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A ritual cult group that goes by the name Badoo, has been terrorising residents of Ikorodu area of Lagos State and has killed at least 26 people and injured 14 in the last 12 months. The deaths, according to reports, were carried out between June 5, 2016 and June 27, 2017.

The modus operandi of the gang is to smash the heads of their victims with rocks or grinding stones while in some instances, they inflict bodily injury on victims with machetes and rape their female victims. They would usually target houses in secluded areas where the cries of their victims would not be heard and then strike in the dead of night when their victims are fast asleep. The cult group has wiped out entire families in some of their operations. In one of their operations, a pregnant woman was killed, while an 8-year-old girl was abducted from a Church vigil, raped and left for dead. A top security source was reported to have said that the group, after killing their victims and wiping the blood with a handkerchief, sell the handkerchief at a princely sum of N500, 000 to some highly placed Nigerians.

The situation worsened to the point that the traditional institutions in Ikorodu performed rituals to halt the activities of the cult group recently but this has proved to be ineffective as they struck even on the day the rituals were carried out.  Local residents claim that Badoo is a ritual group and have accused the police, the traditional institution and other highly placed individuals in the affected communities of complicity in the matter, attributing the alleged complicity of these institutions to the sustained operation of the gang.  The residents are of the view that the police is not doing enough to secure them and may have resorted to self-help as was recently witnessed in Odungunyan area of Ikorodu, where residents went berserk and lynched three suspected members of Badoo, who according to reports, were seen around 2am in an SUV and a big stone, diesel and cutlass were found in the vehicle but the occupants could not explain what the items were for or where they were heading.

The actions of this deadly group, in our view, are reflective of the collapse of values in the society, which has led to total disregard for life as well as the failure of conventional and community policing in our communities. It is rather disturbing that this heinous crime has been going on for more than one year now and security agencies appear to be clueless about those behind the acts, while the killings continue. It is also speaks volumes of the capacity of security agencies to effectively handle crimes, hence the need for community policing.

Even if coming late in the day, it is reassuring that the police in Lagos is finally rising to its responsibility as it has joined forces with the Rapid Response Squad, Department of State Services, Lagos State Task Force, the Oodua People’s Congress and local vigilante groups and have raided the dreaded group’s black spots in Igbobi-Bayeku, Ibeshe, Ijede and Imota, where they arrested over 100 suspected members. The police, according to the Lagos State public Relations officer, is currently profiling the suspects to screen out innocent persons among them.  We urge the police to be thorough in this process so that they do not end up holding the innocent while the real perpetrators of the atrocities continue to carry out their criminal acts after being released.

To solve crimes like this, the police in our opinion, must work closely with people in the affected communities to arm them with relevant information. The police must, however, work towards earning the trust of the people without which they may not make meaningful progress. The police must engage closely with local vigilante groups and conduct training for them on how to profile suspects in addition to ensuring that the vigilante groups are not populated by criminal – minded people or even members of groups such as Badoo, which they are trying to checkmate. While that is being done, we must emphasise the need for the police to continuously engage local communities to solve crimes bearing in mind that various crimes, especially gang crimes can be handled differently, depending on the gang involved and their area of operation. Communities must also show willingness to cooperate with the security organisations and provide useful information to rid their areas of crime and other anti-social behaviour.



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