Lagos State command of the Nigeria police said it arrested 202 suspected cultists in Lagos between February and May this year.
The command also said that it apprehended 105 armed robbery suspects within the period under review.
The command has, therefore, read the riot act to hoodlums, warning that they should steer clear of the state or risk the wrath of the command.
Commissioner of Police in charge of the state, Zubairu Muazu, who made this disclosure while parading over 300 suspects including armed robbers and members of different secret cult gangs in Ikorodu area of the state said the force was winning the war against crime.
Speaking with journalists in Ikorodu, Muazu, said that the command had painstakingly put in place measures to reclaim the destiny of Nigerian youths who have chosen the path of crime by engaging in various cult activities.
Muazu said that cultism is evil and it is a crime against the collective will of the people, noting that when cultism thrives, surely other heinous crimes like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping etc will thrive too.
He said that defeating cultism would therefore mean defeating all heinous crimes in the state, as virtually every major crimes recorded in the state have link to cultism.
According to him, the command arrested 202 notorious cult members from February when he assumed duty till date.
He said that those arrested were mainly members of Aiye and Eiye confraternity adding that some of those arrested had been charged to court and their cases were at different stages of prosecution.
“We have also recovered 54 assorted weapons. Other successes recorded by the command include the arrest of 105 suspects for armed robbery and seven suspects for kidnapping.
“The command has also successfully foiled 93 armed robbery attempts through prompt response to distress calls from members of the public at different locations in the state.
“Tackling cultism requires a holistic approach. We intend to adopt community policing approach. We will soon embark on sensitisation programmes in collaboration with Police Community Relations Committee and other stakeholders in Schools, the neighbourhoods and media. We will equally establish Police-Students Relations Committee, comprising all the students’ union presidents and other students leaders. We will organise town hall meetings in areas mostly affected by cult activities. The meetings will discuss extensively, the root causes of cultism and gangsterism in the affected areas and the possible solutions.
“The various cult groups and gangs identified within the state include Aiye and Eiye confraternities, One Million Boys in Ajengule, Fadeyi Boys at Fadeyi area, Akala Boys in Mushin area, Nokia Group in Surulere area, Shitta Boys in Bariga, Oworonshoki, Shomolu and Palm Grove areas, Awawa boys in Dopemu, Agege Ogba and Iyana Ipaja.
“We have observed the activities of those cult groups and gangs for the last one month and credible intelligence was gathered. We have reviewed our strategies and have initiated far-reaching approach to totally eradicate this menace. We have re-jigged our Anti Cultism Unit to effectively combat those miscreants who have chosen the wrong path of life. We are taking the fight to their door steps; we are all out for them. We will fish them out, isolate them and bring them to justice. We are battle ready to uproot every cultists den and hideouts until they are totally defeated,” he added.
He disclosed that the special operation which the command flagged off code named “Operation Crush” was specifically to end cultism and gangsterism in the state.
He said that the special operation would be directly under his command while area commanders and divisional police officers would personally lead the various operations in their areas of jurisdiction.
“Let me therefore, use this medium to sound a warning to members of those gangs and cult groups to either renounce membership of such cults and gangs or be prepared to face the full weight of the law. This is a promise. And to parents and guardians of those youths, my message is simple, monitor the activities and movements of your children and wards and make sure that their mission on the public space are legitimate otherwise they should steer clear or risk the wrath of the police.”
“Let me call on everyone, both old and young, rich and poor to join us in this noble fight. We must cleanse our communities of the few criminal elements who have threatened our social and economic well-being. Together we can subdue them,” he said.