By Chioma Okezie-Okeh
Tomiwa Adebore is just 21-years-old. But in the Oworonshoki area of Lagos, he is seen as a terror and feared by residents because of his activities as a suspected cultist. A self-confessed member of the Aiye confraternity, right now, he is linked to the death of about 15 persons including a 62-year-old man identified as Baba Shola Adefashe. He was recently gunned down while sitting in front of his house to take in some fresh air.
Eyewitnesses who identified Adebore as the one who led four assailants, all young men in their twenties to commit the heinous act, claimed that before the old man was shot to death, he (Adebore) was overheard threatening to kill him for daring to give information to the security agents that led to the arrest of some of their members.
Now in police custody at the State Criminal Investigative Department, Panti, Yaba, Lagos, the suspect told Saturday Sun not only the reason he decided to kill the old man but also why he joined the cult.
His story: “I was born and raised in Oworonshoki. I tried my best to stay away from cultism. But unfortunately, they lured me into it. I dropped out of school and my parents encouraged me to learn haircutting. I did and managed to get a small makeshift shop in Bariga, But those cultists destroyed everything for me. They were always coming to ask for money and whenever I refused, they would beat me up.
“I closed down the shop and started doing home service. This was how I met Edgar and we became friends. One day, he invited me to a night party and when I got there, I was grabbed by some boys who dragged me into a room. I was beaten up and forced to take an oath. This was in 2017. They threatened to kill me if I dared to inform anyone of what happened there. My nickname is “Small Police.” They chose that name because, in Bariga, I am known as a peace-loving boy. The rule is that anytime there is an operation, you must join. We usually visit shops to collect money to support our activities. We make money during fights because the areas that will be affected will have their shops looted by our members in the name of fighting. I rose through the ranks and I served “Swagger” who is our leader in the Bariga Oworonshoki area. Those marked for death must have done something wrong and most of them are from our rivals, especially the Eiye confraternity.”
Listing some of the recent killings that he participated in, Adebore said three of them happened around a car wash in Ifako area of the state. “The first was an Eiye boy,” he said. “We followed him to where he was seated and smoking. We shot him on the head and fled. The second, who is also an Eiye boy, was killed with cutlass. We cornered him and everyone descended on him and gave him several cuts. The third and fourth person was killed inside their houses in Ifako. They attacked our members, so we visited them at night and killed them. The fifth person is that old man, Baba Shola.”
Why and how they killed the man
On why he and his members killed him, Adebore claimed that he was giving information about their activities and movement to security agents. “Recently, the police arrested many members of our cult group,” he explained. “They are now in prison and most of them were found with guns. We got information that it was Baba Shola that gave information to ‘Amotekun’. We have a vigilance group in our area and they are called ‘Amotekun’. They would arrest our boys and hand them over to the police.”
On how they planned his murder, he said: “Swagger called me and said that we are going to silence him forever. On Sunday, April 11, 2021, we went to his house at about 7.30 am. We were five, including Swagger. It was Swagger that dragged him out from the balcony of his house where he was seated. His wife and children tried to stop us but when they saw our gun, they ran away. Swagger shot him and asked us to give him machete cuts. I was the one who hit him on the head with my machete. His death was meant to send a warning to all those sending information out about us to security operatives.”
Another cultist nabbed
In a related development, the Lagos State Command also arrested one Adewale Sadiq, a private security guard found with a locally made gun by its operatives on night patrol. Now in SCID, Panti, Adewale confessed to the police that he is a member of Aiye confraternity. He claimed to have rented the gun from one Lekan Baruwa who is also a member. According to him, they operate around Ijeshatedo and Ikotun areas.
But he was anything but remorseful as he tried to justify his action. He told Saturday Sun that he felt that there was a need to own a gun after he was severally attacked by robbers while on duty. His angle to the story: “I am a private security man. I guard the 23 Road market in Festac Town. The market was recently demolished and they are rebuilding it. My job is to secure the equipment at the site. There are many miscreants in that axis and I have been attacked severally. My salary is N35, 000 and if anything gets stolen, I will be forced to pay for it. So, I decided to rent a gun. I used to be a cultist but I stopped following them after I got married. Although I have stopped following them to cause trouble, I still have contact with members. Baruwa is their leader in Ikotun and I knew that he is the only one that can help me get a gun. So, I started renting a gun from him. He would give it to me to use anytime that I am on night duty.
“I was on my way home on March 1, 2021 when three men in police uniform approached me. They asked me to open my bag and they searched and saw the gun. They asked me where I was coming from. I told them my work that I am a security ‘personnel’. They took me to the place where I work and my information was confirmed. They asked me if my boss was aware that I had a gun and I said no. They asked me where I got the gun. That was how the names of others came up. But I swear to God I am no longer an active member of the cult. I even relocated to Ijesha to avoid them.”
On the recent killings in Ikotun and Ijesha areas, he blamed Aiye for starting the fight. “They killed Tunde Alado, a known leader among the Eiye confraternity,” he said.
“During his burial, there was a reprisal, and our own leader in Ikotun, Monero, was killed.”