• It is a den of destitute youths, police say
Forty-Eight hours after a street sweeper’s alarm blew the lid on a ritualists’ den at Obadeyi bus-stop, Ijaiye, along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, pandemonium erupted yesterday at the Ile Zik area of the same Lagos-Abeokuta highway, when another tunnel was uncovered by residents and some persons of questionable characters were found there.
Workers in the area had raised the alarm of another suspected ritualists’ den. Three suspects, one of them said to be pretending as a mad man, holding an iPhone, were arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and other policemen, who took charge of the situation to forestall a breakdown of law and order.
It was gathered that one of the arrested suspects had escaped into a drainage hole but was choked out with teargas by policemen. Owing to the discovery of Tuesday at Ijaiye bus-stop, the crowd, who were baying for the blood of the two suspects found inside the tunnel, had set plans in motion to lynch them first and then set them ablaze. They were stopped in their tracts by the prompt arrival of the police.
It all started on Thursday morning, when some passersby noticed some movements around the abandoned manhole in Ile Zik Bus-Stop. The passersby reportedly searched the area and recovered what was suspected to be human parts and raised the alarm, prompting the police to deploy some cops to the scene.
According to an eyewitness, simply named Kenneth, he said: “We saw some people in a manhole and attempted to bring them out. The police came and said there was nothing of such. When the people insisted that the suspects were hiding in the manhole, the police shot teargas into the drainage and one man jumped out.
“He was arrested, while one other person, who was found wandering around the manhole was also arrested by the police, who prevented the angry mob from lynching them.”
A senior policeman at the scene, who spoke under condition of anonymity said: “Yes, as you can see, we have arrested three suspects but we have not established the incident of ritual killings.”
The prompt response by the police saved the suspects from being burnt alive, though they were already beaten to a pulp. Although he confirmed the arrests, the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said it was a case of a destitute person living inside the tunnel, as against the case of ritualist as was being touted.He said: “We have to stop this culture of jungle justice and allow the law take its course. This matter is a pure case of destitute persons and not ritualists.”
Meanwhile, a combined team of police officers, the army and neighbourhood watch group have been mobilized to the area to forestall the breakdown of law and order.This is as the police foiled attempts by the mob to burn down a building believed to be harbouring one of the suspected ritualists. A mammoth crowd gathered around the busy expressway yesterday evening, hindering smooth vehicular movement.
According to reports, the building said to be a warehouse, is presently being guarded by RRS officers to prevent it from being burnt down.Owoseni added: “Our men personally entered the place and saw some people with tools dressed in mechanic clothes. There was no shrine and no human parts.
“People living under bridges, tunnels, uncompleted building and trenches should be careful because they stand a chance of being tagged as ritualists and being mobbed.
“On our part, we will go all out on an enlightenment campaign, and we will involve our divisional police officers to help in the awareness campaign. The enlightenment is targeted at those living in uncompleted buildings and under bridges on their vulnerability.”