Sanity seems to have been restored in Ijegun-Egba area of Satellite Town, following the arrest of a suspected cultist Ibrahim Abdulahi, popularly known as Tiny, who for several years was alleged to have coordinated and participated in robberies and killings that rocked the area.
Tiny’s arrest by detectives attached to Satellite Town Police Division came weeks after he returned from prison. Ijegun-Egba, a developing area, has been under the control and attack of several cult groups posing as land grabbers. One of such attacks resulted in the death of three residents in the community.
Police affirmed that Tiny, whose name has been on their wanted list, has been on the run since he allegedly murdered the three persons.
He is currently cooling off at the State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) where he is expected to assist the police in apprehending the remaining members of his gang currently on the run.
On the circumstance surrounding his arrest, the state police spokesman DSP Bala Elkanah affirmed that Tiny and four other felons found themselves in police net following a special operation ordered by the Commissioner of Police (CP) Zubairu Muazu.
According to Elkanah, Tiny’s name is connected to every major crime in the area, hence, his inclusion on police’s Most Wanted List.
As soon as he regained freedom after the last arrest, undercover detectives were deployed to follow up his activities, Elkanah said.
“The notorious cultist, Ibrahim Abdulahi, whose name sends shivers down the spines of residents of Satellite Town, Lagos was arrested shortly after midnight of March 23, 2019, at his hideout in the Ijegun-Egba area of the town during an operation led by the Divisional Police Officer of Satellite Town Division, CSP Chike Oti, to rid the community of the violent activities of the criminals.”
The operation, he said, came on the heels of the order by the Commissioner of Police earlier in the week in which he charged Area Commanders, DPOs and Tactical Unit Commanders in the state to clamp down on activities of unlawful societies, thereby authorizing raids of known enclaves of criminals.
“Based on this directive and credible intelligence received about Ibrahim Abdulahi, who had been on the run since he was linked to the murder of three residents of the community, he was arrested alongside one of his accomplice, Obinna Kelvin Okey, 23.
“During preliminary interrogation, they confessed to belonging to a cult group called the Aro-Bagger a.k.a. Vikings. Other cultists arrested during the operations include Ismailia Adebayo, 21, Bode Akodo, 21 and Adefesun Abdulwahab, 25, all of them members of Eiye Confraternity.”
Happy but scared
When Saturday Sun correspondent visited the community, residents were happy over the arrest of Tiny. They, however, expressed fears that he would soon be released. The majority approached were quick to acknowledge that Tiny has been a terror, they, however, fled as soon as they became aware that they were talking to a journalist.
“We are very happy that Tiny and his members have been arrested by the police,” said Mr Chukwu, a trader at the Ijegun market. He urged security operatives to ensure that Tiny and his members get a long stay in the prison. “I pray they do not release him again. They have arrested him more than five times; anytime they take him to Ikeja, he returned in less than two weeks.”
Continuing, he said: “On the day he arrived, he would parade the streets with his members laughing and warning us. And his return is usually marked with serious fight and break-ins into shops. They normally bragged that it is easier to get released whenever police arrest them,” he said before concluding on gravelly: “I am endangering my life talking to you.”
Another resident simply identified as Sunday, who claimed he alerted the police, alleged that Tiny was responsible for the recent killing of an innocent man in the community.
“I know that they will come after me soon but God will protect me,” he stated. “I am begging the police to help us and arrest the others. They have wrecked businesses, attacked our men and raped our daughters.”
He continued: “This is a developing area, so there are so many hideouts in this community. They usually lure our girls and rape them. They invade our homes at night and rob us and before the police get here, they are gone. We are happy. I must commend the police for a job well done.”
A third resident who spoke with Saturday Sun introduced himself as the Chief Security Officer of the area. He pleaded that his name should not be mentioned for security reasons. He said: “If it was in the past when we were allowed to carry arms, such a thing will not happen. Our neighbourhood was peaceful until the former IGP ordered that we should surrender our weapons. Since November last year, they have been attacking us without any resistance. We will alert the police but before they get to this place, those hoodlums have left. Three weeks ago when those cult boys clashed policemen were able to get here on time and arrest most of them. But we were shocked to learn that the anti-cultism unit released them again.
This is why it is difficult for people to come out with information because as soon as they are released, they will come for the head of the informants. I wish the present IGP will consider our plight and allow the local security to bear arms. Police cannot be everywhere, especially the Nigeria Police that has only one operation vehicle in each police division. No one blames them, though. They cannot perform magic. We are willing to help but not without arms because these boys are heavily armed.”
Tiny, a criminal profile
Insisting that he was not the one who killed the victims, Tiny admitted that he is a member of the notorious Eiye Fraternity whose members have unleashed hell on residents.
His words: “I am a street boy. Naturally, I became friends with young men on the street. Five years ago, they invited me to a party taking place in a hotel within the neighbourhood. I love dancing, so I decided to attend the party, which went all night. At 2 am, my friend Segun asked me to join him in one of the rooms that they reserved. It was when I entered that I discovered that an initiation ceremony was going on and most of them were boys from my street. Eiye Confraternity was recruiting new members.
Most importantly, I have a beautiful girlfriend in that neighbourhood; I do not want them to disturb her or me whenever I visit her––in our area, if a girl is beautiful and does not belong to one of their members, they will plan and rape her.
I did not resist. I immediately agreed to be initiated. All they did was to flog me more than 100 times. Then they splashed a hot drink popularly known as Chelsea in my eyes. I was also forced to take a large quantity of the gin until I was drunk and passed out. When I woke up, I was told of the rules and regulations. They nicknamed me Tiny, I guess because of the size of my body. I am expected to pay N500 a month during the meeting. ”
Tiny claimed he was not carried away by the activities of the cult “because his family was monitoring his activities.”
He said: “I decided to work for my cousin who is a truck driver at Apapa. It was necessary so that anytime police arrest me, I will tell them that I have a job and if they investigate, they will discover that it is true.”
He confessed to having been arrested three times and released “because police cannot prove that I am a criminal, but just a harmless cult boy.”
Normally, whenever cult boys clash, they take advantage of the fight to rob and attack innocent people.
Because of that, police will come and raid the area, he explained.
“The first time it was the private security in the area that arrested us and handed us over to the anti-cult unit. My parents intervened and I was released weeks later.
A month after my release, they fought again and because most of these boys are my friends, police arrested me. My parents came to my rescue and I was released weeks later.
The third time, boys decided to raid the community, although, I did not participate, my friends were amongst them, so naturally, I gained a bit. They gave me money, which I collected, because of that police came and arrested me. This time around, I was charged to court and I spent some months in prison before the lawyer that my parents hired was able to release me on bail. The matter is still in court.”
On the alleged murder cases that he was indicted, Tiny claimed he was not the killer.
He put up a defence: “I am not a field member; I am one of the financiers. We are the ones who regularly fund the activities of Eiye in our area.”
He gave his version of the event thus: “When I regained my freedom, there were lots of issues on the ground. Cult members refused to abide by the rule; they kept disturbing one girl in our area who belongs to us. This caused a problem and there was a clash, one of our boys, who is currently on the run was the one who killed the man. I was around there, but I was not the one who killed him.”
Tiny also affirmed the presence of cult groups in the area. “This is a developing area and the landowners need us to help them whenever they have a stubborn buyer. We are not the only cult group in this zone.”
The suspect, lamenting, “I am finished, my generation is cursed” pleaded to be transferred to the anti-cultism unit. “Nobody is praying that they should take him or her to SARS Ikeja. I am ready to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth,” he pleaded.