LAGOS — Seven suspected cultists, said to be terrorizing Ijora Badia and its environs in Lagos, have been arrested during initiation by officers of the Lagos State Police.
But some of the suspects identified as Nora Benson, 18; Monday Dennis, 21; James Francis, 31 and Jeremiah Okereke, 21, denied the allegation.
The police claimed they carried out the arrest following the directives of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatia Owoseni, to rid the state of cultists and cult-related activities which have claimed the lives of several innocent persons in recent times, in the state.
I am not a cultist
One of the suspects, 18-year-old mother of one, Nora Benson, said she was attending a friend’s party when she was arrested.
She said: “I live in Lekki but I used to worked in Ikoyi before I fell sick and went for operation. It was not up to three weeks I came back. I have a two-year-old son but I am not yet married.
“My friend, Blessing, invited me to a party. Everyone goes to parties even in a church we go for parties. I don’t know where she is now. She left with her boyfriend three hours before I was arrested at the venue of the party. I don’t know the address of the place because I have not been there before.”
Talking about the tattoo on her skin, Nora, who is from Cross River State, adding she got the tattoo when she went to play football in Egypt. “I drew it on my hand when my colleagues were drawing tattoo. I played with Ultimate Queens. I left my son inside the house at about 6pm when I was going out. I thought I would spend about an hour.
“So, I thought I was going to spend less than an hour at the place. I was troubled when I didn’t see Blessing who invited me. I decided to find my way out of the party venue so that I can go back home before the vigilante got me.”
Referring to the colour of clothes she was wearing, Nora said the red and white was not the dress code of the party.
She said: “I just decided to dress like this and I don’t know why these other people are dressed like me. I have told the police that I don’t have anybody around because I just packed into the compound about three weeks ago. I rented the apartment immediately I came from my village to seek greener pastures. I left my home town because the father of my child could not take care of me and my baby. He keeps fighting me, using cutlass to attack me. Instead of me to die with my child, I had to leave.”
We could not bribe the Police
Another suspect, Monday Dennis also denied being a member of any gang, adding that the police refused to release them as they could not bribe them.
“My friend popularly called Million, invited me to a party at Ijora Badia. We were drinking at about 10pm, when members of a vigilante group arrested us and took us to the station.
“Some of us who had money have been released on bail while they transferred those that could not pay to SARS. It is one Yetunde that informed the police that I am the gang leader. I am not a cultist. The policeman that interrogated me accused me of being stubborn, disrespectful and not giving him money. I am 29 years old and a cleaner in Ikoyi.”