Residents and homeowners in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State have started fleeing their homes following the rising threat of the killer-cult group known as Badoo.
The fleeing residents, who are afraid of being the next victims of the deadly gang, have been moving in with relatives and friends in relatively safer parts of Lagos. Such residents have been relocating with their families on a temporary basis.
The gang had killed no fewer than 29 persons and injured several others in the last few months.
During several visits to the community in the course of the week, our correspondents observed how individuals and families in different parts of the town were moving out with some of their personal items to find safety elsewhere.
A resident of Ori-Okuta in the Agric area of Ikorodu, who was spotted by one of our correspondents on Tuesday leaving the community with two children and two bags, said the cult group had written a letter to their neighbourhood that it would soon visit the place.
The woman, who gave her name only as Yemisi, said she was moving out of the area to stay with her sister at the Ojota area of the city for some time.
She said, “For the past five days, we have not slept at night at Ori-Okuta because of the fear of Badoo. They wrote a letter and pasted the copies at strategic places in the neighbourhood, informing us of their imminent visit. Nobody has had peace since then.
“My husband is not in Lagos for now, so I cannot afford to take chances with the safety of my children and I.”
Another woman, Mrs. Janet Ogunwale, who was also spotted carrying a bag on her head with her little daughter strapped to her back at the Agric Bus stop, Ikorodu, on Wednesday afternoon, said almost everybody in the compound at Ori-Okuta had fled for fear of being attacked by Badoo.
She said, “Ori-Okuta is almost a ghost town now. Since words went round that Badoo had written a letter to inform residents that they were coming soon, everybody has been living in fear. Nobody sleeps comfortably at night anymore.
“It is not as if there are no more people in the area, but the number has drastically reduced since news of the letter got round. Though my landlord tried to allay my fears, I had made up my mind to leave as many of our neighbours had moved out already.”
A community leader in the area, who identified himself as Alhaji Kazeem Lawal, told Saturday PUNCH that since receiving the threat letter from the group, those of them remaining in the neighbourhood had organised themselves into clusters to patrol the area at night.
He said that even though many houses had burglar-proof windows and steel doors, they were not taking chances as according to reports, Badoo members cut such iron protections with saws after blowing a powdery substance into apartments to make occupants to fall asleep.
Lawal said, “Since the police have failed in tackling Badoo, we have to take charge of our security. It is true that many residents have fled their houses because they don’t want to die and nobody blames them; those of us who are still here cannot just fold our hands and say nothing will happen.
“We have formed ourselves into several groups, patrolling the entire neighbourhood at night. If you come to Ori-Okuta at night, you’ll think it is day time because the number of residents you would see outside will surprise you. We put our hope in God.”
The fear of the killer-cult group has also hit residents of other communities in Ikorodu like Odogunyan, Igbogbo, Ebutte, Ibeshe and Ogijo, some of who have also been fleeing their houses to take refuge with relatives and friends in other places.
A community development association head in the Odogunyan area of the town, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents that apart from the tenants, many landlords and their families had moved to other parts of Lagos where they have houses.
He said with the spate of killings perpetrated by the gang in recent days and the failure of security agencies to check their nefarious activities, everybody in the town was living in fear.
He said, “The issue of Badoo is no longer a joking matter and that is why everywhere you go in Ikorodu today, people are doing all they can to improve security around their immediate surroundings.
“In Odogunyan here, I know at least three landlords who have locked their buildings and relocated with their families to other parts of Lagos where they have houses. Many people are moving to areas they consider safe.”