By Rotimi Ojomoyela
In recent times, deadly cultists’ activities are beginning to gain notoriety in Ekiti State and the development is assuming very worrisome proportions, as killings and maiming of youngsters continue to mount daily, as at last count, about 20 young men have lost their lives to deadly clashes between suspected rival student cultists in some tertiary institutions in the state.
Early this year, precisely, February 20, 29-year-old Sunday Abudioke was pronounced dead at the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, few hours after being rushed to the Hospital, following attacks by suspected cultists along the Ado-Ilawe road.
Abudioke was reported to have been macheted severely by his assailants who dumped him by the road in between Odo community and Ado-Ekiti.
According to a relative of the deceased who prefer anonymity for fear of a possible attack by assailants of the deceased, a good Samaritan who had spotted and recognised Sunday while he laid almost lifeless in pool of his own blood by the roadside, had rushed him to the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital on Iworoko Road, Ado-Ekiti, but his effort didn’t yield positive results as the deceased reportedly gave up the ghost a few hours after he was taken to the hospital.
Different versions of who and what killed the deceased had cropped up; while neighbours of the deceased in Okebola area of Ado-Ekiti alleged that those who attacked the deceased are suspected cultists from a tertiary institution in Odo Community, another person, who asked anonymity and resides close to Sunday’s shop, said he had seen the deceased enter a Sport Utility vehicle which drove out of the Crown Polythenic in Odo community, after he (deceased) closed from his shop on the evening of Saturday, February 20 when the victim was found by the good Samaritan.
The dust raised by the death of Abudioke had barely settled, when a 38-year-old man, Sunday Afolabi, was confirmed dead after an attack by men suspected to be cultists at the Igbole area of Irona in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital on February 28.
Vanguard gathered that Afolabi was hacked to death in his room while his heavily pregnant wife was away to attend a ‘night vigil’ at a nearby church.
The killing mounts
While further checks revealed that Sunday’s killing by a gang suspected to be cultists brought the number of such killings to 5 as at February this year, the Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Alberto Adeyemi, who confirmed the incident, alleged that Sunday Afolabi, was a notorious armed robbery suspect who had for a long time escaped arrest of the police.
Adeyemi said, “he was a notorious armed robber, whom we have been looking for. His family had picked his corpse up for burial as they claimed they could not afford the cost of either autopsy or mortuary. We are doing investigations into the killing.”
Several weeks after the incident, residents around Ojido market in Ejigbo, another community in the state capital, discovered a dismembered body of a young man tucked inside some ‘Ghana-must-go’ bags which were thrown inside the drainage at different spots.
The gory sight of the decapidated body of the young man who wore a stylish, youthful haircut and wore a ring and strange enough, he also had a white cloth wrapped around his waist, but his two hands and legs had been chopped off. He also had a severe machete cut on his neck.
Speculating, residents in the area gave different interpretations of the incident. Some said the deceased must have been a member of some secret cult. Others said he could have belonged to the clique of some internet fraud popularly known as ‘Yahoo-yahoo boys’ in local parlance, yet, others argued that the unfortunate youth might have just been a victim of some ritualists who had preyed on him the night before his body was dumped.
According to Toju Adio, a tailor in the area, “when we saw the body, the young man wrapped a white clothe that looked like those of Ogboni people round his waist. He had an ear ring and wore a stylish youthful hair.
“That is why people read some meanings to who he was in his lifetime: He could be a student cultist, a Yahoo-Yahoo boy or a victim of ritualists. The policemen later came to evacuate his body, that is as far as I know.“
Confirming the development, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Alberto Adeyemi said the deceased’s body has been evacuated and deposited at the mortuary. “We have evacuated the young man’s body. It is an unfortunate development. Sadly, no one in the area could identify the deceased. We have been requesting for information from people in are to avail us with any useful information on who dump the body there. We are still investigating, “ he said.
A few days ago, the tragic development reached its peak in Ikere-Ekiti, a sprawling community on the southern side of the state, suspected student cultists unleashed terror launching attacks and counter-attacks.
Although, security operatives confirmed only one person dead since the attacks started earlier in the week but the cause of the violence was traced to unresolved disputes among rival student cultists.
Not less than 20 suspects were arrested by the community vigilante group who have handed them over to the Police.
Security had since been beefed up in the community as Police now conduct stop-and-search on vehicles coming in and out of the town.
Residents now go to bed early while shops, business centers and places of worship now close early because of the security scare.
The Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Adejimi Adu Alagbado, confirmed in a telephone chat that only one person has been killed so far in the clashes.
Reacting to the development, Ekiti State Commissioner for Information and Youths development, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, expressed worry at the tragic incidents: “Cultism itself in the society is worrisome. I want to advise our students and youths generally to desist from it.
The state government will continue to support educational institutions in their bid to rid the campuses of cultism. We will continue to support them in policies geared towards eradicating the malaise. We cannot condone acts that are anti-social on our campuses where our young one must be brought up in a cultured manner. “