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Youths foment trouble under influence of drug —Oba Aderibigbe

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The paramount ruler of Odo Ayandelu Kingdom, Ikosi-Ejirin Local Council Development Area, Epe, Lagos, Oba Asunmo Ganiyu Aderibigbe, in this interview by SUBAIR MOHAMMED, speaks on the prevalence of cultism in his domain and an alleged attempt on his life by some cultists.


Why is cultism prevalent in your community?

There have been cult activities within my environment even in Ikosi-Ejirin. It is not restricted to my domain. It is rampant in my area down to the Imota axis.

About three years ago, many people were killed at Agbowa. I cried out to the Inspector General Police for police protection because there has been an influx of cultists into the area. We are easily affected by whatever crisis that happened in Agbowa because we share boundary. The IG approved policemen for us but the DPO at Agbowa that was supposed to carry out the instruction said they didn’t have enough policemen to do that.

In all, our youths engage in cultism not because there is nothing for them to do but because they prefer to smoke and engage in negative things.


You said there was an attack in Agbowa three years ago, was it cult-related?

It was cult-related. It was a clash between two rival cult groups. From what we heard, it was a battle for supremacy between the two groups. They killed one another and destroyed valuable items of residents of the town.

But whenever a fight broke out, the perpetrators made their way out of the town through the bush path because we share boundary with Ogun State. They either use our territory as an escape route or a hideout but we normally flush them out afterwards.


Recently, you alleged an attempt on your life, what really happened?

It happened on February 18, 2023, when I went for a function in Epe. When I returned home around 8.30 p.m., I received a telephone call that traders in the community were being attacked by some cults and hoodlums. They said they were enforcing the collection of the old naira notes.

At that time, the old notes had ceased to be a legal tender, as announced by the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). So, I asked some of my chiefs to go there and bring everything under control which they did. I also asked them to identify the culprits and the leader of the gang. They identified the leader as one of my brothers, Sikiru Balogun, alias Jagun. The following day, I invited Jagun to my palace to know their grievances but, unfortunately, I took some medication to relax. It was when I was relaxing that my eldest wife came in that some youths were on the rampage.

I went there only to discover that they had barricaded the road and set bonfires. I called for assistance and we put out the fire and cleared the barricade for free flow of traffic. They hindered the movement of travellers because our road is an inter-state road. From my place, you can connect Shagamu and Ibadan. So, travellers from Shagamu were driven back and those from Agbowa were also prevented from journeying to their destination. As we were returning from Egbatedo where we put out the second bonfire, two of the cultists were held. They were identified as Segun Omo Olugbo and Leke from Ijebu Igbo.

Another, Kudus Baruwa, whose grandmother was a chief in the town, was also held. Baruwa started breaking bottles before me and threatening that if those arrested were not released, there would be war. At the end of the day, he brought out a gun and threatened to shoot. I could not leave the scene for them to perpetrate their evil act.

Meanwhile, I had made a call to the Agbowa Police Division and the CP’s special squad at Imota. They responded swiftly to douse the tension but before the troublemakers could be arrested, they had fled through the bush. I sincerely appreciate the police and the military who paraded the town all through the night to ensure that normalcy returned to the town.


So, they did all these to enforce the collection of the old naira notes, was that the case?

That was what they made us believe but we know it was beyond that. The CBN brought the new notes from Abuja to my palace for those that were interested in exchanging their old notes for new ones. I told my town crier to make the announcement and people came to the palace for the exchange but none of these cultists showed up to exchange their old notes.

People from the neighbouring town and Agbowa trooped to my palace to change their naira notes. The CBN officials gave them the new notes and they were all happy. The cultists had evil plans which they perpetrated under the guise of enforcing old note collection.


What are these evil plans that made them attack the indigenes?

It is either they wanted to rob the people in the town or foment trouble through cultism. I have warned them several times that there is no room for cultism in my town. They are not going to be allowed in my town. If you check around, you will discover that our town is the most peaceful of all the communities. There was an attack last August. There were no casualties but they disrupted the peace of the community by brandishing gun and cutlasses.

Like I said, it was to foment trouble. Cultists are never gentle people. Many of them act under the influence of hard drugs. I once invited them to my palace to learn the cause of their problem. It was then that I discovered that most times, it had to do with the sales of drugs. It is all about drug dealing and sniffing.


As the traditional ruler, what steps have you taken to ensure that peace reigns in the community?

I have tried my best to mediate. I also reported to the former Commissioner of Police who sent squads but they fled before they could be arrested. I thank the Nigeria Police because after the raid on the community, many of the cultists left. In fact, residents in the community are happy and everything is under control.


What message of hope do you have for the youth?

My message to youths is that they should shun cultism and embrace peace. Cultism is destructive; nothing good can come out of it. They are free to come to me anytime to express their grievances and I am always ready to hear them out. They need to engage in productive activities because an idle hand is the devil’s instrument. They wake up in the morning, smoke, drink and lazy around the town. This is why they engage in cultism.

When I came in, I built a standard school with my personal money with the little income from the community just to ensure they are educated. And thank God for the Lagos State government; they have built schools for us to curb cultism and for our youths to do something good with their lives.

There was a time some people sent computers to me from overseas. I shared the devices to some of them to empower them. We have been having a lot of engagements but those who are not ready to do something good with their lives are the ones fomenting trouble.




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