When the Lagos State Police Command announced that it had arrested over 100 suspected members of the dreaded “badoo” cult in their various hideouts on Saturday, July 1, residents of Ikorodu and its environs received the news with a pinch of salt. It was not their first time hearing such announcement and things did not get any better.
Just two days later, their skepticism was justified.The Badoo cult has continued to terrorise the Ikorodu area of Lagos, and the police and even vigilante groups appear incapable of curtailing the gang. So, who are these killers, what do they want, how do they operate?
Below are 10 things of interest about the group, particularly for the purpose of public security.
BADOO IS LIKE SHEKAU, ‘HE’ IS NOT AN INDIVIDUAL
A criminal, described by residents as a “serial rapist and ritual killer”, was apprehended at Ibeshe in Ikorodu on June 12, 2016. His name was given simply as “Badoo”.
According to Ikorodu residents, after every attack, he would write “I am Badoo” and paste on the door of his victims. He continued in a seemingly invincible manner until he was caught after he raped and killed a 27-year-old woman and her nine-month-old child.
A resident told journalists at the time that they had been trying over the months to catch him to no avail. “In order to succeed this time, the community came together, performed sacrifices, made incantations and went out for him. That was why he was caught,” he said.
But it would later become clear that “Badoo” was not a single individual but a group of sick, gruesome murderers. Like Abubakar Shekau, we now know it’s not just one person behind the name.
THEY USE A WEIRD KIND OF WEAPON
The cult group carries no guns or machetes. Their weapon is primarily a stone. In addition, they use clubs, preferably household grinding stones and mortar and pestle.
THEY KILL THEIR VICTIMS BY SMASHING THEM
Their modus operandi is to sneak into targets’ homes in the dead of the night and smash their heads with grinding stones or mortars.
Israel Ajao, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police and Chairman of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Corp, said: “It has become a disturbing trend and their modus operandi is worrisome. There is more to it than meet the eyes.
“They come into a house with no weapon except a stone or mortar, which they use to smash their victims’ head. They are not spirits but they come at the dead of the night, 2am, and they use the grinding stone and mortar to smash the heads of an entire family.”
THEY LEAVE WITH THEIR VICTIMS’ BLOOD
“After they are done, they clean the blood with white clothes and they escape,” Ajao added. “This is bizarre and it is fetish and a ritual.”
THEY’RE LOOKING FOR OPEN WINDOWS AND LOOSELY-SHUT DOORS
Most of Badoo’s attacks have taken place in houses where the windows were open or ajar, or where doors could be opened with one kick. Badoos don’t come prepared to break down high-security apartments. If you live in Ikorodu, it’s time you took a second look at your doors and windows. Replace them if you need to.
SURVEILLANCE BEFORE ATTACK IS A RULE FOR BADOO
Badoo doesn’t just attack; it’s surveillance first. Among one of the many residents to have confirmed this is Alade Adesina, who said: “We noticed that before members of the Badoo gang strike any area or building, they would have done a thorough surveillance of the place during the day time.”
Time for everyone in Ikorodu, not just vigilante groups, to watch out for who’s coming in and out, and who is loitering around, both day and night.
THEY KILL MEN, BUT WOMEN ARE THE PRIME TARGETS
“The reason why they kill men is that they can tackle and overpower them; otherwise it is women that they really target,” a vigilante member once said. “We got this fact from some of those we have apprehended and handed over to the police.”
A ‘BLOODY’ HANDKERCHIEF COSTS N500,000
One handkerchief used to clean the blood of a female victim is bought for N500, 000 from the Badoo guys.,” according to another vigilante member.
BADOO MEMBERS CAN’T FACE A COUNTER-ATTACK
If a gang member attacks you, it is advisable that you fight back or a relative does. The accounts of the few surviving victims show that Badoo cannot withstand resistance. For example, Olawale Anthony, a minister with the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry who was attacked by the gang on June 2, said his assailants escaped when his wife called for help.
“I was sleeping that night after a hard day’s job when one of the cult members came into the house around 2:00am through the window and hit my head with a heavy stone,” he said. “I lost consciousness immediately but my wife who managed to escape before the guy could overpower her, rushed out to call for help. The man escaped before people could come around.”
Caroline Orji, another Ikorodu resident, who almost became a victim, said: “We suddenly saw a man naked in our bedroom around 1am with a big stone. As he wanted to smash it on my husband, he shouted Jesus, and the man ran out. He dropped the stone on the premises, scaled the fence and escaped.”
CHURCHES ARE EASY TARGETS AFTER VIGILS
Badoo is on the prowl for churches where vigils have held and some members of the congregation are waiting back for the break of dawn. For example, when it attacked the Cherubim and Seraphim Ccurch on Anibaba Street, Weigh Bridge, Owode Onirin, where it killed three people, including a woman and her nine-month-old baby, the raid happened around 2am, not long after the church rounded off a vigil.
Clearly, churches now know they have to bolster their security, especially for vigils.