A ritualist’s den was uncovered at the Obadeyi Ajala area of Ijaiye, Lagos, in the early hours of Tuesday, August 8, which has left residents within the environs in shock.
The den popularly known as ‘Ajele’ is an underground man hole which stretched from one end of the road at Obadeyi bus-stop to an adjourning street where unsuspecting victims are reportedly kidnapped unnoticed and taken inside the manhole. Inside the hole is a dark tunnel with lots of banana trees and mud.
The den was exposed by a female sweeper who works with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) after she heard the horrific cry of a victim screaming for help. The cry for help came from an underground tunnel, which linked to a canal at Obadeyi street.
Unfortunately, before passers-by entered the canal, the woman who cried for help had been killed, but her little baby was found. Under the tunnel, soldiers on a routine patrol of the area were said to have found different body parts and many routes linking to the canal.
Residents claim that the suspected ritual killers allegedly target pedestrians crossing or plying the road early in the morning and late at night, as the den is just about 50 metres away from the pedestrian bridge. They then drag their victims into the manhole where they are eventually killed.
In the course of their hunt, two suspected ritualists were set ablaze by the angry mob while the policemen who attempted to prevent the suspects from the mob action were over powered and inflicted with injuries, the Vanguard reports.
Another suspect was also arrested who later confessed to being part of a 28-member group operating under the canal. Items recovered from the shrine include charms, carvings, white clothes stained with blood as well as native soap, according to the Guardian.
After the discovery, irate residents stormed the scene to rescue the victims and apprehend the ritualists. Though people were initially scared to go inside the hole, efforts by those who went inside led to the apprehension of two suspects who were whisked away by the police.
Eyewitness sources narrate that the angry mob allegedly set one of the suspects ablaze, but he shocked the crowd when he appeared unhurt though the fire was burning all over his clothes.
“The ritualist said that no one can do him any harm. Even some people tried cutting him with machetes and all sorts of weapons but he still wasn’t hurt,” a source said.
Another source, Taiwo Ganiyu, a food vendor in the area told the Guardian that the police were able to find their way to the scene around 8 a.m.
Although Taiwo claimed that two suspects were allegedly arrested but the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Olarinde Famous-Cole, who confirmed the incident, said only one person was arrested.
“We are still investigating the matter. It is too early to say if it is an actual case of ritual killing. We shall make our findings known to the public at the end of the investigation,” the police said.
A police officer who allegedly participated in the operation narrates that two persons were rescued, adding that those rescued were taken away by the officers who were determined to get to the root of the discovery.
“The police were able to uncover the hiding place where the suspects carried out their evil acts with the aid of OP MESA soldiers who invaded the secluded territory. By 10 a.m. the crowd had already tripled. Onlookers from Agege, Sango, Ifo had arrived Obadeyi area in Ojokoro to witness the incident.
“It took several hours to dig into the den where the suspects had hidden their victims; about two persons were rescued and taken to the hospital, as they appeared unconscious. Since security agents were already on the ground, angry mob were prevented from carrying out a mob attack on the suspect, who refused to confess to the crime,” the officer said.