Spiritual soap given to an Eiye confraternity member by a Celestial Church could not save him from being arrested by men of the Nigerian Army during an aborted initiation rites in Lagos.
Parading the suspect with 22 others at the 174 Battalion, Odoginyon in Ikorodu at the weekend, the Commander, 9 Brigade, Brig Gen Moundhey Ali said the cult members were busted during an initiation ceremony.
He explained that based on intelligence reports, they raided their hideout and apprehended 23 of them after a gun duel with the cultists which led to a soldier of the battalion sustaining gun shot wound while two of the cultist were injured and one lost his life during his initiation.
The Commander, who stood in for the General Officer Commanding, (GOC) 81 Division, Maj Gen Enobong Udoh stated that the division wouldn’t tolerate acts of lawlessness and violence within its area of responsibilities.
However, one of the suspects, Douglas Bright from Ika South Local government area of Delta state, and a Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) dropout due to inability to pay school fees denied being a cult member for which he was arrested but said he had gone to a stream to bath when he heard sound of gun shot.
In an attempt to run away, he was arrested by soldiers of the battalion.
Douglas who wailed profusely explained, “I used to go to the stream to have my bath. I was there in the morning when I heard gun shot but was arrested by soldiers.
The 22 years old boy who agreed being an internet fraudster but denied being a cultist added that he had finished bathing when he suddenly heard sound of gunshot and scampered for escape before he was arrested by soldiers.
With visible tattoo over his body with different designs extending to his neck, regretted having those tattoo.
Douglas added that “the tattoo I have over my body was not because of cultism. My client sent me the machine I used because I used to be an internet fraudster.
“I am Banking and Finance student of MAPOLY, Ogun state. I dropped out because I have not been able to pay my school fees.
Asked if there was no water in his house that led him to the stream, further explained that,
“I was given a soap in the Celestial Church I attend to bath in the stream. I am not a cultist. Please, I don’t want to die,” Douglas reiterated.
Also speaking, another suspect Austin Okeke from Imo state denied being a member of Eiye confraternity but rather had gone to play football at Fakale near Igbosere.
“On Sunday was our final and when I got to the field, my friend said I should accompany home and later went to the stream to wash some clothes before we were arrested. I live at Igbogbo in Ikorodu. I am not a cultist and can swear with anything to claim my innocence.
However, Gen Ali pointed out that “in continuation of the crackdown on criminal elements and cultists in and around Lagos and Ogun states, led to the arrest by troops of 81 Division Nigerian Army 23 suspected cultists in the Eginrin Depression area of Ikorodu on 16 April 2018.
“Over 50 suspected cultists from “Eiye” confraternity were conducting physical training for new recruits, initiation and planning of robbery/kidnap activities.
“Their arrest followed an intensive surveillance and intelligence report to uncover the locations and activities of the cult group. Their arrest was preceded by shootout between the troops of 174 Battalion Ikorodu and the cultists after which, 23 of the suspected cultists were arrested while others escaped.
“Two of the suspects sustained varying degrees of gunshots wounds, while one of the suspected newly recruited cultist died as a result of injuries inflicted on him during the cult initiation.
“However, one of the gallant soldiers while combating the cultists sustained a gunshot wound on his left leg and was immediately evacuated. The soldier and the two wounded cultists are receiving treatment at the Battalion’s Medical Reception Station.”
Parading the suspects were the items recovered from them which included one locally made double barrel pistol, five live cartridges, five machetes, four Jack knives, two table knives, three locally fabricated axes with nail-like edges, and five mobile phones.
Others include one parcel containing substance suspected to be Indian hemp; two ATM cards, eight identity cards, nine passport photographs, packets of condom, rings and a variety of charms.
Gen Ali further explained that the arrested suspected cultists were undergoing preliminary investigations after which they would be handed over to the Nigerian Police for further investigations and prosecution.