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Police arrest main suspect in major cult clash in Rivers



Police arrest main suspect in major cult clash in Rivers
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The Rivers State Police continues to gain ground in its clamp down on cultism in the state with the arrest of the primary suspect in the violent cult clash that rocked the Diobu axis of Port Harcourt early in 2024.

Recall that on January 30, 2024, the Gambia/Ayama area of Diobu, Port Harcourt, witnessed a series of destructive clashes between rival cult groups. So violent were the clashes that they left several wounded and millions of Naira lost in damage to property.

 Several vehicles had their windshields smashed, and shops in the area were damaged and looted as the melee gained momentum, but the men of the Mile 1 Police Division intervened to curb the growing exchanges. Several suspected cultists were arrested, and the case was transferred to the Anti-Cultism unit, where further investigations were carried out.

As a fallout of the investigations, seven arrested were charged to court and remanded in the correctional center, Port Harcourt. The investigations also revealed that the leading cause of the clashes was one Ejike Samuel, a former leader in the Castle (Dey-Bam) cult group.

On February 14, 2024, Ejike, a 32-year-old native of Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area and resident at Okonkwo in Gambia, Diobu, was arrested alongside his accomplice, Victor Kokoriko, 29, from Sampo, Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA in Bayelsa.

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Ejike confessed to being a leader in the Castle cult group but decided to call it quits after he was restricted from interacting with his pals from a rival cult group, JVC (Junior Vikings Confraternity).

He was an armourer of Castle and was in possession of a locally made revolver that had been placed in his care by his superior leader in Castle, one Jamil, who he said operates as a meat seller in the local abattoir but coordinates all the activities of the cult group. The gun was handed over to him in October 2022. He also intimated to the Police that on several occasions, he had been badly beaten and ‘drilled’ for associating with friends from JVC, so he decided to cross-carpet to the JVC once and for all.

After he decided to quit and join JVC, he switched lanes with the revolver still in his possession and refused to return it. This provoked the Castle group, and they launched attacks of gathering spots of the JVCs to recover the revolver, which culminated in the violent confrontations of January 2024.

The duo was arrested on their way back from demanding royalties on behalf of JVC from dealers in scrap materials inside an area in Gambia they referred to as “bribabo”. According to Victor, they usually collect these royalties and pay to the ‘Doff-man’ (treasurer) of the cult, who then gives them a cut for their troubles.

He also spoke of how they were accosted by the Police in collaboration with the local Diobu vigilante. Victor, who was incarcerated at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre between 2020 and 2021 for cult-related violence that led to grievous bodily harm to a victim, stated that Ejike received a phone call from a certain Effiong, who was a ‘Senior man’ (a former cultist). While he was on the call and distracted, He was apprehended by the Police accompanied by the vigilante. They were searched, and the locally made revolver was recovered from them on the spot.

They have been cooperative with the Police in the investigations.


The Commissioner of Police, CP Tunji Disu, has expressed optimism that synergy between the Police and Community-Based Security outfits can yield the desired result of addressing the menace of cultism. He also commended the Men of the Mile 1 Police Division and the Anti-Cultism Unit for their ingenuity in forging collaborations to achieve results.

He warned cultists and other criminals in the state to steer off crime as the hand of the law was closer to them than they realised.