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  • For months, Badoo has been on the rampage and has eluded security agencies with killings shocking and spine-chilling.
Arrests have been made in recent times in Ikorodu following the rampage brought on by Badoo gang members
For years, street cults and gangs have been on the prowl in Lagos. From EyeAiye and other campus-based confraternities that have extended to the streets, to ragtag collection of miscreants who sit at road junctions, smoking weed and drinking paraga, to the ‘area boys’; (un)official revenue collector at motor parks, Lagosians have complained about the omnipresence of these groups while finding a way to live with them.
In recent months, a newer deadly group has reared its head. Badoo as they’re called operate in the Ikorodu axis of the state and are not content with disposing people of their valuables. They almost always kill their victims in the most disturbing manner – clubbing them to death with a pestle or grinding mortars, after which they decapitate the victims and sometimes drain their blood.
A lot of house owners have reportedly put their properties up for sale, apparently to escape the possibility of being the next victim.
Police have been on the raid in the last few days, picking up suspects and raiding hotspots, but how did this become this serious in the first place?

Left Behind
Ikorodu is located far from places most people consider/know as Lagos
From its Majidun jetty, Ikorodu is only 20 minutes and N300 away from the skyscrapers of Victoria Island. But it could very well be light years away in terms of development.
As Lagos continues to be coerced into becoming a modern mega city, Ikorodu has remained an outpost that is barely of importance to the billions of dollars successive governments see elsewhere.
Once upon a time, the fortuitous location of being between the expansive lagoon and a thick tropical rainforest made Ikorodu a thriving community.
Its richest indigenes earned their wealth by logging. The rest were businessmen who made decent living from buying and selling to visitors from the hinterland.
As a result, Ikorodu people developed a taste for the good life: colonial era mansions still dot the town till date. Folklore even has it that the Owambe practice of giving out souvenirs was started by Ikorodu women.
However, as the years went by and Nigeria experienced long periods of economic downturn, industries and factories located in Ikorodu quietly shut down and left town.
A bus stop in Ikorodu
Slowly the town lost its wealth and became an end-of-the-year homestead where the richest indigenes lived elsewhere and only came home for Sallah/Christmas celebrations.
The youth got by getting high. Marijuana grew in the farms. Local gin was cheap. What better way to escape your immediate environment than by rolling up and lighting up?
The return of democracy in 1999 brought with it a return of industries to Ikorodu: a few moribund factories reopened and newer ones sprung up. Nonetheless, it wasn’t enough to cater for the nearly half a million residents that relied on petty trading and subsistence farming for a living.
During the last two decades though, some people who were frustrated by the ever increasing rent of Lagos homes discovered that real estate was dirt cheap in Ikorodu. For the cost of a two-bedroom flat in Surulere for example, one could get two plots of land.
It wasn’t long before Lagosians headed 36 kilometers north, escape the congested and pricey city centre to an otherwise untainted suburb. The low cost made up for the long commute of most people.
Today, Ikorodu has one million residents, most of them out-of-towners who work in the Lagos metropolis. A few banks followed them, as did a few supermarkets – symbols of a middle class lifestyle.
Be that as it may, the actual Ikorodu natives have practically remained the same, trapped in the quagmire of poverty and forced to watch the new residents live the life many of them cannot afford.
It was certain that many of them would turn to crime.

Ratio 500:1
For its over 180 million citizens, Nigeria has a total of 370,000 police officers. Lagos State with 21 million residents has 107 police stations. That’s a startling ratio of one police station to serve 1,962 persons.
In remote places (at least away from the inner city) like Ikorodu and its environs, there are less than 10 police stations. Break it down further and the ratio of a policeman to the number of residents is at best, 500:1.
As a matter of fact, the police command that oversees the security of the area is in Ogudu – a good 20 kilometres away.
Not that they’re inefficient; they’re just outnumbered.
The implication is that people know there are underpoliced so they resort to vigilante groups like the Odua People’s Congress to secure their lives and property. Hardly an impressive alternative.
Members of the group are not particularly known to be upstanding members of the society: it’s made up of mostly illiterate layabouts who could very well double as street urchins.
OPC members openly flaunt their charms and dane guns – and there’s little anybody can do about it. A serving governor, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State once said publicly that the people feel more secure with the OPC than with the police.
It was only a matter of time before Ikorodu became a crime hotbed. Kidnappers besieged on the town, attacks homes and schools to abduct innocent citizens. Sea pirates have been known to strike more than a few times, fleeing off on the waterways back to the creeks of the Niger Delta.
With each incident, the police makes grand statements about how they’re ‘going to get to the bottom of it and fish the perpetrators of this dastardly act out’. Sometimes they do, most time they don’t.
So residents live in fear, relying on God to keep them safe as the organization responsible for the safety and wellness of all citizens obviously cannot.

The Birth of Badoo
A street in Ikorodu
It is almost a given that anywhere one turns in Lagos, there’s bound to be a street gang that’s a thorn in the flesh of the residents. They have become a permanent feature of the Lagos landscape.
Somolu, Bariga, Mushin, Ijora, Ketu, Okoko, Ijegun, Lagos Island and Oshodi are the most notorious hotspot where violence can spring up any time.
Around 2015, a wave of killings began in Ikorodu that was different to the now regular gang activity. These were no ordinary robbers: they broke into house in the dead of the night and attacked their victims with bricks, pestles and mortars.
It takes cold-hearted wickedness to smash someone’s head with a stone, cracking the skull open or beating them to death with a heavy pestle, not minding the blow-back of blood.
Their modus operandi made people start to think of them as ritualists who sell the blood and body part of their victims to witch-doctors who in turn use it for money rituals. When 54-year-old Sukuratu Salami was arrested in 2014 with human parts, she gave the going price of a head, skull and liver as N120,000, N20,000 and N5,000 respectively.
And so for months, Badoo has been on the rampage and has eluded security agencies. The spate of killing have been shocking and spine-chilling.
Vanguard news report in May put the number of the victims as over 500. Their victims have included pregnant women and children as young as two. Another victim had her unborn child cut from her womb. News reports carried all of these horrifying incidents everyday, yet they escaped police.
Of course people resorted to jungle justice. If any of them were caught, folks wouldn’t wait for police before setting them ablaze.
Suspected Badoo members caught by a mob
It finally became intolerable by residents and observers. In the last one month, the police force has had to collaborate with (wait for it) the Odua People’s Congress. The leader, Gani Adams met with police authorities to figure out how to curb the menace.
The collaboration is yielding fruit: successive raids in and around Ikorodu has led to the capture of several Badoo gang members, numbering in the hundreds.
For now there is a brief respite. The concentration of police officers in the last few days have paused the killings. Residents hope that it will be a lasting solution.
Nevertheless, the understaffed police force will always play catch up to these groups, that are scattered across the country. Badoo is one group. It is safe to imagine that if they were not as deadly as they turned out to be, they would still be operating as the dozens of other gangs in Lagos do: smoking, drinking and snatching bags at bus stops.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, there are 81 million Nigerians who are willing, able and actively looking for work. There’s never a better time to draft them into the police force than now.

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