Outrage as Ikorodu vigilance groups lynch comedian

Nigerians on social media yesterday condemned the killing of a comedian, Paul Chinedu, alias MC Think Twice by a vigilance group in Ikorodu area of Lagos State, who accused him of being a member of the dreaded ritual gang, Badoo.

Chinedu was one of three men set ablaze on Sunday morning at Odogunyan, Ikorodu after they were apprehended by vigilance group along Oju-Emuren Street. According to residents, the suspect who were caught around 1a.m., were said to have told the local security officials that they were going to tow a broken down vehicle, but their accusers were not convinced.

The three men were lynched and burnt, while the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) they drove in was also set ablaze. Chinedu, who was said to be returning from a show, had a flat tyre and sought help from the other two victims.

 It was gathered that the trio rode in the SUV and were heading to the place the comedian’s vehicle broke down before they were stopped. Not convinced by their explanations, the vigilance group called out residents and the victims were burnt alive before dawn.

Chinedu’s friends, who learnt of his murder, lamented the barbaric action, urging the police to arrest and prosecute the culprits. The deceased’s friend, Ifeoluwa Olaoye, berated the vigilance group for resorting to jungle justice without investigation.

According to her, Chinedu was billed to perform at ‘Salt the Album’ launch on July 22, but was killed as a result of unverified accusation. “After receiving calls this morning that you were part of the people burnt to death by angry mob at Ikorodu, tears roll down my cheek! They mistook you for Badoo cultist, but you were just an entertainer, moving from pillar to pillar to earn a living and make it to the top!

“The angry mob never thought twice as your stage name implies (MC Think Twice). I still find hard it to believe that you are no more. The political elites have failed us yet we still strive to make a living without indulging in criminal act. Each time you performed on stage, I saw the next Basketmouth, AliBaba, AY in you but the only thing the angry mob could see in you was Badoo cult and they cut your dream short,” she said.

Coordinator, Ikorodu Ambassadors Group, Rasheed Fatuga, also condemned the killing of suspects, urging residents to be law abiding. While acknowledging that security agencies have failed Ikorodu residents, Fatuga appealed to the people not to allow bitterness and the thirst for vengeance rob them of their humanity.

“Are we going to just fold our arms and do absolute nothing about the security challenges we are facing in Ikorodu? No, we cannot let that happen. But we cannot turn ourselves into killers and murderers like them. We cannot let them take away our humanity. We cannot let them fill our consciences with regret.

 Let us say no to setting people ablaze, beating people to death and use of tyres to burn people. It is a crime. Let’s do the right thing by handing criminals to the police, and make sure we follow it up.”

In the aftermath of the outrage that trailed last Sunday’s mob action, residents of the area have insisted that the lynched victims were Badoo members. According to the residents, the suspects could not identify themselves before they were taken to the palace of the community leader, where the angry residents insisted on jungle justice.

According to one of the residents, Asaolu Adetunji Paul, the victims were found with items synonymous to the cult group, which provoked the mob action. “All of you supporting the deceased don’t know what really happened. I live and work very close to the venue where this happened. The area is very hot these days. People are no longer sleeping anymore.

“When they were stopped by the vigilance group, they asked them where they were coming from and they replied Delsam hotel, which is located off Shagamu road at the back of Access Bank. They were asked where they were going to and they said their car was having fault and they were going to move it. They were taken to the Baale for more interrogation.

“On getting to the palace, the man asked them to take them to the venue where their car broke down, but they could not, which means they were lying. That was when they now suggested to check their truck and later found out that the guys were carrying oil and stones.

“The community leader even suggested that they should be kept till day break but the people were angry just because of the many families the gang have wiped out. They were also asked if they know anybody around Ikorodu that can identify them but the answer was no.”

Another resident disclosed that they found all the implements used by the group (a big grinding stone, a gallon of oil presumed to be the infectious chemical used to make their victims fall deeply asleep and a cutlass).”

“If I may ask please, what where those stuffs doing inside the car of a comedian coming back from a show by 2a.m.? In fact, the third guy confessed to being a Badoo member and warned us against many of those vacancy posters,” he said.

But for the intervention of soldiers, Ikorodu residents would have lynched another suspected Badoo cult member yesterday. The suspect was allegedly caught by members of the Vigilance Group of Ikorodu, Onyabo, behind Access Bank, Benson Street around 2a.m.

 It was gathered that the suspect attempted to enter the home of an old woman, who lives with her grandchild. Unfortunately, the old woman sighted him and raised alarm, which attracted other residents.

He was promptly apprehended and his bag searched. It was gathered that four Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards, black oil, handkerchief, army t-shirt and charms were found in it. Upon the discovery, the mob descended on the suspect and made to lynch him.

Efforts by the police to take him away were abortive, hence, soldiers were invited to prevent the mob from killing him, said Alaba, a resident. According to him, the mob wanted to kill the suspect particularly because his mother came out and told the crowd he was a bad boy.

Alaba said: “The crowd was surprised when the suspect’s mother came out and showed everybody the cutlass injury he inflicted on her. She said he was a bad boy. People wanted to kill him and refused to hand him over to the police. But soldiers came in and took the suspect away.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command said it has begun screening of 138 suspected members of the dreaded cult group arrested on Saturday in Ikorodu. The command’s spokesperson, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the command had embarked on screening of the suspects to identify those directly involved in the criminal activities.

Also, the chairman, Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Agency, retired DIG Israel Ajao, said the agency would adopt the traditional methodology to unravel the mystery behind the cult killings.

Ajao said the killings had a ritual undertone, adding that there was need for security operatives to go beyond the conventional approach in tackling the ritual killings .

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