No fewer than 500 members of various cults in Ijede, Ikorodu, Lagos State, told the state Acting Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, on Monday that they had renounced their memberships.
They also surrendered their weapons, which included Ak-47 rifles, pump-action guns, cartridges, axes and cutlasses to the police.
Dressed in white shirts with an inscription ‘Say no to cultism,’ the members promised not to return to crime if the government provided jobs for them.
The event was held at the secretariat of the Ijede Local Council Development Area.
Some of the ex-cult members present at the event shared their cult-related escapades with the reporter, saying idleness was responsible for their involvement in violence.
A resident, Temitayo Ibarahim, aka T-Banny, who said he belonged to the Eiye Confraternity, stated that many lives had been lost to the activities of the gang.
Ibrahim, an artisan and a National Diploma holder, stated that he and others decided to quit cultism after counselling by some community leaders.
He said, “My advice to those who intend to join cults is to have a rethink. They can learn from us. Many persons have been killed. It was a miserable life. It was frustration of joblessness that led me to it. From our side, we lost about seven persons, including Saheed, Bigi, Rooney Boy. I pray to God to forgive us.
“We will shun cultism once the government provides jobs for us. If we have work, it will be difficult for us to come together and cause trouble. I am into aluminum work. I also have an ND certificate from the Lagos State Polytechnic.”
Another former cultist, Adeyemi Animashaun, aka K-Blue, said all the cult members in the community had resolved to let peace reign and promised not to go back into cultism.
He said, “We have stopped rivalry among ourselves and we are ready to work. I am a bricklayer. We are ready to assist the police to arrest anybody that foment trouble in the community.”
A former member of KK cult, Azeez Gensi, said he renounced the group for the fear of being killed and “for the safety of the community.”
Adetoye Olanrewaju, an ex-Eiye Confraternity member, said he had wanted to renounce his membership for a long time, but was afraid that he could be arrested by the police.
He said, “Cult clashes in the community started with dispute over land and later became a supremacy battle. A community leader, Mr. Monsuru Giwa, approached me several times and advised me to quit cultism.
“I didn’t heed his advice initially because I was scared of what would happen to me if I stopped being a cult member. When I saw that he had persuaded other cult members to renounce cultism, I also decided to surrender.”
The Lagos CP, Imohimi, said the renunciation would reduce crime in the community and commended Giwa for coming up with the initiative.
He said the “ex-cult members” would be profiled by the police and rehabilitated so they could become useful to themselves and the society.
He said, “History is being made at Ijede today. The community and the entire Lagos State are happy because we still have people who can sacrifice their time for the peace and safety of the community.
“When I was told that over 500 youths in Ijede would renounce cultism and would submit themselves for profiling and rehabilitation, I was very happy. Ijede is setting the pace for other communities.
“Ak-47 rifles, pump-action guns, axes and cutlasses, among other weapons, have been surrendered to the police. On behalf of the Inspector-General of Police, the weapons will be taken to the Lagos State Police Command armoury.”
Imohimi, who presented an award to Giwa, urged community leaders to partner the police in the fight against drug abuse.