At an age his mates still ‘suck’ from their mothers’ breast, a 13-year-old Opeyemi Johnson has graduated into full time gangsterism.
But his sojourn into crime world was cut short by men of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (RRS), when Johnson and some suspected members of the notorious Awawa cult group were arrested.
He was nabbed after he alongside members of his cult robbed a lady of over N58, 000 and other valuables.
Johnson, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) student, said he was raised by his mother and knew his father, a Congolese
He was arrested around Fagba in Agege on Sunday morning after he, alongside 20 others dispossessed road users of their belongings.
It was learnt that the suspect and his gang members were returning from a street carnival before they started terrorising passerbys, snatching their bags, phones and other valuables.
RRS men on patrol were said to have caught Opeyemi who later led the police to arrest another suspect, Mohammed Korede, 19.
Confessing to the crime, the teenager said their leader, a certain ‘Ijaomode’ ordered them to rob anyone they saw on the road from the carnival.
“I followed my cult members to carnival at Power Line, Agbado Crossing. On our way home, our Capol, nicknamed ‘Ijaomode’ instructed us to start robbing anybody we meet on our way.
“We robbed not less than 10 people before we got to Fagba Junction. At this point, we saw a young girl, (Naisha Akiomon) and immediately surrounded and collected all her belongings including phones and jewelry. She later went to bring RRS men who chased us and arrested me while my colleagues managed to escape,” he said.
On how he joined the cult, Opeyemi said he was forced into the group by one Ola last year.
“I was initiated into the group about a year ago. It was one brother whom I only know as Ola that introduced and forced me to join the group.
“It was on a Sunday evening at Abattoir, Agege. Ola took me to one dark room and ordered me to kneel down. In that room, I met six other members already waiting for my arrival.
“The cult leader, ‘Ijaomode’ blindfolded me with black clothe and all the six members descended on me. They gave me a thorough beating.
“After a while, they stopped. They gave me alligator pepper to chew and also an alcoholic drink to gulp it down. One of them stood up and he drew tattoo on my forehead and below my eyes as sign of being a bonafide member of the group.
“Since that time, I have been going out with them for operations. I stopped going back home. I used to sleep in a shanty plank room at Abattoir.
“Initially, I did not know it would turn out to be this. Immediately I saw their way of life, I wanted to quit but they threatened to kill me if I dared,” said Opeyemi.
Reliving her ordeal, Akiomon said that she was on her way to Lagos Island around 4am when about 15 armed boys surrounded her and collected her N58,000, three ATM cards, Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), phones, among others.
“I had to run to the other side of the road to shout for help. Fortunately, I saw RRS operatives patrolling and I explained everything to them.
“They followed me to the crime scene but immediately the thieves saw us coming, they started running. The Police chased them and arrested one of them,” she stated.
When contacted, the state command’s spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of Police (SP) confirmed the arrest, adding that the two suspects have been transferred to Gender Department of the police command for necessary actions.