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Untold story of Kabawa: Lokoja teenage cult war

Teenage cultists have become harbingers of sorrows to residents of Kabawa, a suburb of Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State. The rampaging boys who have…

Teenage cultists have become harbingers of sorrows to residents of Kabawa, a suburb of Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State. The rampaging boys who have been terrorising Kabawa community for two years are mostly teenagers whose ages range between 13 to 17 years old.

Daily Trust Saturday  learnt that the boys kill rivals for pleasure which also serves as elevation of acquisition of spiritual powers to enhance their status in the cult group.

A source from Kabawa said a suspected rival leader of the teenage cult groups indoctrinated the boys with the believe that killing fellow human beings enhances power of invincibility and fame in the society. An elder said the rival leader was reported as telling his group that he has killed about ten people since he became a member of the cult group, stressing that ‘the more you kill, the higher it enhances one’s spiritual power.’

This ‘demonic preaching,’ he said is what inspired other teenagers to join cult groups to attack other rival groups as a demonstration of their superiority. “In bewilderment, we look how these boys are desecrating the land that has great people and scholars as their founding fathers,” said the source.

He described it as unfortunate, that this was happening in a community known to be home to the likes of “the late emir of Kano, Aliyu Maisango; late Emir of Bida, Richi Aliyu; Emir of Gwandu, late Mohammadu Aliyu, as well as Emir of Zaria, late Mohammadu Lawal Kwasau. Others are Etsu Nupe, late Malam Abubakar; Emir of Futa-Toro from Mali, Malam Mohammed Bashir; as well as Islamic scholar, Sheikh Babasu Abdulraham Dankodi and a host of others.”

“With these great people and leaders from this suburb of Lokoja, one expects that such a thing should not be heard of from this enclave. Teenagers have turned this place to a theatre of bloodletting; it’s a shame and disservice to our founding fathers,” said Alhaji Yahaya Ibrahim, an elder in the community.

Daily Trust Saturday  gathered from youths in the area that the teenage cult drama in Kabawa draws its livewire from juvenile delinquency occasioned by poor parental upbringing, effect of out-of-school dropout, watching of violent and immoral films, unemployment and influence of politicians.

“To worsen the matter, politicians have linked up to them to unleash terror on their perceived opponents,” said Malam Yusuf Abdulkareem, who was in the company of other youths in Kabawa.

A youth in the community said the teenage cult group have their members within and outside the state who sometimes join them during rivalry clashes. “Anytime, they are set to fight, they call their members from Adankolo, Rimi, Palace, Cantonment who are also bonded traditionally, socially and culturally in Lokoja and those from Niger State to assist them against other rival groups.”

He said in the last clash a few weeks ago, many family houses were attacked and four people were alleged to have been killed. A brother was said to have died while trying to rescue his younger brother from the clutch of the cultists in April.

Late Muhammed Kabir Hussaini, 19, was shot dead by one of the cultists, according to his mother, Hauwa Muazu, who said the cultists shot him on the chest when he came out from the house to quench the fire on his brother’s car.

Also, an lslamic scholar, Ustaz Ahmed Tijjani, who is also a Deputy Chief Imam and has led hundreds of people to demonstrate teenage cultism in the area, said people who want to loot property and politicians aspiring elective positions were behind the incessant teenage cult crisis.

Ustaz Tijjani who said his mother’s house was burnt to ashes in the April cult war said the cultists had invaded his family house on the pretext of looking for an alleged rival cult member taking refuge and razed down the house.

“The wailing and alarm in the community woke us up in the midnight of Sunday. I ran towards my family house and met hundreds of these boys. I told them to go and look for the person elsewhere, not here. One of them pointed a gun at me, threatening to shoot me,” he said.

The cleric added that at the time they set the house on fire, there were three elderly women with one deeply asleep but said they were all pulled out from fire unhurt.

He however said government seems to have taken the bull by the horn as many of those that took part in the last operation have been arrested.

When contacted, the Security Adviser to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Jerry Omadara, said the situation is now under control as security agents have been instructed to go after the teenage cultists and bring them to justice.

According to Omadara, the present administration has zero tolerance for crimes and criminalities, adding that government has the names of those terrorising the people of the area. “We have arrested some of them, including one of the ring leaders from Niger State. There is no hiding place for them, the government will go after them,” he said.

Shedding more light on the issue, the Kogi State Police Command said it is on the trail of the cultists and have arrested one of the kingpins from Bida, in Niger State. Police Public Relations Officer, William Aya, assured members of the public that such incidents would not occur again as the command has mounted surveillance on the area and are after the cultists.

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