For months, the residents and students of Ile Ife, Osun State, have been in fear, following struggle of supremacy between different cult groups.
Apart from fighting among themselves, the cultists also attack homes and rape female students and residents.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, a rape victim and student of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, who preferred to be referred to simply as Adeola, to avoid stigmatiation, said she was raped last week Thursday, at Iremo area, at about 9:30 p.m. on her way to her residence.
“Two hefty guys in black stopped me at Iremo when I almost got home. They asked for my phone, which I told them I can’t (give them). It was at that point that one of them covered my mouth with another carrying me from my legs. I was taken to the bush, beaten and raped,” she said.
“I tried to locate my way back to the bus stop when I saw an elderly man who told me the street now belongs to evil perpetrators. That same night, the elderly man took me to Seventh Day Adventist Hospital where I was treated.”
At Orita Fogo, a resident who asked not to be named for fear of attack, said “they smoke, drink and constitute nuisance behind my window. They have burgled lots of houses and raped many of the street girls at night.”
Another resident, Akeem Ishola, a landlord at Ojoyin area, told PREMIUM TIMES that residents in the axis often have sleepless nights when the cult groups fight among themselves.
“The moment they start fighting and killing themselves, we lock our doors even before 7 p.m. because most of them look for hideout. And if care is not taken, one may be implicated. Myself and my wife, Iya Titi, always hold ourselves tight praying that they don’t kill themselves here,” he said in Yoruba while pointing his finger to the road in front of his house.
Last Friday, the police division at Moore in Ile Ife, arrested three suspected cultists for offenses bordering on breach of peace.
The suspects, Omojola Adeola, Adesoye Favour and Gbenga Akin, were arrested at Iremo area on Friday, after a cult clash. Many others escaped, the police said.
The Area Commander of the police division, Funsho Adegboye, said efforts are ongoing to eradicate cultism and crime rate in Ile-Ife.
He listed items recovered from the suspects as guns, knives and other harmful weapons.
Residents of some of the communities in the town say the cult clashes have reduced since the arrests.
Our correspondent, who visited communities like Iremo, Ojoyin, Orita fogo, Ogbingbin and others on Thursday gathered that since the police raid, complaints on criminal activities have dropped drastically.
The residents described the police action as proactive and said the police should sustain such actions.
“The police visit sent message of warning to all. We no longer see them in their hideouts. We have experienced weeks of criminal activities. We hope the police will continue to do what is expected of them,” Mudashiru Tope, a resident of Ojoyin community said.
Another resident at Ogbingbin community, who identified herself at Rashidat, urged the police not to relent in bringing sanity to the town and its environs.
“We hope to get more preventive security measures,” she said.