At least one person died and many others were injured on Monday when suspected cult groups clashed at Makoko, a popular Lagos slum.
Residents of the community told PREMIUM TIMES that the clashes had become a recurring occurrence over the past three months.
Yusuf Oguntimirin, the chairman of Ori-oke/Banana Community Development Area (CDA) in Makoko, said the violent clashes have created unease within the community.
“It started early last year just within themselves but this time around, it is escalating to whom it may concern. they have started killing people, anybody that comes their way,” he said.
“I don’t know the name I’ll give them, they are different factions. If it is to say they are fighting themselves, it would have been a different case but they kill anyone, anybody they see in the area, they machete them.”
Mariam Kusika, a resident in Makoko, told PREMIUM TIMES that the clashes were from hooligans from different streets fighting among themselves.
“They have been fighting for over three months,” she said.
“They might fight this week, stop next week and continue the other week. They do fight at night, from 8 p.m. till 3:30-4 p.m. the next day.
“No rest in the community once they start, one guy was stabbed to death this morning. If any member is killed from a side, the group will not accept it. They do it by score, they will be shouting 1-0, 2-0, they kill human beings like they are killing animals.”
Ms Kusika said they always alert the police whenever the clash begins but do not get any response.
“Even when the riot starts, when we call the police for rescue, we won’t see them, they won’t even show up after the riot. We only see them in the evening, patrolling after everywhere is calm and within five minutes we won’t see them.”
Mr Oguntimirin said it is difficult to confirm the number of fatalities from the violence because “when they kill themselves, they often carry the dead bodies away.”
“The one that was macheted on Monday died immediately he got to the hospital and was returned home for burial.”
He said the groups do not only fight and kill themselves but also break into shops, cart away generators and other valuables.
“They do start around 8:30 p.m., which means some people are yet to come back from their working place. Before now, they start at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. at midnight.”
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that armed police officers arrived at the community on Monday evening but left after a few hours.
Mr Oguntimirin said the police area commander also visited Makoko on Monday.
“Leaders of three CDAs involved, some elders in the community held a meeting with the area commander. He promised to cooperate with us and we also promised to cooperate with him.”
When contacted, Bala Elkana, the Lagos State police spokesperson, said the Commissioner of Police was aware of the activities of cultists in the state and has launched an onslaught against them.
“202 suspects arrested from different parts of Lagos including the Makoko area were paraded in Ikorodu which is known to be the base of their activities,” he said.
“We have young boys whose parents are there watching. We are looking at the root cause of the problem and how to tackle it.”