A suspected cult member, Aliu Lamidi, aged 29, was on Saturday night stabbed to death after rival cult groups clashed at Chukwuma Hotel in Babashola Street, Itire area of Lagos State. The hotel and some vehicles parked around the premises were also set ablaze in the fight that erupted following the killing at about 10:50 p.m.
The violence broke out after an altercation between rival cult groups in the hotel, which led to the owner’s son allegedly stabbing Lamidi on the neck. According to a source, the clash started from a drinking joint at Oseni Street before it turned bloody, causing residents to scamper for safety.
Lamidi, a resident of Aboredhade Street, reportedly died at the hospital he was rushed to, a development that provoked his colleagues to stage a reprisal.
Although the immediate cause of the initial altercation was unknown, it was gathered that Aiye and Eiye cult groups, fingered in the cult war, have been embroiled in an age-long rivalry that has claimed many lives across the state.
Angered by Lamidi’s killing, group members of the deceased were said to have torched the hotel and vehicles in the vicinity before moving in droves to the home of the hotel owner in a bid to kill anyone they found.
Wielding cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, the hoodlums threatened firefighters and policemen from Itire police station who responded to the distress calls and arrived at the scene to put out the inferno.
The violence escalated yesterday morning and extended to Oseni Street, which prompted the deployment of reinforcement from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the Area Command led by Deputy Commission of Police (DCP), Tunji Disu. The police reinforcement prevented the cultists from wreaking further havoc as they chased the hoodlums and eventually arrested eight of the culprits.
Confirming the incident, spokesman of the Lagos command, Bala Elkana, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said security has been beefed up in the area. “The situation is now calm and seven suspects have been arrested. Our officers are still holding the ground.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the fire was started by some cult groups that clashed at a drinking joint in the hotel. Trouble started when a hot argument ensued between members of two rival gangs in the joint. The son of the owner of the hotel, who is now at large were said to have stabbed a member of a rival gang identified as Aliu Lamidi on the neck. The victim was rushed to hospital where he eventually died. Three vehicles that were parked by the roadside were also burned,” he said, adding that investigation was ongoing and all the suspects would be charged to court.
Area Commander Area D ACP Aliko Dankoli and the RRS Commander, DCP Tunji Disu were on ground to check the situation.