By Chioma Okezie-Okeh
the The Lagos State Police Command said it has three members of a cult group in the state in its custody.
Police said members of the Arobaga Brotherhood were among the miscreants who attacked motorists at the Ladipo bus stop along the Apapa-Oshodi highway in the state. The three people arrested are Godday Omoyigbo, Ebuka Igwe and Destiny Nwaga.
According to the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Superintendent of Police Benjamin Hundeyin, officers from the command’s special squad acted on intelligence gathered on April 5, 2022 that thieves armed men were seen in front of the Ladipo market dispossessing the victims of their telephones and jewellery. .
One of the suspects identified as Godday Omoyibo was arrested at the scene with a locally made pistol. He led the officers to arrest Ebuka Igwe and Destiny Nwaga who were among the suspected gang members who allegedly took part in the raid that night. They reportedly fled the scene when they noticed the presence of armed police.
How we control sales
Hailing from Ugheli in Delta State, Godday Omoyibo told Saturday Sun he was forced to join the cult Arobaga group when he realized his survival depended on it. He said: “After graduating from high school, I told my parents that it was necessary for me to move to Lagos and join others in search of greener pastures. They objected to it as I had no one I would live with in their house. I told them I had friends and they reluctantly allowed me to go. In Lagos, I started as a street vendor selling bagged water and soft drinks.
I struggled to survive until a friend of mine who was serving a man at the Ladipo market advised me to join them.
“I was lucky and was able to serve an Igbo man from Anambra State, but after two years he accused me of theft and kicked me out. It was 2018 and I found myself on the streets again. In any market, there are people they call Ndi oso ahia. Their job is to find customers and convince them to buy from a particular dealer. Some store owners identify with them because they can control sales by diverting customers to their favorite stores.
“The store owner will pay a commission and if you manage to convince the customer to pay more than the actual price, the store owner is supposed to give you the excess. I decided to join them, but along the way I found out that 90% of the money we make at the end of the day is split between certain people. I protested and received the beating of my life. In fact, they threatened to kick me out of the market if I challenged them.
“It was then that an Emeka told me that I had to belong to their sectarian group to benefit from the lion’s share.
“I was advised to join the Arobaga Cult group to which the majority of them belong. And as they said, things got better. At first, I just felt it was just an association until our number one known as Odogwu gave me a weapon to keep for him.
“I was terrified because I knew what would happen to me if the police found me with the gun. I begged him and he insisted that I was his new arsenal. Whenever there was a clash in the market between us and other sectarian groups, he used it to defend himself. Sometimes he used it and stole. Normally there is always a lot of traffic in front of Ladipo at night,” he said.
When arrested, Godday said he was not even aware that there was a market clash that would attract police.
“I had gone to Mushin to visit a friend and was on my way back to Ladipo when I was stopped by police officers. They searched me and found the gun with me. I swear that I am not the owner of this weapon; I only help Odogwu keep him safe.
“I am just a young man struggling to survive. I am sorry and I promise to return to my village in Ugheli if the police can release me. I am truly sorry,” he pleaded.
On his part, Ebuka Igwe from Nnewi in Anambra State claimed that it was Godday who introduced him to the brotherhood of Arobaga. “I am 26 years old and I come from a Christian family. My parents will be disappointed when they find out that I was arrested. It was not my intention to join the cult of Arobaga. But I realized it was the only way to survive. Initially, I started serving a man from my village, but a year before I graduated, he accused me of stealing. This is their style in the market; they’ll always kick us out because they’re not willing to spend millions on us after we graduate. It is a rule that you must give your apprentice enough money to start a business.
“When he kicked me out of his store, I had to somehow survive. I joined those who normally convince customers to buy from a particular retailer. In Ladipo, nothing such as working alone. We have an association. The money generated must be shared by all, especially the leaders.
“That’s why Godday advised me to join them. He said if I didn’t join them, I would suffer a lot. Initially I refused but when I discovered that most of the time I would have to leave empty handed, I decided to join Arobaga. You can identify yourself by handshakes. Things got better and I was able to rent a house. We even agreed not to report each other if we were arrested; I’m still surprised that Godday brought the police to my house to arrest me.
“The cult question is not hidden because if the merchants do not support us, we will not bring customers to their shop. This is the real reason why we collide. Those who belong to other cult groups will take a customer to the shop of a retailer who supports their group. We have a way of frustrating merchants if they don’t support us. It’s when you start dragging rich clients that the clashes happen.
There are customers who buy in the millions and when they leave we can get up to N200,000 as commission. We also agree to increase prices and everyone must comply. When others mess up the plan, it will lead to serious fights,” he claimed.
Ebuka claimed that he was not one of those who robbed people. He said: ‘Most of these boys normally rob people at night and I’m not one of them. I don’t know why my name was included. I joined the sect because I wanted to survive like the others.
The third suspect, Destiny Nwaga, claimed that he was already a member of Arobaga before moving to Lagos. He said: “I am 27 years old and before moving to Lagos I had joined the cult group of Arobaga at Onitsha market. I had a problem and I was advised to leave Onitsha before the people who were looking for me killed me.
“I was able to locate our members thanks to a handshake. At Ladipo Market, the entry fee is N1,000 per person. In Onitsha, it’s free and the sharing of the commission is based on the amount you have earned.