Epe residents on Sunday urged Lagos State government and security agencies to assist in ridding the area of cultists who regularly unleash mayhem on the community.
Speaking with newsmen, many lamented heinous crimes committed by the cultists either through gang wars or through brigandage.
Tunde Oluwo, a youth leader, said more than 20 indigenes and students had been killed in cult clashes in the last few months.
He said activities of cultists in the community were becoming worrisome and needed government’s attention and action.
Mr Oluwo said that most of the fracas usually happened between two rival cult groups, “Aye (Black Axe)’’ and “Eiye Confraternity’’.
“Scores were injured and many died in the last few months during fracases between the two cult groups.
“It is becoming frightening as residents don’t sleep with their two eyes closed.
“The cult gangs strike day and night; no respect for freedom of movement,’’ he said.
He expressed consternation that primary and secondary school students had been initiated into cultism in Epe community.
“Student cultists engage in frequent fights between rival secondary schools,’’ he said.
Another resident, Tubosun Adelaja, a business woman, said incessant cult clashes had rubbed off negatively on her business in the last six months.
“We can’t open our shops most of the times because we don’t know when the cult gangs will strike.
“At times, I open my shop by 10 a.m. and close by 5 p.m., whereas I used to close the shop by 9 p.m. in the past depending on patronage, ’she said.
In his complaint, Demola Olufowobi, urged government, Neighbourhood Watch, the Oodua People Congress, and others to support the fight against insecurity in the ancient community.
He said the rate of killings in Epe community was becoming alarming and horrible.
Mr Olufowobi noted that escaping cultists usually hid in Epe having committed crimes elsewhere.
“Epe community is a hideout for cultists in Lagos State.
“We are begging government and security agencies to come and flush the cultists out of Epe before it gets out of control,’’ he said.
Mr Olufowobi, who described himself as a peace ambassador, said he had done his best to fight against cultism, but that his efforts were not achieving the desired results.
“We need government, traditional rulers, religious and community leaders to support and help to tackle this unwanted menace in our community,’’ he said.
He said areas that are prone to cult activities included Noforija, Iraye, Papa, Lagbade, Bado Asale, and Oke-Oyinbo, among other areas.
Mr Olufowobi commended the efforts of Kamorudeen Animashau, the Oloja of Epe; Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, Alara of Ilara; and Babatunde Ogunlaja, Aladeshinyin of Odo-Noforija.
He also commended Wale Raji, member Federal House of Representatives; Abiodun Tobun, member, Lagos House of Assembly; the Nigeria Police Force and OPC for their relentless efforts to eradicate cultism in the ancient community.
He said the aforementioned played tremendous roles in combating insecurity in Epe.
Also, Femi Alonge, a resident, urged government to enforce and implement the law that bans cultism in the state.
“Anyone found wanting should go to 25 years imprisonment,’’ he said.