Residents of Otuja Harmony Estate in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State have decried the continuous invasion of the Eyita Sabo Cemetery by suspected ritualists and robbers.
According to the residents, while ritualists harvest human organs in the cemetery, robbers use it as a hideout for criminal activities.
PUNCH Metro gathered that a suspected ritualist, Kolawole, was arrested on December 10, 2021 with a human hand and heart which he exhumed from a grave in the cemetery.
The secretary of the estate association, Adebisi Badejo, who alleged that the criminals operated unchallenged, said various solutions proposed to the local government chairman were not implemented.
He said, “We gave the council chairman six solutions. We asked the council to illuminate the cemetery, cut the grass, raise the fence and fortify security to wade off criminals using the place as their hideout. To our surprise, the advice was not heeded.
“The light installed in the cemetery is just three. In December last year, a suspect was arrested in the cemetery when he came to exhume a fresh corpse and cut off the hand and heart. The cemetery has become a threat zone where women are raped; their phones and other valuables are collected from them on a daily basis. We are also calling on the Lagos State Government and other political office holders from the zone to come to our aid.”
A resident, Ibrahim Ishola, told PUNCH Metro that it had become a norm for suspected ritualists to enter the cemetery and harvest human organs.
He said, “This is not the first time ritualists will scale the fence of the cemetery to exhume corpses and cut off any part of human bodies they wanted. Leaders in other communities make a lot of effort to ensure that the cemetery in their area is properly secured, but the reverse is the case in our community.
“It was after the suspect (Kolawole) who exhumed a corpse was arrested that the council chairman came to install light and cut the trees, but the light installed is not enough compared to how big the cemetery is. Sincerely, there is no corpse buried in the cemetery that is safe.”
Another resident, who identified herself simply as Iyabo, said she had been robbed several times in the cemetery area.
She said, “The day Kolawole was arrested, I was coming out of the toilet around 1am when I heard him asking the guards why they arrested him after he gave them money to access the cemetery.
“Immediately, one of the security men told him to drop his gun and the bag that contained the heart and hand he cut from the corpse. A few minutes later, the guards overpowered the suspect and arrested him with the exhibits.
“Sometimes when I am in my room, I hear people being attacked by robbers; those attacked are mostly women. They also rape them and collect their valuables. I am appealing to the council chairman to provide adequate power supply to the cemetery and the community to prevent further breakdown of law and order.”
When contacted, the Ikorodu LGA Chairman, Wasiu Adesina, said the council had started renovating the cemetery.
He said, “I am not aware of their complaints, but we are trying to improve on the condition of the cemetery. When we came in, we tried to improve on the standard and structure of the cemetery; I have started fencing the cemetery and we are now on the installation of solar power to ensure that people do not use it as a hideout.
“We are installing solar energy in form of streetlights in the community and the fencing is about 70 per cent completed. We also engaged the services of some vigilantes to walk around the cemetery and recently, they arrested one Kolawole, who came in to harvest a corpse.”