The Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in Lagos, Nigeria has announced the arrest of a 13-year old boy, Opeyemi Johnson.
Johnson was arrested on Sunday by men of the RRS for robbery and for being a member of the dreaded cult group known as 'Awawa Boys'.
"As a teenager and minor, one will wonder how a 13 year old boy could join such a confraternity whose members are notorious for committing all sorts of atrocities such as : maiming, killing and disturbing public peace in Agege area and its environs," the RRS said late Sunday.
According to the security outfit, the suspect and 20 other members of the cult group were early on Sunday morning returning from a street carnival somewhere around Agbado Crossing, a boundary area between Lagos and Ogun, when they reportedly went on rampage and started dispossessing passers-by of bags, phones and other valuable items.
The police quoted Opeyemi, a Junior Secondary School student of a private school in Sango Ogun State, as saying: "I followed my cult members to carnival at Power Line, Agbado Crossing. On our way home, our Capol, nicknamed 'Ijaomode' instructed us to start robbing anybody we meet on our way.
"We robbed not less than 10 different individuals of their belongings before we got to Fagba Junction.
"At this point, we saw a young girl whom we immediately surrounded and collected all her belongings including phones and jewelry.
"She later went to bring RRS men who chased us. I was arrested while my colleagues managed to escape."
Opeyemi disclosed that he joined the cult group about a year ago.
"I was initiated into the group about a year ago. It was one brother whom I only know as Ola that introduced and forced me to join the group
"Initially, I never knew it would turn out to be this. Immediately I saw their ways of life and characters, I wanted to quit but they threatened to kill me if I dare leave the group," he stated.
While narrating how the cult initiation was performed, the suspect revealed: "it was on a Sunday evening at Abattoir, Agege. Ola took me to one dark room and ordered me to kneel down.
"In that room, I met other six members of the group already waiting for my arrival. The cult leader, 'Ijaomode' blindfolded me with black piece of cloth and all the six members descended on me . They gave me a thorough beating.
"After a while, they stopped. They gave me alligator pepper to chew and also an alcoholic drink to gulp in down.
"One of them stood up, he drew tattoo on my forehead and below my eyes as sign of my admission into the group. Since that time, I have been going out with them for operations.
"I stopped going back home. I used to sleep in a shanty plank room at Abattoir."
The suspect added that his mother never showed him his biological father since he was born.
"I don't know who my father is till now. My mother just told me he is a Congolese. I had made efforts to see him to the extent that I had to travel to Congo alone to look for him but I didn't see him, rather I saw some of his family members who told me he had travelled out of the country.
"For now, I can only talk to him through phone," he explained.
The RRS said its officials spoke with the suspect's mother whose name was simply given as Mrs. Johnson and that she noted that she had tried her best to give the 13-year old sound education and good upbringing.
"He is my third child. Though I had remarried but that doesn't disturb me from playing my motherly roles on him.
"His two elder siblings are in higher institutions.
"I have tried enough to ensure that he doesn't go astray. I enrolled him in a private school at Sango, I wonder how he got to Abbatoir, Agege. I gave him and his siblings all my best," the mother said .
Narrating how she was robbed to the police, Ooerayion Naisha Akiomon, said: "I was on my way to Balogun Market in Lagos Island.
"On getting to Fagba junction hoping to board a bus around 4:00am, about 15 boys surrounded me with weapons and asked me to release all my belongings.
"I had to cooperate with them, and they collected a sum of N58,000:00, permanent voter's card, 3 ATM cards, phones and other valuables from me. I had to run to the other side of the road to shout for help.
Fortunately, I saw RRS operatives patrolling and I explained everything to them.
"They followed me to the crime scene but immediately the thieves saw us coming, they all took to their heels. The Police chased them and arrested one of them," she explained.
Confirming the arrest, the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Dolapo Badmus, admonished parents to give their best to their children and wards.
She said that the teenager's confessional statement helped the Police to arrest another member of the group, Mohammed Korede, 19.
The two suspects have been transferred to Gender Department of the police command for necessary actions.