‘They Smashed the Heads of Their Victims with Grinding Stone’: Badoo Cult Gang and Victimization Experiences in Lagos State

AuthorOludayo Tade,Bukola Caroline Akeredolu
Published date01 October 2022
Date01 October 2022
Subject MatterOriginal Articles
‘They Smashed the
Heads of Their Victims
with Grinding Stone’:
Badoo Cult Gang and
Experiences in Lagos State
Oludayo Tade1 and Bukola Caroline Akeredolu1
Violent cult gangs are ubiquitous in Nigeria, with their activities threatening peace
and security wherever it occurs. While there are many violent gangs in Lagos
state, not all carry the appellation of violent ritual gang like the Badoo cult gang
that operated in Ikorodu, Lagos State between 2016 and 2018. This study exam-
ines the victim selection strategy, victim experiences and modus operandi of this
violent cult gang in Lagos State, Nigeria. Using exploratory design, which relied on
in-depth interviews and other secondary sources, the study reached participants
through purposive and snowball techniques. Findings showed that the neigh-
bourhood structure permitted the gangs to kill members of many households.
Working through insider information, the gang was able to observe vulnerable
households and gained entrance into the victims’ residence through the window.
Arising from the findings, we suggest that elements in defensible space and rou-
tine activities’ perspectives can be used to improve defensible spaces and reduce
criminal victimization.
Ritual killing, Badoo, gang violence, crime, insecurity, Lagos State
The article interrogates the victim selection, victim experiences and modus ope-
randi of a violent cult-gang popular called Badoo which operated from 2016–2018
in Lagos State. In doing this, we argue that criminal behaviour occurs in space
based on neighbourhood factors and victim vulnerabilities. This is important for
Original Article
Journal of Victimology
and Victim Justice
5(2) 149–165, 2022
2022 Rajiv Gandhi National
University of Law
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/25166069221127375
1 Criminology and Victimology Unit, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Corresponding author:
Oludayo Tade, Criminology and Victimology Unit, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan,
Oduduwa Road, Ibadan 200132, Nigeria.
E-mail: dotad2003@yahoo.com
150 Journal of Victimology and Victim Justice 5(2)
understanding gang members and their use of spaces in launching violent attacks
and victimizing their targets. This brings to the fore how the environment permits
criminal behaviour and selection of peculiar targets. Through their mastery of the
environment and target selection, the Badoo cult gang were able to unleash terror,
victimize their targets and impose fear in the minds of residents. Unlike other known
violent cult gangs, the Badoo cult gang did not use guns in its operation; its weapons
were the pestle, mortar, grinding stone and white handkerchief. Existing works on
Badoo cult violence in Ikorodu have probed into how the gang affected the socio-
economic landscape of Ikorodu, the costs of the violence and the response to it.2 Our
article contributes to the knowledge on this gang by focusing on victimization expe-
riences that unpack how targets are selected and the coping strategies with Badoo
violence. Understanding this contributes to the gang literature on use of space and
target selection. It will also contribute to improving environmental design and aid
crime-prevention efforts through the narration of victims and the understanding of
their selection and what contributes to such.
According to Usman,3 Lagos has over 10 cult gangs with dominance in different
areas of the city. These are as follows: One million boys (Ajegunle), Fadeyi Boys
group (Fadeyi), Akala boys’ group (Mushin), Nokia Boys (Surulere), Shitta Boys
(Bariga, Oworonsoki, Shomolu and Palm Groove), Awawa Boys, (Dopemu, Agege,
Ogba, Iyana-Ipaja), Aiye and Eye confraternities (Okomaiko, Badagry and Ajah),
Koko cult group (Ipaja and Ayobo) and Arobaga and Eiye who are battling to control
Satellite town. However, there was a deadly cult group, Badoo cult, that dominated
Ikorodu area of the Lagos megacity and was noted for killing its victims under
mysterious circumstances. The available works on the operation tactics of Badoo and
its victim selection strategies are scant. What is mostly available are media reportage
on the activities of the dreaded group who operated violently between 2016 and 2018
in Ikorodu area of the megacity.The Badoo gang surfaced in Nigeria’s crime lexicon
on 5 June 2016 when suspected members of the gang attacked and raped a 27-year-old
Ghanaian who later died.4 Between 5 June 2016 and 1 January 2018 the Badoo ritual
gang was responsible for the series of killings that had a similar pattern—killing of
victims by smashing their heads with a grinding stone while their blood was wiped
with a white handkerchief, usually taken along during their operations for ritual
purposes. This handkerchief was reportedly sold at N500,000 for one.5 Drawing its
victims mainly from the Ikorodu area in Ikorodu local government area of Lagos
State, the gang killed no fewer than 30 persons6 but the nefarious activities of the gang
have only been privileged by media reportage and less of empirical interrogation into
their operations and strategies for victim selection and victimization. Considering the
2 Pius E. Adejoh & Ajayi Segun, Badoo Cult Violence in Ikorodu, Lagos State (2015–2018): Costs
and Response Assessment, 3(1)  153–171(2020); Temitope Francis
Abiodun, et al., Tactful Intelligence Sharing and Synergy among the Nigerian Security Operatives:
A Viable Strategy in Decimating the Badoo Cult Group Killings in Lagos, Nigeria, 3(10) Am. J. of
Humanit. Soc. Sci. Res. 167–173 (2019).
3 Evelyn Usman, Shocking Tales of Cult Gangs that Terrorize Lagos, 2022, https://www.vanguardngr.
4 A. Hanafi, Badoo Cult Killed 26 Lagos Residents in 12 months, , June 30, 2017.
5 S. Odita, Badoo Sells One Blood Stained Handkerchief for #500,000, , July 3, 2017.
6 The Punch Newspaper Editorial, Return of the ritual killings in Lagos, January, 19, 2018. https://
punchng.com/return-of-badoo-ritual-killings-in-lagos/ accessed on 28 October 2022.

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