The police from the Adigbe Division in Abeokuta, however, arrested a woman believed to be the wife of the suspected owner of the house and rescued three pregnant women as well as three children aged between two and four years old from the alleged ritualists’ base.
Angered by the shocking discovery, hundreds of irate youths trooped to the area to catch a glimpse of the alleged ritualists’ base, before setting the building ablaze.
Some residents of the estate told newsmen that one of the victims had, late on Wednesday, escaped from the house, run into another building located about 200 meters away and pleaded frantically with the occupants to save her from her assailants.
The woman, who they said hailed from Abia State, was said to have informed the occupants of the building where she sought refuge that her elder sister sold her and her unborn child to the “people in that house” at the cost of N100, 000.
It was further gathered that the lady, who was just three days old in the den, alleged that her captors earlier told her that she would not be allowed to go until she delivered the baby for which her aunt had been paid.
Following the woman’s shocking revelations, her new hosts ran to inform the police, who resultantly raided the premises at about 11 pm on Wednesday.
As news of the discovery filtered into the Abeokuta metropolis, a mob mostly made up of students of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Ojere, Abeokuta, stormed the duplex in search of “a food warmer and a 20-litre jerry-can filled with fresh human blood” and used by the alleged ritualists.
After a thorough search of the building, the youths emerged with several items suspected to be ritual objects, including an ivory plate containing fresh blood, a coffin, a human image made of wood, a live scorpion, assorted charms and a number of other ritual items.
Also discovered in the house were international e-passports, identity cards of junior and senior secondary school students of the Sacred Heart Catholic College, Oke –Ilewo, who, according to unconfirmed reports, might have been victims of the suspected ritualists.
Besides the house, the mob also set ablaze two vehicles – a Toyota Camry salon car marked (Lagos) EKY 942 AJ and a Mitsubushi salon car marked (Lagos) AGL 971 BH – parked within the premises.
The fire would have raged on, but for the intervention of officials of the Ogun State Fire Service who rushed to put off the fire.
Policemen who had earlier stayed aloof and watched the angry youths suddenly started to fire live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the restive crowd, as police armoured personnel carriers were also deployed in the area and a large number of the mobsters were whisked away to the command headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta.
The command’s deputy public relations officer, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, gave the names of the rescued victims as Jennifer Goodluck, who is nursing a two-month old baby and Oluchi, a heavily pregnant woman.
The state commissioner of police, Ikemefuna Okoye, who later undertook an on-the-spot assessment of the area urged residents to be “vigilant, particularly about their neighbours”.