The pseudonym, Boboski or Bobiski used in identifying Bobo Lenyie is known to many residents of Gokana Local Government Area, a place in Rivers State fully populated by Ogoni people.
Lenyie has gained notoriety for several years as a cultist. Some said that though the young man from Nwebiera community was initially not a cultist, communal clashes between his community and Bariko exposed him to many activities of cult groups in the area.
In his early thirties with his educational background shrouded in secrecy, Boboski, said to be famous among gunmen for his shooting prowess, became the courted bride of nocturnal and deadly groups perfect in intimidating, killing and maiming their targets. While he was feared by many as his criminal profile soared, the people of Gokana bore the brunt of his escapades.
From land dispute and communal clashes, Boboski moved into common crime among deviants in the area; illegal oil bunkering, where he was said to have enriched himself alongside his late boss, Korobe Loveday Menele, shot and killed by soldiers. Menele was so rich through his involvement in oil theft that his name became ‘Oil Minister’, a sobriquet, it was gathered, earned him measured importance and popularity.
Surprisingly, Menele’s tragic end didn’t make his second-in-command, Boboski, to turn a new leaf.
An indigene of Gokana, who identified himself as Kent Gbor, said Boboski’s initial interest was to protect his community, Nwebiera, from a neighbouring community that was a torn in its flesh.
He added that the man, in his early 30s, deviated from the defence of his people and took to violent crimes. Gbor noted that even major political parties in the state were comfortable enlisting Boboski to achieve some clandestine motives.
Gbor said, “It was the communal clash between two communities that forced him into cultism. Barako community was oppressing Nwebiera community some years back. Our (Nwebiera) schools were destroyed then and we had no primary school. He stood and defended his community. He became popular on issues related to guns.
“Again, due to his ability to target and shoot well and also his strength, cultists integrated him into cultism. This happened between 2010 and 2011. His ability was known and politicians use him. There was a time the state All Progressives Congress used him and after that, the Peoples Democratic Party used him. When he is in one group, the opposing group is always afraid.”
Also, a native of Nwebiera, said the young militant was not only known as a notorious cultist in the community, adding at a point, he became a strong member of the Greenlander Cult group, funded by his late boss, Menele, from B-Dere in Gokana LGA.
“Most people only know him by his nickname. The name is Boboski. I don’t know his background; I only know him as a cultist. He broke out from Solo Ndigbara group; they formed what they called Greenlanders, funded by the late Menele from B-Dere. Boboski was 2-I-C (second in command) to the late Menelee that was killed in Gio by soldiers.
“Like I said, we know him as a notorious cultist and nothing more. He is one of the major mercenaries in the communal clash between Lewe and Bomu in Gokana. He used to be hired by one of the communities. Apart from supplying most of the guns, he also took part in the shooting. I don’t know how rich he was compared to the late Menele,” the indigene, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of attack by Boboski’s men, added.
Also, Goddy from Gokana, alleged that apart from oil theft, Boboski was also into armed robbery, adding that the cult leader became a community warlord and turned his attention into illegal oil bunkering, armed robbery and other crimes.
The source added that Boboski buried his late mother sometime in 2018 and afterwards surrendered to an amnesty brokered by a Reverend Father, Don Aadum, but later returned to his past ways.
“Boboski branded himself that name. His name is Bobo Lenyie. It is the name his parents christened him. He is the leader of Greenlander in Gokana. They have been terrorising the area for months now. When they want something and they don’t get it, they terrorise everyone openly. When they try to force their rivals to join them and they refuse, they shoot and kill and brag about it.
“His father died long ago, but he buried his mother sometime last year (2018) and at a point, he surrendered to God after one Reverend Father Don Aadum gave them amnesty and he was among those who submitted arms to the government and was helping the Army to arrest other criminals in the area that were fomenting trouble. But along the line, he went back to his criminal ways,” Goddy said.
Nevertheless, he explained that Boboski had nothing to do with the crisis in Choba, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, adding that the militant operated only in Gokana and some parts of Tai LGA. According to him, Choba is far away from Gokana and it will be almost impossible for any person to move from Gokana to perpetrate crime in Choba without being caught.
However, the two main political parties in the state; the PDP and the APC denied any link with Boboski, whose purported arrest on Friday had raised dust. The state Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, told one of our correspondents that his party had never had any reason to be involved with a criminal in anything.
“We don’t know him (Boboski) or anybody who goes by that name. We also do not patronise such criminal. Those who patronise him have facts on him. ” Finebone said.
Similarly, the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Darlington Orji, also said his party never hobnobbed with Boboski, adding that the PDP hates crime and would have no reason to relate with criminals. “We, the PDP and the Rivers State Government are fighting crime and criminality. We have no business with Boboski or any criminal,” Orji said.
While the controversy over the arrested of Boboski rages, the Army insisted that the information credited to the state Governor, Nyesom Wike that the fleeing militant had been arrested after a bounty of N30m, was not at its disposal.
“That information (arrest of Boboski by soldiers) is not at my disposal,” the Deputy Director, Public Relations, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, stressed.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, also said that though he only had that Boboski had been arrested by soldiers, he could not ascertain his whereabouts or how he (Boboski) was arrested.
A lawyer, Chime O. Chime, explained that since the governor said Boboski had been arrested, there was no need for anybody to doubt it, adding that most times, the governor gets information on security quicker than the police and the army. Chime said soon, the public would know if Boboski was actually arrested.
For now, many are waiting for a day when Boboski will be paraded by the police or the army and possibly face prosecution for his atrocities.