Eavesdropper: Ending reign of cultists in states

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p style="text-align: justify;">The step taken by the Lagos State Government to check the activities of cultists in the state has been applauded by some Nigerians who are also eager to see an enforcement of the law. Eavesdropper notes that the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, some days back signed the bill for the Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism of 2021 into law, approving a 21-year jail term for convicted cultists in the state.

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p style="text-align: justify;">The state House of Assembly, in February, passed the anti-cultism bill, which also stipulates a 15-year jail term for anyone found guilty of backing cultists and residents who errantly allow their property to be used as meeting points by cultists. Cultism has assumed an alarming level in the state with cultists doing “anyhow’’ and constituting nuisance to society. Residents cannot go about their lawful business and several residents live in fear. It has gotten so bad that needless lives are often lost during supremacy battles which can go on for days. The daring nature of the illegal acts makes many residents panic always.

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p style="text-align: justify;">In some areas, victims were beheaded and their heads displayed on roadside for passers-by to feast their eyes on. The police have been apprehending individuals linked to these acts but it needs to do more.

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p style="text-align: justify;">It should ensure that those arrested are made to face the full wrath of the law. The efforts appear not to have been enough because the gangs are increasing by the day and violence continues unabated. They continue to terrorise the people who are obviously helpless and frustrated. The National Orientation Agency should assist in tackling the situation. It should move quickly to halt the festering violence being perpetrated by the gangs by preaching quality behaviours and ideals. It should educate Nigerian youths on the good values expected in society. It must see the need for this as urgent because the nation is bleeding from several illegal activities. Eavesdropper finds it worrisome that the nation is battling insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and cultism at the same time. Parents also have a big role to play in this matter. Efforts must be made to give the best to children. Most of the criminal acts exhibited by children are often not learnt overnight. They are learnt gradually and displayed overtime. If checked early enough, the children would perhaps drop them. But most times, they are allowed to grow and become an ogre in society. No parent should be too busy to neglect the attention needed by their children or shirk responsibilities. Teachers will undoubtedly try their best at moulding lives, but it’s the duty of parents to work hard in making their children turn out as good citizens. Eavesdropper finds it saddening that the development is gaining strength by the day.

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p style="text-align: justify;">Cultism is now a disturbing trend in many states. From Osun, Imo, Abia, Rivers, Oyo to Ogun, the story is the same.  Recently, two persons were feared killed when gunmen suspected to be cultists invaded Rumuomasi community in the Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. It is sad that the hapless victims were said to be returning from the market axis of Rumuomasi when the gunmen attacked them.

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p style="text-align: justify;">Last Saturday, cultists in Enugu State killed one person during a fresh war. The victim identified as Nbuma was reportedly killed at Relay Railway Quarters. The victim was said to be the leader of the Aro Mates, aka The Vikings, in the area.

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p style="text-align: justify;">The narrative regarding the attack was heartrending. Sadly, the Nbuma was said to be chilling at a drinking joint when a group of boys stormed the place with guns, machetes and axes. The recent bloody clash between rival cultists in Kwara State also left two dead. The police in the state noted that two middle-aged men in the Ipata/Amilengbe area of Ilorin lost their lives in a battle of supremacy cult on Tuesday. 

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p style="text-align: justify;">Police reportedly recovered corpses of the victims in a pool of their blood and the residents attested to the fact that they were victims of a cult clash that happened overnight in the area.

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p style="text-align: justify;">Eavesdropper gathered that the corpse of one of the victims was abandoned around the Ipata Market and the other one retrieved opposite a vehicle assembly shop in the Amilegbe area. Some states have anti-cult laws but it seems they are not enforced and effective. This is what emboldens cultists to still carry out their activities with impunity. Eavesdropper is of the view that it’s not enough to sign the bills into law and go to sleep. Efforts should be made to make some convicted persons scapegoats. This will send a strong message to others that it is no longer business as usual. Nigeria cannot afford to allow cultists continue to have a field day and become a burden to society. States need to wake up to their responsibilities and assert their powers. It’s believed that the majority of cult members are armed by greedy politicians desirous to win election at all cost. This trend should be tackled headlong to check the activities of selfish individuals who are hell-bent on truncating the gains of democracy.
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