Killer cult groups in Akwa Ibom State appear to be staging a come-back with bitterness.
This is happening barely seven weeks after the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration proscribed 51 cult groups and societies in primary and secondary schools across the state,
Local sources in the state said on Monday, not less than three persons were allegedly killed in a bloody cult clash between two rival cult groups in Inen, a rural community in OrukAnam Local Government Area of the state
It seems the cult groups are defying the Udom administration ban order on their activities. The decision by the administration to proscribe the cult groups was not unconnected with the recurring violence in institutions of learning in parts of Uyo, the state capital.
The March 2020 action was in addition to the 14 earlier outlawed in 2018.
Ewet Technical College in Uyo, for instance, has been witnessing high-scale cult activities, leading to wanton destruction of school property and eventual closure of the institution by the state government.
Under the Cultism and Other Violent Behaviour (Prohibition) Order, Udom replaced The Cultism and Other Violent Behaviour [Prohibition) Order of 2018 and came into effect on March 16, 2020.
According to the governor, “in addition to the cults, societies and groups listed under subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, the following cults, groups or societies in secondary and primary schools in Akwa Ibom are hereby declared illegal and forthwith proscribed:
“The Luttox; Red Skins; St. Stephens; Dewell; Sept 11 Group; Secret Sons of Satan; King Cobra; J.V (Junior Vikings); Bats; Predators; Black Ladies; Black Cross; Scavengers; Skylolo; Sons of Nights; Blood Brotherhood; Junior Buccaneers; White Angels; and Musket.
“In furtherance to sub-paragraph (1) and (2) of this paragraph and in addition to the cults, societies and groups listed therein, the under listed cults, societies and groups whether outside or within tertiary institutions, secondary or primary schools are also hereby prohibited.”
Continuing, he said, “Daughters of Queen Amina; Lion; Leo Lion; Neo Black Movement of Africa; Temple of Eden; Daughters of Jezebel; Amazon; Black Brazier; Barracudas; Black Beret; The Dragon; Red devil; Blood Suckers; Scorpion; Black Eye; Eiye; Sons of Nights; White Angels; Yellow Ribbon and Python.
“Others include Black Sword; Supreme Dread Lock; Black Heart; Black Dagger; White Brothers; High Mafia; Street Mafia; Family Mafia; Supreme Red Skin; Italian Mafia; Separate Brothers Confraternity and Clansmen.”
“The activities of all cults, societies or groups mentioned in paragraph 1 and 2 of this Order are hereby prohibited and defaulters shall be prosecuted following the Cultism, Offensive Weapons and Violent Behaviour (Prohibition) Law, 2004, or any other enabling law in that regard.”
The latest incident in Oruk Anam tends to show that the Udom anti-cult war is gasy. The administration is fighting a war without a forensic inquiry into the root causes of the social menace in the state. A war that has no holistic picture of the causative factors of the deviant behaviour is not bound to succeed.
First, Governor Udom is expected to institute a sociological probe of the festering cultism in the state that is largely patronised by political power-seekers and the proliferating political elite.
Have the people of Akwa Ibom been cult-prone historically speaking? At what point did the phenomenon develop in the state and why?
A randy and criminal gangs masquerading as cults should not be allowed to flower and stall the industrialisation dream of Akwa Ibom. The authorities should not only proscribe the gangs but should equally go after their patrons and sponsors. The starting point for such a searchlight should be the incumbent political leaders of the state.
Without a doubt, cultism was elevated to statecraft between 2007 and 2015 in the state. That era and all its beneficiaries must be interrogated and serious actions taken if the Akwa Ibom State Government is serious about making cultism in the state.
However, the cult clash was said to be between “Debam” and “Iceland” cult groups in the area. These were known groups in Rivers State. Could the Annang boys who were in the informal sector of Rivers state economy have taken deviant groups to their communities?
Well, it was gathered that one Otobong Ben Ufenang ( male) was killed that bloody Monday by a five-man gang and his body dismembered near the community Primary School, Inen Ikot Etim while the first victim was lynched in Odoro Ikot at the boundary village between Ukanafun and OrukAnam council areas.
While it was also gathered that another victim was murdered in Inen Ikot Obio Idang where houses were looted and residents scampered for safety, an eyewitness says the gang descended on the victim giving him several machete cuts until he slumped in the pool of his blood.
“They just swoop on the young man accosted him and started giving him some cuts that dismembered his body before he bled and died’’, the eyewitness said.
Our roving reporter who visited the scene of the incident near a primary school at Inen Ikot Etim on Tuesday, noticed armed policemen patrolling the area to restore normalcy while the corpse was taken away by family members.
A spokesperson for the Nigeria Police in the state, N-nudam Fredrick, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) claims in a statement: “The special operation is yielding results. So far seventeen suspected cultists have been apprehended and more suspects will be arrested in the coming days as investigation and the operations continue. Normalcy has been restored to the affected communities.
He said to ensure total decimation of the cult groups, the Commissioner of Police has secured the partnership and cooperation of the Paramount Ruler of Oruk Anam, J.J. Obosi, and other stakeholders during a security meeting yat the palace of the paramount ruler where the ruler gave a traditional proclamation directing his people to give useful information to the Police.