FROM: Dappa Maharajah .
AKURE, the capital of Ondo State, popularly known as “Oyemekun” used to be so peaceful until recent times when it turned out to become an amphitheatre of fiery attacks, brutalization and gruesome murder by secret cult societies, whose activities are not only limited to the metropolitan city, but also felt across the 18 council areas and 203 wards of the state.
Some few weeks back, within the space of five days, several youths were assaulted, harassed and ten cold-blooded murders were recorded in Akure as a result of an alleged power tussle between the aiye and eiye confraternity cult groups.
Times without number, in the recent past, the state police command had paraded teenagers and secondary school students, who had also been initiated into cult groups, though some with funny names like “eku” (rat), “egede.” “ogede” and “abatiyan.”
The tension became so pent up that stakeholders in the community took proactive measures to nip the menace in the mud since most security operatives seem to be inactive, especially after the Anti-cultism Squad was disbanded and reduced to mere toothless bull dog; though some alleged the security operatives as members of the occultic groups.
The Bishop, Diocese of Akure Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Rt. Revd Simeon Borokini, recently raised an alarm over the continuous migration of youths from the rural to urban areas, warning that it will continue to unleash reign of terror upon the nation if not checked.
This, he identified as the major cause of the recent activities of the notorious group, “Badoo,” in Ikorodu axis of Lagos State and other nefarious crimes such as street cultism committed by some youths.
Unavoidably, the clergy noted that if the seamless movement is not curtailed by government at all levels, it will not only result into increasing unemployment but also insecurity in the nation.
He added that the unabated migration of jobless youths from rural to urban cities was a fertile ground to breed criminals, urging government to address it as the immediate and remote causes of insurgency and insecurity.
Borokini, who declared this during the 2nd Session of the Twelve Synod, held at St. James Anglican Church, Itaogbolu, Akure North LGA of Ondo State, themed: “Do Not Compromise Your Faith,” noted that lasting security and stability require a broad approach, emphasizing that “we cannot take peace for granted, it requires difficult decisions, hard work and compromise.”
He posited further that if jobs were provided for those youths, they might not likely engage in such devilish acts. He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to step up measures to revive the economy.
Whereas, a youth leader in the state, Mr. Ore Matthew, described the proliferation of cultism among youths, especially teenagers, as lack of confidence in ones abilities, inferiority complex and wrong mentorship from the older generation.
“It is very shameful that it now the latest style in vogue among the youths of this generation. Much alarming is this social vice that every Dick and Harry, mechanic, tailor, okada man, drivers, conductors, prostitutes and the never-do-wells in the society are profile members of these groups.”
This, Matthew noted, goaded them to be social deviants and constitute nuisance to the society at large, “all in the name that they want to belong and associate themselves with the aristocrats.”
He stressed that parents and guardians have a lot of work to do so as to instil morals and values in their children and wards, urging that they must collaborate mutually with other agents of socialization like the school, churches, mosques, peers etc to build up the broken social breeches.
Confirming the allegation against security operatives for aiding and abetting cultism, the Asiwaju of Akure Kingdom, Prof. Olu Agbi, who addressed a press and spoke on behalf of Akure community, on the menace, accused some security officers as crime syndicate.
“Apart from the killings by the secret cult members, there were reports of kidnapping, attacks and killing of farmers by herdsmen among other heinous crimes. Some crimes including armed robbery and ritual killings have not gone unnoticed by the community.”
These, alongside the inter-cult rivalry, clashes, kidnapping and other related crimes, had been giving them serious concerns because the peace and hospitality of the kingdom to accommodate strangers had been breached.
They warned that “our accommodating nature has been taken for granted as members of the secret cults, most of who are not indigenes of our community, have unleashed terror on the residents with reckless abandonment.
“Apart from killing of hapless people, these secret cult members have made residents to live in fear of either being attacked or being caught in the ensuing melee. This, we insist, must stop.”
The former Ambassador to Greece, Agbi, expressed dismay at the ineffectiveness of security operatives, saying “the law enforcement agents seemed to be helpless in dealing with this menace.”
He alleged that some personnel of the law enforcement agencies were members of the secret cults and syndicates to the numerous crimes committed in the area, saying “Reports reaching us indicate that some law enforcement agents are members of these secret cults which has made the fight against cultism difficult for the top hierarchy of the security agencies.
“Security sources told us that Eiye security men in the force would release their members if brought to the police station while Aiye law enforcement agents would do the same to their members.
They urged “the IGP to purge the police of the secret cult members so that the war against cultism and other crimes could be meaningful. We call of the Ondo State Police Command to monitor its men posted to anti-cultism squad so that we will not have cultists masquerading as police officers. We urge the setting up of anti-cultism squad in each of the Police Divisions in the state capital.”
“We are uncertain who may likely be their next target as these hoodlums have been going from one place to another attacking harmless people. We urge the setting up of anti-cultism squad in each of the Police Divisions in the state capital.”
The indigenes urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) and other security agencies to step up their patrols on the streets of Akure so as to prevent further killing and crime.
They also tasked the Ministry of Environment and property owners to ensure full compliance with environmental laws so that uncompleted buildings overgrown with bushes are not converted to den of criminal.
“Landlords and land owners must screen those to be given their properties so that it would not be converted to kidnappers’ den or cultists’ abode. Any property owners who contravene this must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“We appeal to those with uncompleted buildings to secure their properties and make sure they clear the bushes around them so as not to be converted to den of criminals,” they said.
Nevertheless, Agbi, who appealed to the people to remain calm, disclosed that the Deji-in-Council is working in hands with security agencies to bring the situation under control.
“The Deji-in-Council has set up a security committee headed by Chief Elemo of Akure kingdom, High Chief Segun Adedipe to liase with relevant security agencies to monitor the perpetrators of this notorious act and bring them to book.”