The majority of crimes recently in Anambra State have been attributed to members of various cult groups in the state. They have graduated from attacking one another to full blown commission of crimes such as kidnapping and armed robbery. There is no doubt that this is proving to be a great source of bother to the citizens of the state, being that these cultists very much live among the people.
The arrests of several cult members across the state by the police attest to the rise in the incidence of cultism and cult related crimes.
The new Commissioner of Police for Anambra State, CP John Abang, on assuming office recently, appeared to have realized the danger posed by these cultists as he immediately promised to phase out cultism, armed robbery and other forms of violent crimes in the state.
Briefing journalists at the Anambra State Police Command, Awka, Abang said, under his watch, the Command would not tolerate any form of vice, especially cultism, stealing, armed robbery, one chance gangs, as well as crisis resulting from land tussle or even dissemination of fake news. But it was his resolute stand on cultism that gladdened the heart.
He had said, 'I have been fully briefed on a few criminal and security challenges in the state at the moment. These include disputes over land, the menace of one chance robbery gangs, robbery, kidnapping and, of course, cultism.
'In keeping with the vision of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), IGP Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, to make Nigeria safer and more secure for economic development and growth, the Command, under my watch, shall take a zero tolerance stance on crime.
'Therefore, all our efforts and energies shall be mobilized and deployed towards the prevention of crimes and the successful apprehension of criminals that would test our resolve. The Command shall reinvigorate Operation Puff Adder and give it more bite to tackle cultism, robbery and kidnapping in particular.'
As the police have resolved to fight the menace of cultism, it behoves the citizenry to rally round them by ensuring that right from their communities, these criminals are exposed and given over to the police. It should be a concerted effort, with no sacred cows being shielded.
Cultists are like the enemy within. Unlike the traditional robbers, these people, as earlier stated, live among the population, go to the local schools and freely mix with people, who, most of the time, are totally unsuspecting of the real identities of these people.
Communities should set up channels through which cultists, as well as other criminals, should be identified and arrested. Nobody should be spared as these people have shown that they have no conscience. After all, tales abound of some of them turning against their parents, siblings and friends, and attacking them.
Cultism is now a real threat to the peace of the state and should be tackled with all the seriousness it deserves. To achieve this, all hands must be on deck.