THE increasing wave of cult violence in Ondo State, most especially the state capital, Akure, has assumed disturbing dimensions. Cult activities have become a daily occurrence and need to be dealt with decisively.
INVESTIGATIONS showed that no fewer than 10 persons have been killed in the last few days in Akure, with others injured, as rival cult groups fought over supremacy. It was gathered that the killing of a member of a group sparked off a reprisal attack, which increased casualty figures.
According to reports, a four-man gang of a cult group, riding on an Okada motor-cycle, stormed NEPA Junction at about 9. 00 pm and shot a target at a close range. The killing created tension in the state capital, as streets were deserted, following fears of another reprisal attack by other groups.
YOUTH involvement in cult-related associations, apart from heightening the scale of social vices, has festered criminality in the form of wanton killings, maiming, raping, as well as intensified robbery and kidnapping across the country.
THE HOPE therefore emphasizes that the prevailing nefarious activities of cult groups are reprehensible and untenable in a sane society like Akure. The situation has become very worrisome, requiring urgent efforts by relevant stakeholders towards stemming the ugly trend that tends to make peace elusive in the society.
IT is equally a matter of grave concern that a hitherto peaceful community has lost its serenity, owing to a menace constituted by cult gangs. Cult activities in Nigeria are no longer the familiar social vices that are confined to the four walls of higher institutions of learning but a sort of neighbourhoods’ evil, threatening communal peace and perpetuating a culture of fear in the society. It is alarming that people are being subjected to rigorous disturbances, with gory tales of bloodletting and devastation.
CULTISM is destructive to the very fabric of the society and poses a drawback to efforts at entrenching sustainable development in the country. Cult groups have become willing tools in the hands of the political elite, who deploy them to settle scores with perceived enemies.
WE therefore call on relevant stakeholders in the society to prioritise advocacy towards adequate sensitisation of the political class, on the need to shun selfish indulgences through sponsorship and patronage of cult activities , which compromise and jeopardize the future of the youth.
THE police and other security agencies must develop the required capacities for intelligence gathering, with a view to providing appropriate responses to the challenges posed by cultism and its negative throwbacks on the society.
THE HOPE also calls on government at all levels to engage youths by organising programmes that would harness their energies and refocus their mind for productive engagement.
WE are of the opinion that all hands must be on the deck to curb this festering social menace, otherwise it might become a terrible monster for the country. The time to do that is now.