Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun State, has declared that cultism in his state is now an act of terrorism, vowing that his administration will henceforth deal with suspected cultists as terrorists.
The governor, who made the declaration at the Akarigbo’s Palace in Sagamu during a stakeholders security meeting, held Friday, said his government has had enough and is now ready to deal with the matter decisively.
Abiodun said: “I am declaring cult members, cult activities here as an act of terrorism, I am taking these as a test of this administration’s will. I have sounded a note of warning at times past, I am resounding a fresh note of warning to all cult members, to their parents, to their landlords, to their sponsors.
“From today, we are considering cult members and other criminals as saboteurs to the economy of not just this local government, this town, but this state. We will consider them as terrorists, I will deal with them as such.
“I have instructed our law enforcement agencies to smoke these people out, I have told the Commissioner of Police that he has no other job until every single member of this cult is found out.
“I am still trying to figure out what is the basis, motive and the reason behind these cultist activities in Ogun State, particularly, in Sagamu and Remoland.
“We will collaborate with our Royal Majesties and Royal Highnesses in our resolve to bring long-lasting peace to this local government.”
He noted that his administration would establish a Joint Intervention Squad made of the military, police, the Department of State Security, Civil Defence and local vigilante, to deal with cultism and other related crimes especially in Sagamu and other parts of the state.
According to him, the squad would be provided with necessary equipment, while its headquarters would be sited in Sagamu Local Government Area.
“Reports show that there has been a prevalence of cult activities in Abeokuta North, Abeokuta South, Sagamu, Ikenne, Odogbolu, particularly, we have been dealing with these issues over time, but in the last few weeks, we have begun to see an upsurge in the cases of inter-cultist rivalry that had resulted in clashes and killings of innocent people.
The Akarigbo of Remoland and Chairman, Ogun State Council of Obas, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, in his remarks, said people of diverse culture and religion have co-existed in the town for a long time, wondering why few elements in the society should disrupt the peace and progress the town had enjoyed in the past
“We cannot continue to accommodate violence in this town, it is unacceptable. What is happening now is not in our culture and it is not in our interest. We have co-existed as brothers and sisters for a long time. It is time for parents and guardians to talk to their sons and daughters. Together, we shall overcome these trying times.
Alhaji Garuba Inua, Seriki Hausawa of Sagamu while narrating an incident of a cult clash, disclosed that the clash was between rival cultists and not a case of inter ethnic skirmish, noting that both Hausa and Yoruba communities engage in cultism.
He thanked the State government for settling the medical bills of those injured and the security agencies for prompt response in quelling the clash adding that his people were ready to work with other stakeholders in restoring peace as they have adopted Sagamu as their own.
Also, Folashade Oduwaye, Iyaloja of Sagamu, expressed her displeasure of the development saying, “the people are now living in fear and no one is safe due to the nefarious acts of hoodlums” calling on all stakeholders to work together to eradicate cultism in the town.