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Edo declares war on cultism, bans Okaigheles’ activities

We can rebuild Nigeria with best brains in public service — Obaseki

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has banned the activities of Okaigheles (youth leaders) in the Edo South Senatorial District, as part of a renewed effort to tackle cultism in the state.

Obaseki disclosed this to journalists after a closed-door meeting with security chiefs at the Government House in Benin City, recently

He noted that Edo State had passed the anti-cultism law which he promised to implement. There is a jail term of a minimum of 21 years with no option of fine on any person found culpable of cult-related activities and the legal confinement of six months or the option to pay half a million naira on anyone harassing innocent individuals to obtain illegal tolls, illegal scalpers, or any related activities in the state.

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Noting that at least 150 persons had been lost to cult-related activities and homicide since January 2024, Obaseki said his government had declared a total war against cultism and set up a special task force, headed by the Director of the Department of State Services, to check cultism.

He said: “We have just finished the security council meeting where we reviewed the security situation in Edo State since January 2024, with particular emphasis on the security activities in Edo in May 2024.

“From the security management report, which was considered in our meeting, we still have a nagging issue in Edo State, which is cultism. The incidence of cultism is very high.

“What is particularly worrisome about cultism is the related homicide that goes with cult-related activities. From January to date, we have lost over 150 people to cult-related activities and homicide. We can’t tolerate and accept it.

“The council today, amongst its decisions, decided to go full blast against cultists and cultism in the state. We have now passed an anti-cultism law in Edo State and that law will be implemented to its fullest.”

Obaseki added: “We have set up a special task force of the security council headed by the Director of DSS that will from tonight review every cult-related occurrence in the state.

“We will look at all the data, incidents, perpetrators, and those behind these activities, and will make all resources available and leave no stone unturned.”

Obaseki declared that the activities of Okaigheles in Edo South had been prohibited.

“Anybody who claims he is an Okaighele operating in any community will be dealt with strictly by the law.

“The outcome of our security council meeting today is that the state has declared full war on cultists and Okaigheles in Edo State.”

The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Funsho Adegboye, reassured that the security agencies would implement the decision of the security council without fear or favour.

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“We are happy that the state has passed into law the anti-cultism bill, as cultists had a field day in the state but this law has a stiff penalty for anybody involved in the act.

“His Excellency has equally directed that no matter how highly placed any individual is, they will be taken to court and such a person will face the penalty.

“On the issue of the Okaigheles, we have been having problems with them as you can’t even separate them from cultism and the council has agreed that they are banned.

“Anybody arrested will be prosecuted diligently. Council also agreed to have a task force headed by the Director of the DSS,” he said.